Roughing It, Volume 4

Hey, kids. It’s time to check out some cartoon ideas that didn’t make the cut. Each of these is from the batch submitted to CNN last week.


We were set on the Democratic debates being our subject. This was a fun week as the newsletter was published on Friday instead of the usual Sunday. This made the deadline flexible and had me drawing in real time during the debate with Rich, my editor, sending me notes during. The rough above was sent Thursday morning before the second debate.


I almost finished this one for my syndication. Maybe I shouldn’t be posting it here as I can always use it for a future debate. Maybe I’ll still do that if it’s not stolen by another cartoonist. I do like drawing Trump with Trump Bear.


This was also drawn before the second debate. That’s kinda how it turned out too. Despite the accuracy, I still didn’t like it that much.


I drew this one before the second debate. This one has two problems. The first is, it wasn’t a townhall-style debate. The second one is, this would have ignored the narrative that came out of both debates. But, it’s another one that I can probably use in the future, again, if it’s not stolen.


This was drawn right after Kamala Harris took down Biden. My editor, who was watching it live like I was, wrote about the takedown and my reply included this cartoon, which was not very good.


Rich kinda liked this one but another editor thought it was too grim. I think that’s the word they used. That didn’t automatically kill it, but we kept searching. I wasn’t in love with it.


This is the idea we went with. They liked it but wanted to see more and wasn’t yet sure if this was the direction to go in. Rich said it may be the one to use. I drew a couple more but I kept going back fighting for this one. I knew it was the one.


The idea here is, Harris just took out Biden and now was aiming for Trump. I didn’t love it and continued to push for the first bus idea.


Honestly, I thought if I threw in some Klansmen, it’d make the other idea look better by comparison. Yikes! We can’t publish a cartoon with Klansmen, let’s go with that other idea. I don’t know if it worked that way because they finally chose my favorite after I pushed for it a couple more times. They ever agreed with me or got tired of hearing it.

In the future, every rough in the batch will have Klansmen except for the one I really want. Do you think they’ll catch on?

The cartoon, in its finished form, was a big hit on social media, at least on my accounts. I was a very happy boy. What made it really work out was that the Harris campaign released a childhood photo of her just as I was about to start drawing. I actually Googled for her childhood photo, seconds after the campaign had released it. It was kismet.


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Roughing it, Volume One

A lot of people like to see the rough sketches, even if those roughs never go beyond being a rough. I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting them here but I’m going to attempt to resume it.

Years ago, I saved each and every single one of them that was drawn on paper. My office at The Free Lance-Star was full of them until one day I decided they were junk and trashed them all. I never lost any sleep over it. Today, I try to save each file. My sketches for CNN have their own folders. There’s only been one week where I’ve drawn fewer than eight ideas for them. This week, not from the examples here, I drew fifteen.

The roughs I’m posting today were submitted to CNN last week. A couple of those ideas eventually made it into actual cartoons. Enjoy.


My editors at CNN will often choose a cartoon that may not necessarily be the best of the batch, but that fits their newsletter the best. They also throw subjects at me, sometimes a lot of subjects. They did that last week. This was the very first idea I drew for them and my editor liked it. He said they’d probably pick it but still wanted to see some more ideas from me. He had suggested something about or with a jeopardy theme. In the end, we didn’t go with it.


I thought there was no way they’d go with this one. I was right. I would have drawn it for my syndication but I had already done something on Jared that week. Some weeks, there are too many fish to fry.


This was Amanda’s favorite. I liked it a lot too. I would have done it for my syndication if I hadn’t already had covered the subject. I thought doing it again would have just been beating it to death.


This might be my favorite of the batch. I wasn’t surprised they didn’t choose it which I was OK with. It meant I got to do it for my clients. So, you’ve probably already seen this cartoon. The Straight Pride parade was the only subject I tackled that CNN didn’t mention.


I thought they might choose this one. I’m glad they didn’t. I didn’t love it.


I never did get around to covering this subject. I’m glad they didn’t choose it because I hate this one. It’s so meh.


This is the subject we went with, but not this cartoon. I liked this one better. I was going to draw it for my syndication, but again…too many fish to fry. Maybe I shouldn’t be posting it here because it might come back. I did draw a cartoon this weekend from an idea I had been pushing back for several days.


CNN chose this one and I was cool with it. Even though I liked the Trump in jail idea better, this was my first crowd scene for CNN. Maybe my first chance to make them go “DAMN!” I doubt they did that but still.

Which one was your favorite?