Saturday, November 21, 2020

Get Off the Stage


11/16/20 "Get off the stage!"

When I signed up for the Sketchbook Techniques & Expression class through Gage, I had a personal goal in mind that wasn’t specifically addressed by the course description. My nearly solitary focus on drawing from observation these past nine years was important for developing my drawing skills. But I have been wanting for a while to challenge myself to draw more from my mind – through memory or imagination. As I’d hoped, instructor Edie Everett’s assignments have been open enough that I’ve been productive in using the class as an opportunity to explore my own objectives.

For the final class, the theme was humor. We were given a page of corny jokes and puns to inspire illustrations or other interpretations, but nothing grabbed me (most made me groan). Shortly before the class began, however, I had seen a headline about how Trump was aware he had lost the election but was fighting it as “theater.” I had also seen plenty of political cartoons about his refusal to concede. All of it was stewing in my mind.

I had an hour to work on the humor assignment. Within the first several minutes, I scribbled an idea for a political cartoon. Then I immediately switched to a full sketchbook page. Somehow I managed to go from concept to pencil, ink, color and completion in 45 minutes!

Here's the initial concept I scribbled in my Field Notes (and one of the lame jokes
I had been considering before the cartoon idea came to me).
In analyzing the process I went through to create this cartoon, I think the Trump figure was based on many caricatures I’ve seen in the past four years. I deliberately kept him as a flat cartoon. For the Lady Liberty figure, I quickly Googled for images so that some key details would be accurate (like the direction that her gown drapes and the shape of her torch). But the more difficult part was the figure’s pose. I could have Googled for images of people pulling on a rope or some such, but I was afraid I’d use too much time looking for just the right image. Instead, I relied on my life-drawing experience to imagine the stance. Unlike the flat Trump figure, I wanted Lady Liberty to look more “real.” If I’d had another half-hour, I would have worked on making the gripping hands more convincing (surely, I should be able to draw convincing hands!).

I don’t plan to become a political cartoonist, but overall, I’m pleased that this was the outcome of five weeks’ focus on working more from my head. 


  1. I love the expression on Lady Liberty's face. It shows how really hard she is pulling to get him out. Great idea and well illustrated.

    1. Thank you! I think the expression reflects a lot of our faces! ;-)


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