When the missus mentioned the ‘Piggate’ scandal to me this morning, I couldn’t resist the temptation to have a go at a wee bit of a topical political cartoon. Yes, I know “topical” is stretching it a bit, but I’ve not been paying much attention to the news over the past week or so. So it was ‘topical news’ for me.
Anyway, in a break with tradition, I’ll show the finished product first and then anyone who’s a bit geeky [like me] when it comes to seeing WiPs [“Works in Progress”] can read on for that stuff.
So, without further ado, here is my take on ‘Piggate’:
And, now for you dogged types, the recording of the birth of the erm… ‘masterpiece’.
First of all, I had never drawn David Cameron before. So, given he was going to be the central character, I thought it would be wise to have a go at that first. I fired up Google Images and sat staring at piccies of his ugly mug for a while, trying to home in on his facial characteristics.
I came up with the following:
- Small features in a big head
- ‘Concrete’ politician style hair
- Strangely pointy nose and chin for such a big, fattish face
- Rosy ‘apple cheeks’
- Quite distinctive eyebrow shape
Armed with this comedy gold, I proceeded to scribble a few pencil sketches, trying to capture a sense of the pig-botherer’s appearance.
I wouldn’t say any of them were exactly instantly recogniseable. But I thought there was a bit of a potential in the third version along. So decided to work that one up. Being a big fan of drawing from as near to primary sources as you can get, I also did a search for images of pigs’ heads, so I could get a decent likeness for one of those too. [I wonder how many times those two images have been searched for together, over the past week or two?]
With my putative-Cameron decided upon, I worked that version up in another pencil sketch:
Next job, inking up the main outlines:
I then cleaned up the artwork, rubbing out the pencil lines and finished off the inking with a bit of shading. There were a couple of minor disasters here; I made his jowls either side of his chin far too dark and I wasn’t happy with the shading on the side of his forehead, which I thought was also too heavy. Nor was I over the moon about the fact his body is really unsymmetrical. [I know real-life bodies never are symmetrical, but the wonkiness of my drawing annoys me].
Now it was time to get out the watercolours and my soft squirrel hair wash brush, to splash the initial washes on and block out the basic areas of colour. I had another bit of a disaster here, as I didn’t mix up enough of the background colour. So had to start and stop and start again on the background wash, which made it really horrible and patchy.
Once the initial washes were dry, I worked back over the drawing with a a firmer watercolour brush, to put in the colour detail. I was pleased that [I think] I managed to rescue the situation with the forehead shadows, although his jowls were pretty much beyond redemption. The background was also turning into an unmitigated disaster as, I’d laid so many washes over it, that the paper was wrinkling like a scrotum in the bath. I hoped I’d maybe be able to mount a rescue mission in Photoshop later, when I was adding the caption.
Now for the digi-tronics. Taking the scan into Photoshop, I:
- Added an exposure mask layer around the background to try and hide it a bit.
- Also added a layer with a bit of a dark overlay, to make things even darker in the background, at the bottom.
- Masked the exposure and shadow layers so the dark additions didn’t cover the figure.
- Added the text and the slogan.
- Added the Tory party logo [in multiply mode] and then a highlight layer underneath, in which I painted in white, to brighten the logo up a wee bit.
And, at last we had the finished product. In fact, why don’t we take another look at it? After all, your browser already has it cached, so it’s not costing you anything. And your ribs have probably almost healed again, after your initial pant-wetting exposure.