Roughs

Roughing It, Volume 21


I have a whole slew of rough sketches to show you today. What’s a “slew?” It means a “crapload,” and some of these are crap.

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This idea was poo. I knew it while I was drawing it.

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A little brutal? I like it but it deviated from my subject.

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This was kind of a mess writing-wise.

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This was just OK. I do like the point but it’s not the biggest issue of Trump’s impeachment.

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This idea was in the lead Thursday night but Friday’s events changed my direction. I forgot to finish his tie.

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This one just sucks but you do get to see Lindsey Graham’s nipples.

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Maybe if the hearings were trotting out character witnesses.

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This one’s OK. It’s hard to draw a blur.

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Another that’s just OK. Tar and feathers are probably funnier when you draw the victim after they’ve been tarred and feathered.

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I liked where this was going but I don’t think it’s clear enough.

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I don’t like this one at all.

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This is true but not a great cartoon. These things often contain typos and I’m usually aware of it while I’m sketching.

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I liked this one. I liked it a lot. But, I was concerned people wouldn’t remember that commercial. I was concerned the senators’ comments would be too old by the time the cartoon ran. I was mostly concerned that peanut butter and chocolate mixed together is actually freaking awesome. But I thought it was perfect how these guys contradicted each other.

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Sometimes while I’m doing these, I bounce them off other people, like my daily proofreaders and my girlfriend, Amanda. Laura, one of my proofreaders, said this was her favorite (though I didn’t show her all of them). She wasn’t sure if it was a great idea or if she just liked the image of Sessions as an elf on a shelf.

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Laura liked this one too but it didn’t excite me much.

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I almost drew this one for my newspapers earlier in the week, but the issue got away from me.

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No one really got this idea but I kinda like it. I was inspired by all the Facebook memes I’ve been seeing about Jeffrey Epstein and how he “didn’t kill himself.” I find that funny since most of the people posting the memes are Trump supporters and he died in the custody of Trump’s Justice Department. The one person who truly didn’t kill himself is Jamal Khashoggi. Trump and his supporters don’t ask any questions about his death. That pisses me off.

Which ideas are your favorites?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

New Book: Tales From The Trumpster Fire

Watch me draw.

Roughing It, Volume 20


I drew a LOT of roughs for last Sunday’s CNN Opinion newsletter. The newsletter covers several subjects in the news. It’s often looking toward the week ahead. The lead is the first subject and we aim to have my cartoon covering that. I start by throwing ideas at them but usually, we’re not sure what the lead will be at that point. We start on Thursdays and we may not know what our lead is until Friday, which often puts everything I’ve drawn on Thursday into the garbage. Last week, I started off drawing dogs and some of the ideas really were dogs.

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This was my first idea and it was just OK.

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I was on a poodle roll. This blog’s proofreader, Andrea, doesn’t like my harsh treatment of poodles, like when I refer to Trump’s cult as “buttpoodles.”

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This was my favorite of the poodle ideas. And then…speaking of Andrea…she sent me an email asking if I like the work of political cartoonist Ann Telnaes. I do like Ann’s work. She’s one of the best in the business and a good friend. But in the email Andrea sent me, she included Ann’s cartoon from that day which was of Trump placing a medal on a poodle. I hadn’t seen it yet but my ideas were too close to hers. I wrote to CNN that we had to rule them all out. I don’t think that was a problem for my editors as I don’t think they actually liked any of them.

There is one more dog idea that I’m saving, so I’m not going to post it here. It doesn’t include a poodle.

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This was an idea I had a few days earlier. I’m not sure it totally works.

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We didn’t know what our lead was at this point, so I was shooting them ideas on several subjects. I eventually did a Facebook cartoon for my newspaper clients. I drew a couple more FB ideas for CNN.

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They’re not very good.

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I knew this would be too gross for CNN. It’s too gross for me. Bleagh!!!!

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This was kind of a stretch.

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When I was showing the girlfriend some of the day’s ideas, she laughed out loud at this one. I did it for my newspapers. It made me laugh too.

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I kinda like this one but just kinda.

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All the other ideas were drawn on Thursday. This one was drawn on Friday after we decided to do something on Trump moving to Florida. Those other round things are supposed to be oranges which I had to tell my editors because they couldn’t tell either.

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I wasn’t in love with this one but my editor kinda liked it. For some reason, I really don’t like drawing Disney characters. I’m just not into them.

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I was thinking of the whole “Florida Man” theme, but this just didn’t work.

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I had to explain this one too which means it didn’t work.

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I was getting closer.

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We finally went with this one. At this point, after drawing so many roughs, I couldn’t tell if it was a good cartoon or not. But the final version got at least 700 shares on Facebook so I think my editor selected the right one. The official cartoon doesn’t look much like it.

