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My One-Day Career as a Courtroom Artist

Our CagleCartoonist, Bob Englehart writes more about his cool career. Support Bob on Patreon,  See Bob’s Cartoon Archive, E-mail Bob

Sept. 19, 1975, I was hunched over my drawing board in my office at the Journal Herald in Dayton, Ohio, trying to come up with an idea for a political cartoon on a slow news day when Managing Editor Bill Worth charged into my office and said, “Glatt’s been shot. They’re going to arraign him in a few minutes at the Federal Building. Get over there and draw the shooter when they bring him into the courtroom.” Who? Oh, right, Dr. Charles A. Glatt Dayton’s federally appointed desegregation manager.

I was at the paper less than a month, my first full-time job as a political cartoonist. I barely knew where the bathroom was. Everything was new to me, the paper, the newsroom, the city and busing. Dayton was under a court order to desegregate its schools and busing was the federal plan. My family was in the process of moving from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to Centerville, a suburb south of Dayton. Neither the city of Ft. Wayne, nor Centerville was busing school children. This was all new to America and almost every white person I knew hated it.

“Right,” I said. “Where’s the Federal Building?”

“Next door,” said Worth.

I grabbed my sketchpad and a black Prismacolor pencil and followed the reporters. It took only minutes to get there.

The courtroom was dimly lit and empty except for the press and the judge. The shooting had just happened down the hall in Glatt’s office. The door opened and the murderer entered, flanked by several marshals and a lawyer. My heart was racing. I’ve never seen a murderer in the flesh before. I had only seconds to get his likeness. I’ve never even been in a courtroom before and now – it was “look, see, draw.” I had maybe four seconds from when I saw the defendant in profile to when he turned his back to me to face the judge. His image is stamped on my brain. I captured his likeness in an instant and the next morning, my drawing was on the front page.

The guy turned out to be serial killer, Neal Bradley Long, a filling station attendant. He shot Glatt four times with a handgun and later was found guilty of killing Glatt and four black people in the area over the past few years. The hubbub surrounding busing in Dayton quieted down after that. A new desegregation manager was appointed, busing continued, magnet schools were organized and the community schools were integrated. Long was tried, convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms while white people fled to the suburbs. Dayton ended the busing program 25 years later.

Most of my forty years in the newspaper business were filled with habitual rituals, creative challenges, daily deadlines and plenty of laughs. They tend to run together in a very long timeline, but some days stand out, like Sept. 19, 1975, the first of many more to come.


Bob Englehart is a freelance cartoonist and his cartoons are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons.

Read Bob’s other posts:

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

The Birth of a Political Cartoonist

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THREE Trump Sword Fights!

I did three cartoons at once! Here’s Trump fighting the Statue of Justice.

Trump has so many mismatched fights going on that I could have done a dozen of these.  Justice is all white because she is carved from marble, with a small golden sword and scales, like a couple of the statues I’ve seen. Unlike her better known sister, the Statue of Liberty, Justice comes in many forms.

The next one is Trump versus the State of Washington regarding the recent challenge to the seven nation immigration ban (or, “ban on Muslims” as some might say).

The next one is Trump versus my home state of California, where Trump threatens to defund sanctuary cities. There is legislation in Sacramento to make the whole state a “sanctuary state.”

Watch me draw this one, or rather three, in the video below …

and watch me color all three in Photoshop in the next video …

Blog Syndicate

Andy Singer’s Panel Cartoons in the Editorial Cartoon Spot

Editorial page editors typically reject anything new and different from editorial cartoonists. Unusual styles and formats are just not what editors want to see. Editors like cartoons that look like what they think editorial cartoons should look like – which leads to lots of cartoons that look much the same.

I’ve been a big fan of Andy Singer’s self-syndicated, altie “No Exit” panel for years, and I’ve been encouraging Andy to try his hand at more traditional editorial cartooning. Andy’s panel has content that is socially conscious, like an editorial cartoon, but it is not the right shape, and it is wordy, and it doesn’t have caricatures of politicians and the panel format with a title is simply not something editorial page editors will consider putting in their daily editorial cartoon hole.

What to do? Andy wanted to be on the editorial pages but was committed to continuing the “No Exit” panel. Then he gave me a new pitch, saying, “Daryl, you know, when I put two of my panels next to each other it becomes the shape of an editorial cartoon, and if I do two panels that are on the same topic, and color them, it looks like one big editorial cartoon.” The idea looked interesting to me. The result is rather stylistically different than what editors are used to but Andy’s new editorial cartoon format looks like wordy, multi panel editorial cartoons, and editors seem to be accepting them. The connection between the two panels might be a stretch, but no one seems to notice. So far, so good.

