Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Voice: In editorial cartoons

Drawing right conclusions

By Vernon Dewayne Voss

[Editor's Note: After I learned that my cousin Vern Voss has a trove of editorial cartoons, I asked to use some in our "Fish for Friday" column. Much of Vern's work is devoted to expressing his conservative political views and his reading of the Bible, so the ones shown here are more representative than the ones we felt comfortable selecting for fish....To be continued at the bottom...]

[Editor's Note, continued: How does Vern produce a cartoon? Production involves a process that normally takes from one to three hours, depending on how much detail he wants in a particular drawing.
    When he discovers a quotation that he wants to use, he searches the internet for a photo of the person who said or wrote it, then does a quick pencil caricature of the person on white paper.
    He places the quick sketch on a light box and lays another piece of paper over it. He then redraws the sketch on the overlying piece of paper, using either a pencil again or a brush or pen with ink, or a piece of charcoal, or colored pastels.
    Once satisfied with his caricature, he scans it to produce a digital image, which he opens in Photoshop on his Macintosh computer to:
  1. add color (unless he did the original in pastels),
  2. add the text of the quotation and its attribution, and
  3. size the cartoon and place a border around it.
    Vern has published two collections of his editorial cartoons, which are available on Amazon: Vern's Editorial Cartoons and Drawing Right Conclusions.
    His cartoons also appear weekly on the editorial page of the Petit Jean Country Headlight newspaper, in Morrilton, Arkansas.
    We interviewed Vern on June 18: "On killing cancer naturally: Even if the doctors consider it whacko."

Copyright © 2014 by Vernon DeWayne Voss


  1. On the other hand, if you prefer something more humane and less reactionary, look at he work of Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.

    As editorial cartoonist for PM newspaper during WWII he stood up for the common man skewering both Hitler and racist Southern Senators fighting FDR and the New Deal. Then, of course, he went on to serve up Green Eggs and Ham.

    1. "PM newspaper"? Do you have a link for info about this, Tom? Thanks!

    2. I found a Wikipedia article on "PM (newspaper)." It's lead paragraph: "PM was a leftist daily newspaper published in New York City by Ralph Ingersoll from June 1940 to June 1948 and financed by Chicago millionaire Marshall Field III."

    3. Tom replied by email that there is also a Wikipedia page on Dr. Seuss. "Full of details I hadn't known. I.F. Stone also worked for PM during those years."

  2. Vernon, I enjoyed all of your cartoons. Well done, and well selected quotes. I still think of you as DeWayne. Love you, Cousin!

    1. Hey, Patsy,
      Great to hear from you!!!! You may absolutely call me DeWayne (most relatives still do). Glad you enjoy the toons.
      Your brother does a fantastic job keeping his "fish" going.
      Your cousin- DeWayne (Vern)

  3. A final observation on these examples of "Obama Derangement Syndrome": my father was an admirer of Abraham Lincoln, his library contained a volume of editorials and cartoons virulently anti-Lincoln (in both Northern and Southern publications) from the Southern Insurrection era.

    It's remarkable how derivative in content and style Vernon's pieces seem. It's as if nothing has been learned in the intervening one hundred sixty years... And so it goes.

    1. Hi Tom, Thanks for your insight. The idea behind my cartoons are to make the viewer think (whether in agreement of not with the content). -Vern

    2. Problem is that your regurgitation of "conventional wisdom" has the opposite effect.

      May I suggest the work of Bill Malden, or Jules Feiffer or Shel Silversteen, even Walt Kelly's Pogo strip for inspiration and a fresher drawing style. Everything old can be new again.