Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 12/20/06

Artist's Statement

For two Christmases now I’ve considered drawing this cartoon, but I kept chickening out because I hadn’t figured out how to make it funny or I got more immediately gratifying ideas or it just seemed too daunting to draw. As it turns out, this was the worst year yet for me to undertake this much work, as I lost a couple of days to illness last week and have the usual holiday schedule of out-of-town visitors and traveling to work around. I ended up drawing parts of this cartoon--and am in fact writing this artist’s statement--on the Chinatown Bus from New York to D.C. The Chinatown Bus is a much cheaper alternative to Amtrak, only $35 round trip, but is not recommended for dense, fine-lined pen and ink work. Also, someone is either singing or just moaning aloud in a quavering, deranged voice in the seat behind me. This is why Amtrak is sometimes worth paying a hundred dollars more for: because the clinically insane have a much harder time getting it together to save up $140.00 for a round-trip ticket.

Another cartooning tip: if you’re going to draw something involving complex multipoint perspective—say, the converging rows of grave markers at Arlington Cemetery--why not sketch it out in pencil first? Because just gauging how it’s coming out by eyeballing it as you go would be an unimaginable nightmare.

The rather charming picture of young Dick Cheney with Donald Rumsfeld and President Ford which I used as a model is viewable on Cheney’s Wikipedia entry.

Thanks to Nell, Dave, and Aaron, all of whom put up with my antisocial drawing in their company. As I frantically worked to finish this cartoon in the interstitial spaces of my life--at other people’s kitchen tables in the hours before everyone else woke up, on buses on the New Jersey turnpike under the glare of the overhead light--I grew surlier and surlier about the ratio between the amount of work I do every week—at least two solid days of drawing time, which I’m going to go ahead and guess is about 750% more than any other weekly alternative cartoonist—and the money I get for it—a sum I am embarrassed to disclose and you would be appalled to learn. Increasingly I must ask myself: why am I doing this? What—the satisfaction of making people laugh? Speaking Truth to Power? A job well done? Humbug. I guess I need inspirational nocturnal visits from the ghosts of Don Martin, Ralph Steadman, and B. Kliban.


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