• Steve and Melissa Burnett

Well, Excu-u-se Me!


Good Monday morning and pass the coffee. What a tough week at my day job. It has been a long time since I was that wore out. Usually Saturdays I get most of the watercolor cartoon done then on Sunday do a black and white cartoon on a different subject. That way I am supplying two new cartoons a week to the 38 newspapers on my weekly email out. I do four cartoons, "Blue" for law enforcement, "Teach" for educators, "Crude" for oilfield and "Paycheck" for generic blue collar audience. So the newspapers receive two new cartoons a week, and I rotate the subjects so they are getting new ones for the specific subjects every other week. However this weekend I could not even stay awake while working on the watercolor. I kept dragging my hand across the wet paint leaving dragon prints on it, ugh I hate that. I had to finally give up working on it Saturday. There is a point in the process were if I kept struggling with it I will end up ruining the art and then have to redo the whole thing. There is only so much you can do to hide dragon prints. So the email only included one new cartoon and three reruns, sorry about that newspapers.

I do not usually do current events since my business model uses the cartoons in my calendars which is were my revenue from my cartoons is generated. Current event cartoons do not have any shelf life. However the World is taking some crazy turns and sometimes I just have to make a statement.

Many years ago I read an editorial cartoonist's thoughts on his craft. At the time I was a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonist (AAEC). I used his philosophy as the basis for my editorial cartoon work. He said the editorial cartoonist job was not to show the audience where the fire is but rather to alert the audience to the smoke and let them discover the fire. Which means the cartoonist draws them to an event through humor and then allows the audience to draw their own conclusion on the event. What I like about that philosophy is that it takes the responsibility of trying to show blame for an event out of the hands of the cartoonist. The cartoonist is simply trying to find humor in an event to draw the audience's attention to the event.

This is one of those cartoons I had thought of weeks ago and had it logged in my idea notes. I had done the jail theme previously, before law enforcement were arresting people for not acting on the city/state guidelines on the COVID19 rules. Then when I was reading about them locking people up for COVID19 and releasing for COVID19 the irony really struck me. My problem was, I was stumped on the narrative of the cartoon. Bill Hinds a cartoonist in Houston Texas once advised me to always be economical with my narrative on my cartoons. All my narratives on this cartoon seemed way to wordy. It wasn't until I was discussing this one with my wise business partner (my wife, thanks Melissa) that I realized the whole narrative would be the prop humor and not the narrative. I heard a TV news announcer refer to one of the Judges as Napoleon and that struck me as the image I wanted to use. I had used the Napoleon several years ago in my editorial days with the Weatherford Democrat and dug up the old cartoon to use as a reference.

Ok I know that is way more information than anybody wanted nor needed to know so I will have to quote Steve Martin, "Well, excu-u-se me!"

So go get some more coffee, I have to go to work my day job is calling.

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