There were more than 6,000 absentee ballots submitted to the Dickinson County Auditor's Office a week ahead of the election. That number closed in pretty close to 8,000 by the end. About 3,000 more came to vote in person on Election Day, bringing the total to about 11,000 local ballots. That's about 78 or 79 percent turnout in Dickinson County – right about even with turnout from 2016. Statewide, Iowans broke records for not only absentee voting but overall voter turnout this year. Although the outcome of the presidential election wasn't known before midnight on Tuesday, the sheer numbers show a large portion of voters far and wide care enough about our country's condition to voice their opinion. That in itself – regardless of party affiliation – is a good thing.
I didn't expect his cartoon to take as long as it did, so I didn't bother with a process animation. I worked off a sketch I made on paper, and thought it would be a quick one to do – ink the drawing, shade the contours, block some color and be done with it. The idea was I needed something simple that would work no matter which way the elections went Tuesday (of course, I could have done two cartoons and used whichever fit the outcome, but I definitely didn't have time for that this week).
Still, from the get go, I started changing the proportions of the drop box. The original sketch seemed too stumpy to me once I scanned it in, so I made it taller. The top of the box didn't quite look like it was at the right angle, so I fudged it. The thing didn't read like there were a real abundance of ballots packed in there, so I added papers slipping out the seams. Even the 2020 in the box's shadow was an afterthought, and I had to adjust the spacing of the text tool to be sure the numbers were joined but still legible.
The voting decals however were envisioned there from the start. They just took a bit of finesse too. I largely relied on the warping tool to form them around the bulges in the box, but the tool can't do the entire job for you. I had to go back in and trim up some curves to be more angular, which was a more instinctual process than a calculated one. Then there was the matter of deciding whether the decals should be ahead or behind the highlights and shadows of the box itself.
To give the box the proper metallic feel, the shadows had to be a bit blurry while the highlights needed to be stark. As an interesting side note, that's what led to the light colored hashing work on the top of the drop box. I don't usually do any hashing with color, but it was very effective in this case, and I think it will be a tool I'll use more often in the future.
The circle of course took little time, since it's just a standard gradient, but it helped pull a very asymmetrical work back toward the center just enough to pass muster.
If I had to guess, I would say this one took about four to five hours, but most of it was done in a single afternoon.
Thanks for reading.