You know, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about with this cartoon. The animals in the office I’ve discussed before. The joke is fine, but nothing special. Even the background, while nice, isn’t particularly interesting. (Except for those L-shaped windows on the building on the right. I stole that idea from the late great Darwyn Cooke.)
So I have to admit, I was busting my brain a little to figure out what to talk about here, and that’s when it hit me — the shading. You probably didn’t even really notice it, did you? But that’s totally the point.
Years ago I looked for someone to outsource the shading of my cartoons. We gag cartoonists need to create a lot of cartoons per week to make a living, and I figured this was a way to take some work off myself on a part of the job that I didn’t really enjoy. It took a few tries, but I finally found a terrific partner in my assistant, Rick Hughes.
Look at the gradations in the shading. Look at the way the lighting is done. Look at how the important parts pop, and the background recedes. Look at the subtle saturated paper effect. Rick is the man. And he does it all beautifully, on time, and without any input from me.
Every artist should have their own Rick. I’m so glad I have mine.