Friday, June 13, 2008
Churchy La femme used to dread Friday the 13th, even if Friday the 13th came on another day of the week. This month, Friday the 13th comes on Friday and it's a pretty good one for me since I have a cartoon in today's Wall Street Journal.
The mental calisthenics that a cartoonist goes through, trying to come up with some interesting ideas for business cartoons can be exhausting. Most of the time, a business cartoon gag will have (a) a business person, and (b) a desk. If you are drawing business cartoons, you soon get tired of drawing board rooms, offices, buildings, ties, suits, briefcases, etc. Any chance to take a biz gag out of its office environment is welcome. And the reader appreciates the change in venue as well.
Above I have a gag that I thought up one time when I was reading about (you guessed it) a corporate retreat. I wondered what would happen if the Appalachian Trail (the 2,175 mile long footpath from Georgia to Maine) snaked through the retreat. The AT has, six months out of the year, many, many of these "through hikers;" people who dedicate themselves to walking the length of the AT.
It was a lot of fun drawing the foliage. But I feel sad the business people in the cartoon. Even though they're on retreat, they still sure look grouchy. OK, I guess I would be too if I my suit smelled of deet, or I had to swat a bunch of gnats while working my Blackberry, or if I got some Smore run-off in my laptop keyboard ....
I redrew this about 10 times before I was reasonably happy with it. Fitting five figures plus the woods was a challenge to show economically in the small WSJ cartoon space. It was a tough cartoon to draw a finish. It was a dreadful process of drawing and throwing away, until the right drawing finally came out of the pen. Maybe not as dreadful as Churchy feels about Friday the 13th, but close.
A big tip o' the cartoonist hat to my pal Dave Carpenter who alerted me to this via email, like an early NORAD warning, in the wee AM hours last night. While I sleep, Dave watches the cartoon markets!
UPDATE: Just got word from a cartoonist pal and WSJ subscriber that the cartoon is not in the print edition. Darn!