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This was the final cartoon I sent before my editor told me “we have a winner.”

I started with poodles and ended with Florida Man. Which cartoon was your favorite?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Roughing It, Volume 19


Here are the roughs I submitted for last week’s CNN Opinion newsletter.

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This was the cartoon we went with. I changed it up a bit for the final version. Rich, my editor, said, “you just had to include a “covfefe,” didn’t you?” Yes, I did. I threw that in for the final version, but I did send it in a non-final version so there weren’t any surprises. This cartoon was my favorite of the bunch.

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I threw a few Halloween themes at them as it was our last opportunity of the year to do one. I didn’t like this one though.

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I thought this was OK. Rich suggested I do the meltdown stuff which got me to create the Covfefe Pumpkins cartoon.

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I did a better cartoon on this subject for my newspaper clients.

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I did this one for my newspapers. I changed Lindsey’s text.

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I liked this one but I knew CNN wouldn’t go for it. It made my girlfriend say “Yikes.”

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I kinda liked this one.

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I really liked this idea early in the week but by the time I drew it for CNN, I didn’t see it working anymore. Some things work better in my head and after they’re on paper, I see they’re not really that good.

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Maybe next year.

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I liked this one.

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I liked this idea until I saw meme creators coming up with it.

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I liked this one and almost did it for my newspapers, but my CNN editor didn’t love it and neither did Amanda. I let it slip away. I’m kinda surprised another cartoonist didn’t do it.

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This one is my second favorite. I almost did it for my newspapers but I allowed other issues to overtake it.

I drew a lot more roughs this week, so when I post them next week, expect to see a lot. Warning: Most of them stink.

Which of these are your favorites?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Roughing It, Volume 18


Last week for CNN, I was focused on White House chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney’s quid pro quo confession. Here the roughs from that session with my editors.

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This is the one we went with. My editor for the week (it rotates), Jane, suggested I throw in “get over it” to the text in the second panel which was a very good idea. This cartoon turned out to be very popular.

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I always throw in something on a different subject. This one was awesome in my head and didn’t work at all on paper. I don’t think I even sent it to my editors.

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I don’t think I sent this one either. I got the idea after we had decided to go with a Rudy cartoon so I drew this for my newspaper clients. The next morning, I was told they had changed their minds and I had to think of something else. I think if I had shown CNN this one, they would have chosen it.

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I thought this was just kinda OK.

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This too…just OK.

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My editor liked this one and approved it. Then, I suggested a different way to do it.

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This was it. My editor liked it and said we’d go with it. I told her that I could change “Kool-Aid” for “turf,” as most people may not be familiar with that pop-culture reference. She said she was glad I was “bringing it back.” I told her if I was using it, then it’s probably not coming back. Ultimately though, they decided we had done enough with Rudy and wanted something else. I really didn’t know what I was going to do and was at the point where I thought I would never have another decent idea ever again…and then I thought of the idea at the top of this blog. I was happy with it.

Let me know which idea is your favorite. Did we pick the right one?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Roughing It, Volume 17


Here are several roughs I pitched for last week’s CNN Opinion newsletter. A few later grew up to become real live cartoons.

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This is the cartoon we went with which was also the last I pitched. I started on Thursday afternoon and this was sent early Friday afternoon. I think we picked the right one.

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This was the first. Usually, when I send something like this, I tell the editors that I’m still working on the text. I’ll add and delete as I keep writing. My writing technique involves pacing while thinking of weird stuff.

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I thought this was OK. I think I heard someone else make this joke after I sketched this up.

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This is another I’d keep writing on if I did it…and I still may. I like it.

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I made this an official cartoon for my clients. I really liked the dog concept with Rudy’s teeth.

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I don’t like this one but it’s the kind of thing I’ll push out for myself as it’ll force my brain to do something better. People ask, “How do you get your ideas?” I start with bad ideas.

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The writing journey continued with this one.

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This is just funny to me but it probably isn’t good enough.

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Looking back at this one now, where was my head? I liked the concept of Rudy as a gargoyle but I don’t think it worked at all. There’s probably a great Rudy gargoyle idea buried underneath all the other thoughts in my brain about politics and tacos.

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Meh, this was OK.

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My editor really liked this but we were going for something on Rudy. Obviously, I really like it too as I drew it for my clients. I probably like it too much.

What are your faves?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Roughing It, Volume 15


Here are several ideas I sent to CNN for last week’s opinion newsletter.

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I didn’t know if this one works and I’m not a huge fan of the shadows concept. I knew there were better ideas coming.

