073:336 Practice

After the wonderful experience I had in college in penning a weekly comic strip (some examples of that endeavour can be seen here), I wanted to see if I could continue to draw pictures that made a point.

So, during the summer of 1990, I gave myself the task of drawing an editorial cartoon every day. The goal was to practice enough and build up a portfolio so that I could apply for a job as a cartoonist at my hometown paper or even – dare to dream – a regional publication.

This is the story of some of those drawings.

I began near the end of July of 1990 and while it seems like any week is an active week in the life of American politics and culture, I picked a really good stretch of time to start my practice. I began my assignment on Monday, July 23, 1990 with a drawing (not shown) about the opening of the Richard Nixon Library and Museum.

On that Monday, President George H.W. Bush would nominate David Souter to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. There were some who saw the hand of White House Chief of Staff John Sununu in that decision. Souter was a former New Hampshire attorney general and who also served on the state’s supreme court. Sununu, before coming to Washington, was the governor of New Hampshire. I took pen to paper and came up with…


Souter was being nominated to replace William J. Brennan, Jr. who had resigned on July 20. Brennan was known as a liberal while Souter was considered to be conservative. Seeing the writing on the wall as to where the Supreme Court was heading, I drew the following…


I tried not to limit myself to domestic issues. The cartoon below took as its inspiration the concern some had that Nelson Mandela, who had been freed from prison in February, would try to impose communism in South Africa even though that philosophy had been shaken off in the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe (such as East Germany).


Like any good editorial cartoonist, I tried to evoke imagery from the past to highlight the foibles of today. At the end of July of 1990, the Shoal Creek Country Club, under pressure, agreed to allow blacks into their club. Actually, what the club did was to bestow an honorary membership to a man who was black. In honor of that “honor”, I channeled the memory of a picture similar to this for my own take in black-and-white.


Then, on August 2, 1990, all the news became dominated by one event as Iraq invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s leader, had once been an American ally but as of late had become more of a nuisance. His invasion of Kuwait sealed his fate from friend to foe. In mid-July, a movie with a certain name came out and I felt that its title could be tweaked ever so slightly to produce…


I would go on to draw more practice cartoons until the end of August. At that point, my dream of being a local editorial cartoonist hit the road because I hit the road to live in Minnesota.

That’s the story about some of those drawings.

P.S. Why Minnesota? Well, that’s a story for another day.


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