Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Animal Research

Cartoons are blunt instruments, they are clevers not scalpals. Sometimes the cartoons you draw end up being more extreme than one's actually convictions. This is a prime example of that.

I like this cartoon. It's simple, straightforward, and makes a clear and concise point. But the topic of animal research does not have a simple answer. Science has advanced by leaps and bounds and saved countless human lives with techniques that were practiced on animals.

At the same time when I go to the zoo, and actually look at one a chimpanzee or another type of monkeys, the thought of using this seemingly conscience being for research sickens me.

As I researched this cartoon(by research I mean studying pictures of monkeys for the drawing) I was amazed how human these creatures appear. It's really funny how when you actually sit down and try to artistically understand the structure of chimpanzee, how similar they are to us.

As i did the research and made sketches of the chimpanzee in this cartoon, I became more convinced of the drawing I was creating. In this case the actual process of drawing helped reinforce my convictions about the cartoon.

I would like to say that now I beleive that all animal research is wrong, but I don't. The issue for me is still somewhat convaluded, but today with this cartoon I took a stance, that hopefully will get people thinking about the issue. I used a clever not a scalpal, and I only hope the animals researchers aren't using tools as blunt as mine.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ethically Challenged

The Wisconsin legislature, is desperate need of ethics reform.

Last year, several lawmakers from both political parties, received jail-time in what has become known as the Wisconsin Caucus Scandal. Basically the leaders in the Assembly and the Senate illegally used state employees as campaign workers for legislators in competitive districts.

The story was dug up by Dee Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal, in 2000, but the issue resurfaced in the news when several important legislators went on trial and landed in prison.

In the wake of the these lawsuits, the Wisconsin State Senate drafted legislation that would add some teeth to the current ethics boards, but the legislation was blocked by the Republican leadership in the Assembly.

While the Republicans maintained their majority in the Assembly after the election, much of the leadership has left ( John Gard, the former speaker, lost a bid to take the 8th congressional district around Green Bay and had to vacate his Assembly seat). We can only hope that this new assembly will be more accepting of ethics reform.

This cartoon is a pretty simple evaluation of the situation but it is accurate. (it is actually quite accurate to depict the Assembly Republicans as a fussy baby) The drawing is not bad, but I always hate having to use a half-tone like I did on the elephant. It feels like I'm cheating. I should be able to get the type of feeling and tones I want with pen and my brush, but sometimes when your one deadline you have to resort to Photoshop to get a drawing to work.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I've got two cartoons for today. The first one appears in the Wisconsin State Journal. This one is just another funny cheap shot at Madison's water problem. There are high levels of manganese, an unhealthy mineral of some sort, in several of Madison's water pumps.

The Mayor of Madison, Dave Cieslewicz has taken issue with some of my water cartoons in the past, so despite the seemingly timid subject matter of this cartoon, I'm almost certain I'll get some grief about it.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how this drawing turned out. I like the angle of the pilgrim and i think I was able to put quite a bit of life into the turkeys. It is a very text heavy cartoon, but I think I helped alleviate that problem, by segmenting the text into different word balloons. I'm trying to break up long blocks of text with word balloons even if it's still the same character who is speaking. I found that it makes a larch chunk of text a little easier to read.

The other cartoon appears in the Grosse Pointe News' Thanksgiving edition. This is the 9th Thanksgiving cartoon I've drawn for them. For years I was obsessed with drawing cartoon's about Christmas usurping one of my favorite holidays.

More recently I've been concerned with all that we should be thankful for, especially Grosse Pointers who live in safe neighborhoods with good schools and relatively responsible city government. This cartoon is not nearly as good as the one I drew last year for Thanksgiving.

On a personal note, this is a somewhat distressing holiday this year. I won't be going home to Detroit for the second year in a row. I won't be watching the parade, and then running home to watch the Lion's lose, and then sitting down to a home cooked meal with the rest of Family. I'll be in Madison again this year.

I don't mind it too much. Making Thanksgiving dinner yourself is always fun, and I'll still get to watch the Lion's lose. Instead of snuggling up with some hot cocoa, and watching the Detroit parade in person, I'll watch the travesty that has become the Macy's day parade in New York on TV.

Last year, my first year in Madison, was fun. But I'm worried that the novelty of the Thanksgiving dinner for two (just my financee and I) might wear thin. But that's not your problem. Enjoy these cartoons and keep checking back.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

First Madtoons Blog

Here is the first Cartoon that I'm posting on my blog. I was looking for a simple way to make fun of hunters and Wisconsin all at the same time. While my critique of Wisconsin and its infatuation with the Green Bay Packers is still somewhat superficial, it always seems like it fits. The people here sure do love their Packers.

I like the Bambi look-a-like deer but I'm not crazy about the buck. Drawing three overweight Wisconsin hunters is always fun.