Hi, I’m Tyler Snodgrass, a balding comedian in Chicago. I’m also an illustrator, and I’ve been drawing political cartoons for the past year. Really, nothing too clever or subtle, I’ve just kind of been illustrating what I’ve read in the news. So I don’t often get asked what my cartoons “are trying to say,” or anything like that, but sometimes I am asked about best practices for cartooning our nation’s most important political figures.
So, How Does One Draw A Cartoon of A Prominent Republican? The quick answer: Chins.
In my experience, cartooning is about highlighting distinguishing features — characterizing what’s obvious about your subject. So when it comes to drawing Republican leadership, draw just what you see! Why make things hard on yourself by trying to draw the absence of a heart, or, harder yet, the absence of a spine? Focus on what’s right in front of you: the plump, meaty wrinkles which compose the multiple chins or nightmarish necks of the GOP.
So let’s try a few examples togther.
- Drawing Mitch McConnell. One technique I’ve used is first drawing something easy and familiar, and then changing it slightly so that it looks like what I’m actually going for. With Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, you have a few options: you could draw a tortoise, and then make that tortoise asexual, and angry at the idea that somewhere children might be having fun; or, you could draw a recently removed cyst, then give it a human eyes, human teeth, and a hate for common sense gun laws. Or, you can do what I do:
Start by drawing an average old man. Any emotion you give him will do. I made mine jolly.
Next, remove the soul from that old man. Rendering him a shriveled, joyless version of his former self. To make it more “McConnelly,” make his curled lips and neck flaps extra prominent. (HOT TIP: Ol’ Mitch is around 40% chins/neck — you aren’t drawing him correctly if the area between his mouth and shoulders are smooth.)
Great!! Let’s try another!
2. Drawing Donald Trump. I’ve drawn Trump a lot — more than any other politician by far — and I eventually found a technique that worked really well for me, so that I don’t even have to look at a picture of him anymore. Because you’re probably new to drawing Trump, start with real photos for reference, and then try an outline of his lumpy head. (HOT TIP: include lumps!!)
When it comes to drawing Trump, I start with an outline of his head, and then I add each of his distinguishing features (hair floop, squinty eyes, chins, etc). And these features are important for making Trump Trump. Remember: Captain Two-Scoops is self-obsessed and full of ego, meaning that he looks this way on purpose. This aesthetic is what he wants.
Next, add some features to help shape the rough draft.
Ok, great job. Now add eyes and the necessary wrinkles.
Just a few more characteristics to draw. Including — you guessed it! — chins and flaps, baby!!
Wow! Now you’ve got your finished product and it looks great! If it looked any better, I’d swear it was actually using taxpayer money to go golfing again! (HOT TIP: if your drawing of Trump looks at all toned or handsome, or his neck looks like anything other than hardened mashed potatoes, you have done this incorrectly and need to start over!!) Are you ready to try one more?
3. Drawing Sean Spicer. It’s important to draw Spicer while you can, because it seems like he’s going to be fired any day now. We’ll add color to this one too, but let’s get the line work done first. To begin, we’ll need to analyze what’s going on with his chins/neck.
I’ll be drawing Sean Spicer as accurately as I can, so I’ll be including details like perfectly groomed hair, stress lines, deeply sad eyes, etc…however, I will be taking some creative liberties with his chins. I’m going to give him a few more chins than normal, but you might not even notice.
To color Sean, you can really do whatever you like. The only essential thing is to color him as if he’s had pink eye for his entire life.
Finally, give him a body. Here I took some creative liberties. I drew him as Pinocchio, and made up a backstory in my head that every time he lies to the public on behalf of the Trump Administration, instead of growing a longer nose, he just grows another chin. What fun!
Well, that’s the end of the lesson for today. I hope this has been helpful and you can start cartooning Republicans on your own now! Just remember, if nothing else, gunk up that chin!