I usually wait a week after a batch of roughs are drawn before I blog them, but I’m not doing that this week. I’m gonna go ahead and post all my roughs on the Queen’s passing. There were other roughs on different subjects this week, but I’m going to save them for next week and post them with the batch drawn last week. If you’re confused, don’t worry about it. They’ll all be posted eventually.
This is not a rough. This is a completed cartoon intended for the CNN Opinion newsletter. As far as obit cartoons go, I liked this one. I liked the simplicity of it and thought it was emotional since the royal guards never move, yet here he is, moving ever so slightly. I drew this Thursday night and believed the next day would be cake for me. I was done. I wasn’t done.
Friday morning, I looked at all the brand new editorial cartoons on GoComics, and the very last one, because his name is Varvel, I saw the same cartoon. Gary Varvel had drawn the exact same thing. I did a lot of cursing. Lots of cursing. You know a lot of cartoonists would have said, “screw it. I drew mine before I saw his. I’m going on with my life.” Not me.
I did not want a thousand people tagging me Sunday with Gary’s cartoon which I knew would happen because people are rude. So I emailed my editor and said “someone stole our Beefeater.” We moved on.
Another reason it was so brutal to go back to work on this when I thought I was done is that these kinds of cartoons bore the life out of me. It’s truly agonizing for me to draw sappy cartoons without much editorial commentary and I think the fact so many cartoonists keep drawing the same thing over and over shows there’s truly a lack of depth in obituary cartoons. There’s not a lot of creativity to them. I hate them so much. I hate that I have to do them from time to time. If all famous people could spend the next few weeks not dying, I would truly appreciate it.
A colleague who I had vented to about the beefeater situation sent me another one on Saturday morning drawn by Portuguese illustrator André Carrilho. Honestly, I think Varvel’s is better than mine but Carrilho’s blows both of our cartoons out of the water.
This is the rough for the Beefeater. My editor really liked it too.
And this was my first idea on the Queen. I honestly believed for a minute that it was amazing. There have been at least 20 corgi cartoons since. When I know something’s already been done, I won’t repeat it. As the Talking Heads sang in “Psycho Killer,” “Say something once, why say it again?”
So after losing my corgi and Beefeater, that’s when I started throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. This is taken from a photo and I thought maybe it would work. It’s not like obit cartoons have to be creative.
I drew this one when I was only aware of one corgi cartoon and thought it’d be OK since it’s not focused on the corgi. But I didn’t like the idea. I did like that it was a comment on the Queen’s passing while also including the new king.
I made this one into a real cartoon for my clients on Friday morning. I got screamed at a lot by angry readers on social media. I even got an email this morning from a fan yelling at me for it. But much like Aldo Raine in “Inglourious Basterds,” I’m OK with getting yelled at.
This did nothing for me. It’s a stinker.
My editor didn’t like this. Maybe he was right. One reader screamed at me for it, thinking it was disrespectful (oh, please) while others just didn’t get it. But, I don’t care. If you had told me 100 people would tweet at me that they don’t get this idea, I would have still drawn it. So, I drew the actual cartoon on Friday afternoon while waiting to hear back from my editor on the next cartoon in this blog. This is my favorite of all of these. And, nobody else did it.
Adding the comments on this cartoon over at GoComics, you’ll see that you really can’t please everyone with any of these. Sheesh! Fucking nitpickers.
After rejecting my Beatles idea, my editor suggested the lines from Hamlet that King Charles closed his speech with. I replied with this and he said it was a go. So yeah, this sweet cavity-inducing stuff isn’t really me, but I think I made it work. It became the cartoon for the newsletter.
Now, I’m so glad these are over and I can get back to the gritty nasty stuff. And I’m not going to ask which one is your favorite because I know it’s the corgi.
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The Beatles reference is definitely a winner – my hands-down favorite.
This is a tough one … rather like walking through a minefield, for some will find ‘disrespect’ in almost anything you draw or say. For whatever it’s worth, I liked your Beefeater ‘toon better than either Varvel’s or Carrilho’s!