A number of comic strip cartoonists, Like Dan Piraro and Wiley Miller, have been doing their cartoons in both strip and panel format for years. Andy’s work has some format advantages over most magazine gag cartoonists’ work; Andy’s panels are topically editorial cartoons to start with, and he doesn’t have a classic gag cartoon style with a caption at the bottom, which would be more difficult to reformat. Still, it may be that some other socially conscious panel or gag cartoonists could develop a new market by finding a procedure to reformat their ongoing work as editorial cartoons. Andy Singer is the trailblazer.

One of Andy’s new, combined format cartoons for the editorial pages. With the same characters and consistent color and format, it looks right as a single editorial cartoon and is proving popular so far.

Here are a couple more new editorial cartoons from Andy. Follow Andy’s work on here.


Evolving Perceptions of Edward Snowden

142014 600 Evolving Perceptions of Edward Snowden cartoons


Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court!

Here are my latest three cartoons – hot off the drawing board and Wacom tablet!

The Supreme Court heard two gay rights cases this week, California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. The pundits seem to agree that these cases will likely be decided by 5 to 4 votes, so I drew the four, ugly conservatives on the court angrily brandishing their gavels at the cowering gay couple on the cake. Fortunately, the ugly conservatives on the court are also the easiest justices to caricature!  Here is my rough sketch.

ScotusSketch600wide Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons


Drawing caricatures like this is so much easier now than it was years ago! All I have to do is type some public figure’s name into Google Images and I get a page full of great thumbnails. In the old days I had to cut photos out of newspapers and magazines and save them in a “morgue” in case I ever needed to draw a caricature. Technology is grand.

Here is the black and white version of the cartoon, which most people will see in newspapers that still print in black and white.

129230 600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

I draw everything at about 11″ x 17″ on vellum in pencil, and I scan at high contrast so it looks like ink. Then I color it in Photoshop with my Wacom tablet.  Here is the color version.

129286 600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

Next I drew a Republican elephant flogging himself as his intolerant views about gay rights do nothing but give him a sore back. Here is the rough sketch.

FlogSketch600wide Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

And here is the finished drawing, in pencil on 11″ x 17″ vellum, with the gray tones added in Photoshop.

129309 600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

It is better if a drawing holds up as just line art with no gray tones – but sometimes I have to resort to gray. This one needed a little tonal substance. Here is the color version.

129398 600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

Lite Great Wave off Kanagaw Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoonsThe most recent cartoon is another riff on an art masterpiece – these seem to be the most popular cartoons I draw. This one is based on a famous 19th century print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, titled the Great Wave off Kanagawa (pictured on the right).

This image made for a popular Yahtzee, in editorial cartoons, after the Japanese tsunami. One thing that is interesting about Japanese prints is that the Japanese read from right to left, so the boats in the Hokusai print are sailing from calmer seas into the big bad waves. Of-course, editorial cartoons must read from left to right, with the set-up on the left and the gag on the right.

I printed out the Hokusai image and sketched a little GOP elephant to the right for my rough sketch.

WaveSketch600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons


I drew it up like this, then I noticed that the elephant was too big – he needed to be smaller for the wave to look more threatening. Here is the finished line drawing with a smaller elephant.

129467 600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

And here is the color version.

129473 600 Gay Marriage, Prop 8, Republicans and the Supreme Court! cartoons

That Hokusai wave is a wonderful wave!


John Edwards Verdict

John Edwards Verdict © Daryl Cagle,,John Edwards,Rielle Hunter,court,verdict,mistrial, Judge Cather­ine Eagles,Abbey Lowell


John Edwards Doggie Ridiculous

John Edwards Doggie Ridiculous © Daryl Cagle,,John Edwards,Rielle Hunter,dog,newspaper,urine,pee,jail,prison,court


Paris Hilton Gets Out of Jail

Paris Hilton Gets Out of Jail Color © Daryl Cagle,,Paris Hilton, court, drunk driving, dui, jail, prison, Los Angeles, LA County Jail, Lee Baca


Jackson Verdict

Jackson Verdict © Daryl Cagle,,Michael jackson, verdict, court, child, molest, not guilt, Sneddon, music, singer, pedophile, sex


Mc Veigh Devil

Mc Veigh Devil © Daryl Cagle,,McVeigh, Satan, devil, hell, operators, hold, sorry, room, ready, thirty, days, paperwork, prison, death penalty, reservations, hold, terror, terrorism, court, results, outcome