Pollyticks.com | How to Make Political Cartoons with a Computerhttp://www.pollyticks.com/skins/plain10/articles/how-to-political-cartoo...2 of 103/7/2007 12:57 PM
I prefer to use an Apple Macintosh (Mac) computer most of the time, but all of the programs I've mentioned,with the exception of Plasq's ComicLife, are also available for PCs running versions of Microsoft's Windows. Inthis article, I'll describe how I use all three applications to produce illustrations, comics and political cartoonsand show how everything I do can also be done on a Windows PC without the use of ComicLife at all.Over many years working with computers I've used quite a few programs in the image and illustration editingarena and will point out how alternatives to my favorite applications can also be used to accomplish a lot of thesame tasks.For the record, I don't claim to be an expert with any of these programs or techniques, nor do I claim that myway is necessarily the best way to accomplish the things I'll cover. My goal is only to describe how I do what Ido, so that you can do it as well as I do, if not better.
Know What You Want to Say
Alright, let's get started. The first thing to figure out is what you want your political cartoon to say, in other words, what it will be about. Very often I'll be at my day job when an idea comes to me, and I'll reach for a piece of scratch paper to jot it down, but typically I make my political cartoons in the mornings before work. I'ma creature of habit, and what works for me most of the time is jumping into the day's news first thing in themorning. I get most of my political news from the Internet now, so I crawl out of bed into the living room, wipethe sleep from my eyes and point my laptop's web browser at CNN.com. I start with CNN because I like thelayout and trust the source, but I suggest you start with whichever news site you like best.Remember, it's usually 5:30AM when I'm looking for daily cartoon ideas, so what I want is a site with a simplelayout and good headlines. At that hour I'm not ready for a 3,000-word treatise on Bush White House foreign policy. I'm looking for a quick rundown on the big news of the day.
Use Tabbed Browsing
I like a web browser that supports tabbed browsing, like Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7.0, Apple's Safari or Mozilla's Firefox (for both PC and Mac). Tabs let you open many different websites at the same time andquickly jump between all of them. If you've never used tabs for web browsing before, I highly recommend yougive them a try. The feature is probably built right into your browser already. I find that of the hundreds of features available in most web browsers today, tabs are among the most useful, especially for research.