This year, September 11 falls directly on our publication day, so it's difficult not to do something. This panel actually started out as a much simpler idea than it ended up being. The trick was thinking of an appropriate word which ended in "d" to make the shadow. Admittedly, there was some WWSBD? to my thought process – What Would Steve Breen Do? From there it was mostly sketching in wreckage and layering more wreckage behind it. Unfortunately, some of the better details got lost after I added the bright light, but I think that's alright. The figures were meant to be the focus. For a bit there, I actually considered having no figures there and only their shadows on the ground to form the 11, but that message didn't translate as strongly.
Just like last year, I used two of my own photos as reference for the fireman and the policeman. In this case, that meant putting a little extra work into the police officer's arm so he was grabbing his radio rather than pointing a rifle. I'm not completely convinced it worked, but I'm also not sure it disrupts the tone of the piece either.
I blacked out the figures in the photos and then traced in some details to indicate the direction of the light. I think they're contrasting detail works well with the scene – again, they should be what draws the eye. Of course the NYFD and NYPD on their backs wouldn't be reflected, but it serves more as the type of label such cartoons historically use.
This particular work took around four or five hours to complete.
Thanks for reading.