Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

Live blogging my editorial cartoon: You are there!

06/17/2013 3:40 PM

06/17/2013 5:46 PM

I was on vacation for a week, watching the various fascinating low, gray cloud formations Portland, Oregon has to offer, when I got an idea to live blog my political cartoon. Of course, this isn't live, and I am lying about some of it (like the times), but it's mostly true. And this is a blog.


11:35: Start thinking about cartoon subject after large coffee, two yogurts, and a breakfast bar of some kind. Talk to amusing friend about her shoes. Run into another lady I know from coffee shop who now remembers my name (she initially thought it was Matt Wuerker). Carry The New York Times around in an authoritative manner. Read The Bee.

11:41: Begin trying to think of an idea revolving around the phrase "Iranian Moderate" that I haven't done 56 times since 1979.

11:56: Am unsuccessful.

11:56:30: Decide to go with an idea, as yet completely unformed, about the NSA.

11:58: Determined to do very elaborate parodies of NSA and other intelligence agency logos that will be really cool.

12:08: After looking at all the logos and deciding there was too much lettering (see also: work), I reject this thematic approach and start drawing dogs.

!2:08:15: Dogs are funny.

12:08:19: So are chickens.

12:08:34: Recall anecdote about me and another political cartoonist, Chris Britt, challenging each other to a contest which involved trying to get as many chickens into our cartoons over the course of one week. I think I won with four consecutive days. But maybe he did. I can't remember.

12:08:56: Go back to dog drawings. Specifically, watchdogs. 

12:12--12:37: Draw a dog sitting on a porch looking a window of a house labeled America or Civil Liberties or Privacy, and I was going to letter it all out, but didn't (see also: too much work).

12:38: Try out "data strip mining" theme. Draw large mining machines, mountains labelled Civil Liberties. Decide against it because there were a lot of little parts on the machine, and I decided it was too much...lettering/work. Maybe I'll do it later. I don't know. Head starts hurting a little. 

12:44: Do a drawing of a receptionist at the NSA putting someone (Civil Liberties, as a skeleton) on hold. Kind of works, but didn't feel like drawing a skeleton today (felt creepy) and seemed like too much...um...you know.

12:48: Realize I have forgotten how to draw dogs over my vacation.

12:49: Go to Google images for pit bulls. See a nice one. I go to copier, enlarge it 129%, put it on light table, flop it, rearrange it.

12:50--1:46: Look at it to make sure it isn't too much work.

1:47: Note to McClatchy senior management: kidding.

1:49: Bring rough into my editor. He does his little "nasal snort laugh," which means it's passably ok. I decide I like it anyway and it'll be cooler when I draw it.

1:55: Editor comes into my office with "other ideas" I might be interested in. I do my little "nasal snort laugh," and promise to do all of them.

1:56: I'm not stupid.

1:59: Draw as fast as I can to hit 3:00 national syndication deadline.

2:08: Add slightly more injury and dismemberment to Civil Liberties Guy. This helps.

2:14: Move hand as fast as I can while taking two (2) telephone calls.

2:40: Finish black and white version of drawing.

2:59:59: Finish color version, email to McClatchy, Tribune Media Services, and hope every pit bull owner in the United States (and Texas) doesn't call for my resignation.

3:00:00: Practice drawing dogs and chickens for tomorrow's cartoon about Iranian Moderates.


About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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