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I kinda liked this one, but it’s another play on a cliche. I didn’t mind not using it.

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This was a meh.

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I liked the point but it wasn’t doing it for me and probably not for my editors either.

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I kinda like this one but it may be confusing.

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True.

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This one made my editor say “Wow!” He didn’t go for it but thought it was really strong. So, I had to draw it for my clients. Several of them have used it.

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Here’s the Rudy as Joker concept in its original form. I changed it up and gave it to my clients. I felt the rough needed some color to sell it to my editor.

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This was OK. I drew something similar this week in another rejected rough. You’ll see that one in a future blog.

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I tried with the “shooting on 5th Avenue” again.

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Meh.

CNNrough344This is the one we went with. I created it last Friday morning after spending Thursday afternoon and evening send ideas to CNN. I broke it down from six panels to three.

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Here it is broken down. I like it better this way. I love Hamburglar. I said this before, but I think my editors at CNN are starting to get my weirdness.

Which ones are your favorites?

Support the cartoonist.

As I noted in a previous cartoon, these are perilous times for political cartoonists. But you can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print).I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Roughing It, Volume Fourteen


Last Thursday, when I started working on a cartoon for CNN Opinion’s newsletter, the Whistleblowergate thingy was just breaking. I thought it was our topic, but my editor was afraid that by the time the cartoon ran on Sunday, it would be outdated. That was my concern too. He was interested in some other topics, not just to be safe but because he really liked them. So, I took a lot of shots at Sean Spicer’s horrifying performance, and horrifying shirt, on Dancing with the Stars. There are a few other topics here too.

I drew a lot of roughs last week, so buckle in.

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I actually drew this a day or two before we started on the newsletter. How often do I get to use the word “wherewithal?” Never.

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But, I started the day drawing cartoons on whistleblowergate. As you’ll see, the issue has changed substantially since last week.

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This one wasn’t very good. This is the kind of idea I write to help me get to a better idea. It doesn’t always work.

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Honestly, I really like this one. I like the point. I like beating up on Kavanaugh. I like drawing his stupid, ridiculous hair. I wanted to draw this at some point but it got away from me.

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This one still makes me laugh but I don’t know if it works. I made the shirt green so the editor could get an idea of just how stupid I was planning to make the guy. It’s really hard to make Lewandowski more ridiculous than he already is.

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My editor said Lewandowski might be a subject. I can do a Lewandowski cartoon. I liked this one though it’s not great.

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And another Spicy.

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That’s supposed to look like William Barr. By this point, I was really getting tired of that puffy/pirate/Seinfeld shirt.

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I liked this one. Sometimes I’ll put some color in a rough to help get the idea across. Sometimes I add color just because I wanna.

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I like this one too though I should get away from drawing these guys for a while.

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This was OK.

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I like the point in this one even if the cartoon isn’t awesome.

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I don’t know if I got what I was going for but I got to look up “dasvidaniya.” Russian really is a beautiful language.

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And this one made me look up the Spice Girls song Spicy danced to which was brutal for me. Yes, I did a lyrics search. I didn’t know this song. I probably did hear it a lot in the late 90s, but I forgot it. Thanks, brain.

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When we took a break Thursday night, this was my editor’s pick. But we decided to hold off on a choice until Friday morning. When the morning came, he said I could go ahead and go with it or I could take a couple more hours to pitch ideas. I took the couple more hours and thanked him. I knew we could do better. I have a great editor.

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OK, so this wasn’t better.

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The thing that happened after we took a break Thursday night was Rudy Giuliani going on CNN and talking bonkers to Chris Cuomo. When my editor said we could go with the Spicy UFO cartoon, he also threw out doing something on Rudy. I drew a lot of roughs Thursday but only four Friday. Ultimately, we picked from those four. By the way, this cartoon didn’t work.

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This one did work but again, too easy. I throw away ideas other cartoonists would jump all over. I did want to draw Chris Cuomo which I finally got to do yesterday morning (a week later). Nobody noticed it was him.

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This was our winner which I was extremely happy about. After I started to draw the cartoon, I realized I liked the rough too much. I trashed what I started and pulled up the rough. I made a few things sharper and fixed a thing here and there, but it’s basically the same. I knew I wasn’t going to draw a better Rudy. A colleague of mine, Ward Sutton, gave me a compliment for it on Instagram which means the world to me. Ward’s art skill is superior to most cartoonists.

There were two more roughs but I eventually drew those for my newspapers so I didn’t bother posting them here. I drew a lot of them last week.

So, which one’s your favorite? Did we pick the right cartoon?

Support the cartoonist.

As I noted in a previous cartoon, these are perilous times for political cartoonists. But you can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print).I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.