At the very least, the balance of the Supreme Court could potentially shift in the near future, after the recently announced retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. The scales will likely tip in favor of conservatives - Republican or otherwise. This particular cartoon tested my standard techniques a bit with the shadow and lettering. Color use was also a bit of a challenge to make justice both recognizable while not taking too much focus from the parties on the scale itself. Had I colored her metallic bronze, the scales and animals would have sunken back a bit. I even tried a tarnished green like the Statue of Liberty, but it made for a chaotic color scheme, and it also made the iconography confusing. I found the use of blue shadows on an implied marble white statue was effective in keeping the color scheme balanced.
This time around, I also saved periodically so you can see my process below. I think the most important thing to notice is the adjustments to scale I had to make during the sketch phase. I originally had a tighter shot in mind but found there was no room to show the tipped scale itself. And if there's no tipped scale, there's no point in the panel existing at all. Perhaps just as important, the process shows only the path that led to the final product. It doesn't include the various color schemes I tried out. It doesn't include the three versions of the Democrat donkey I went through, and it doesn't show how I screwed up Justice Kennedy's shadow so bad I had to paste a portion of a JPEG I saved for the process compilation just to make it work. But, if you've got a keen eye, you might see a few things like the ink and shadow work change on Justice in the later stages. I do use reference photos off screen for various subjects. Typically, I'll have a Google page open and switch from image to image as I examine the aspects of a face or animal that I need for my own work, but they are never traced. That would be too easy and very illegal in most cases (parody does allow for some of that on occasion). Also, keep in mind the final step in my cartooning since I've gone digital is to be sure my colors translate to black and white on the printed page. Sometimes that means individually adjusting the color levels to be sure two hues of similar tone read differently. Sometimes that means giving up a tone or two (like the yellow gradient) for the black and white page. All totaled, this panel was about two to two-and-a-half hours from start to finish. Enjoy.