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How to Make Political Cartoons with a Computer

How to Make Political Cartoons with a Computer

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Published by anon-602009
How to make poliical cartoons with a computer, even if you can't draw a lick. -Blue Steel
How to make poliical cartoons with a computer, even if you can't draw a lick. -Blue Steel

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Published by: anon-602009 on Mar 08, 2007
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Pollyticks.com | How to Make Political Cartoons with a Computerhttp://www.pollyticks.com/skins/plain10/articles/how-to-political-cartoo...1 of 103/7/2007 12:57 PM
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Make a Political Statement
Don't let that fancy computer go to waste! Use it to make your own political cartoons, even if you can't draw alick. In this article I describe the tools and process I use to make the political cartoons on this site, along withlots of tips from things I learned the hard way.Send me your cartoons! Please email me your creations, and don't worry if you think we have different politicalviews. I like all kinds of cartoons. Left or right - doesn't matter to me. Best regards, American!-Blue Steel
How to Make Political Cartoons with a Computer
March 4, 2007 by Blue Steel
Get Started Making PoliticalCartoons
Even if you're not a great artist, you can still makecompelling political cartoons with the help of a computer.Take it from me; I'm not a great artist, not by any means, but I think I've still been able to entertain people (andamuse myself) with my Pollyticks political cartoons.A great deal of credit goes to the developers of a few pieces of software that I use on a regular basis. The programs I'm referring to are Adobe's Photoshop Elements,an image editing application; Macromedia (now alsoAdobe) Flash, which I use to create text effects and toenhance some of my hand drawn (albeit horrible) artwork; and Plasq's ComicLife, a cartoon and comic layout program that simplifies the process of adding comic speech bubbles to your cartoons.
 
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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.
 
Pollyticks.com | How to Make Political Cartoons with a Computerhttp://www.pollyticks.com/skins/plain10/articles/how-to-political-cartoo...3 of 103/7/2007 12:57 PM
My favorite websites for political cartoon ideas are CNN.com, Yahoo.com (particularly their News section),Drudgereport.com (sometimes conservative, but often breaks big stories before the traditional media outlets do),Google News, YouTube (yes, YouTube), Fark.com (great for offbeat news), Digg.com (World News section),Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index, Washingtonpost.com and -- brace yourself -- FoxNews.com.FoxNews has a reputation for media bias (leaning to the right), but I don't care. They write great headlines andemploy some of the best photojournalists in the business.In addition to the above websites I have a small library of Gary Larson's Far Side books, which I lovingly refer to as my "secret weapons."
Storyboard Your Ideas
Once I have an idea in mind for a political cartoon, I either scribble it down on scratch paper or fire up TextEdit(on the Mac; Notepad or Wordpad on the PC) and quickly type it out. If you haven't noticed, a lot of mycartoons are photo-toons, so when I find an image I want to parody in a cartoon I'll copy and paste it into animage editor like Photoshop or save a copy of it to my computer desktop for later use. I'll describe that processsoon. For now, the focus is on figuring out what you want your political cartoon to say.

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