Posted at 10:00 AM, Aug 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-12 10:00:39-04

Welcome back to my (semi-)weekly cartoon sketchbook. I missed a few weeks, but I'm back and taking you behind the scenes of my drawing process. This week, we're looking at my cartoon about Cincinnati's 911 services contractor.

My favorite cartoons, IMO, are the ones that allow me to indulge my goofy side while getting a point across.

Cincinnati councilman P.G. Sittenfeld this past week threatened to sue the city's current 911 service contractor, Comtech, for all the dropped calls, long wait times and other issues that have been recorded. I knew it was a topic I wanted to do a cartoon about; I'd experienced those same problems myself multiple times calling 911. 

I settled pretty early on knowing I'd have a dialog between a 911 operator asking "What's the emergency?" and the caller saying that getting a new 911 contractor ASAP was the emergency, but I had to find a way to convey why the caller thought getting a new 911 provider was an emergency.

All those times I called 911, waiting for someone to pick up while I saw others in danger, provided the solution. There'd be a 911 caller, his house on fire, waiting for someone on the other end of the line to answer. I started doodling on newsprint paper, and had a few false starts. I finally created a quasi-comic strip out of it, using each successive panel to ramp up the emergency while the caller waited. I don't know how I got from "house on fire" to "Godzilla and giant robot attack." I don't ask those questions of my brain, so I just go with it. But hey, it made me laugh.



You'd think that having the same elements from panel to panel would make the cartoon easier to draw. It wasn't. Although the caller and the house essentially stayed consistent though the cartoon, and I could copy and past them through the cartoon, all the other background elements, from the characters to the fire, kept changing. One of my faults is that I sometimes put too much detail into my cartoons. It slows me down considerably, but what can I say? Stuff like that is fun to draw.