I may have taken a slight detour with the political aspect of this terrible, yet powerfully earnest, drawing. Any subtext here is purely coincidental and anything you might read into was probably a total accident on my part. Someone once told me that I should “try drawing political and op-ed cartoons” and this was the end result. However, after looking at the work of Donna Barstow, I am beginning to feel as if I may be on the right track. As a cartoonist, her illustrations have been posted in The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, Daily News, Slate and a slew of other publications both on and offline. She is the author of the What Do Women REALLY Want? Chocolate! and an expert on Psychology Today. While there has been a bit of controversy surrounding her as an artist, I believe that her work speaks for itself as well as for her ability as an artist and social commentator.
Saying anything other than this is absolutely incredible would be an untruth. Often her pieces are so impressively complex that she is required to write a paragraph explaining the image and why it’s funny. As someone who enjoys writing as much as drawing, I can really identify here.
“Oops. Has Obama confused Libya for England, or is he more concerned with having been rejected by the future King of England as a guest at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton? In other words, just a little joke. We think Obama is concerned about the problems in Libya, but he’s really thinking about the Royal Wedding. For the men in my audience, good manners (and wedding protocol) dictate that one sends a wedding present to the couple, IF one has been invited to a wedding, even if you are unable to attend. But in this case, he wasn’t invited, so…”
Then again, it’s a lot of work to think up an idea for a comic, draw the comic and then do a write up about it explaining what it all meant. Most political cartoonists avoid those extra steps by just labeling every portion of the illustration so that you can immediately tell what each portion represents. I feel like I did alright when I did my satirical drawing of a muppet that had been shot in the face. But I still worry that it would be difficult for me to convert a complex and multifaceted issue into a single frame illustration that accurately represents the issue, while also ensuring that it remains as entertaining as it is informative. Perhaps it is better to leave the political cartoons to professionals, like Glenn McCoy, who can create social awareness with the measured hyperbole and a somewhat tempered political bias that readers deserve.