Political Cartoons: Raise Your Voice, Visually! | Joel Aguero | Skillshare

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Political Cartoons: Raise Your Voice, Visually!

teacher avatar Joel Aguero, Designer & Developer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Sketching

    • 3. Make It Digital

    • 4. Digital Cleanup

    • 5. 4 coloring

    • 6. 5 export share

    • 7. 6 conclusion

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About This Class

Too often, people limit their political engagement to words alone. Visuals can be a compelling, emotionally-charged, and even cathartic method of communicating your perspective to the world. In this class, you'll learn how to go from simple, hand-drawn sketches to polished, digital, and well-colored illustrations that you can share online.

I created this course to be simple and illustrative. Depending on your level of comfort with Photoshop or an image editor, it will take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

By the end, you'll have a beautiful digital illustration to share with friends, print and hang on your wall, or post on the Internet. It's a simple way of leveling up your drawings and making them more engaging for followers and friends online.


  • Pen
  • Plain white paper
  • Adobe Photoshop (or equivalent software)
  • Camera (smartphone cameras totally work)

Example Output:



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joel Aguero

Designer & Developer


I am a UX/UI designer and frontend developer in the Bay Area. I've studied and practiced design for 6+ years with large international companies, small startups, and many in between. I love design because of the role it plays in problem-solving. I love building my designs because of the satisfaction inherent in bringing an idea to life.

I work as a digital products consultant now and love helping my clients make their software ideas successful. In my free time, I try to help out with political organizations or non-profits I believe in. My favorite courses are small, focused classes that teach people how to do a new skill in a short amount of time, so these are the types of courses I try to make.

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1. Introduction: all right, That's a everybody. My name is Joel aware, and I'm super excited to beat your taking this course. Essentially, what we're gonna do in this course is learn how to create simple drawings or illustrations that you can then post to social media. So the process is gonna look something like this. Well, basically, do some sketches and we'll come up with something that you're happy with just on simple black and white paper with a pen or something. And they will take that. We'll get onto the computer. You'll need photo shop at that point or something equivalent that will let you pull out those black lines and then isolate them so we can clean it up from there. I'll teach you how to color it on photo shop or whatever software you're using, and I'll give you some guidance around. Like what? How to pair the colors, How to make it look good. Ultimately, the angle here is to get you a really nice looking illustration that conveys some meeting that you want to express to the world. And then you'll be able to post that on your social media account with its instagram twitter, Facebook or whatever and share with the world. I'm super excited. Let's jump in. This project will probably take, I think, Max, maybe 20 minutes or so aumento and maybe half hour. But I'm very excited. I'm really trying to see what you come up with, and I'm glad you're here, so let's go. 2. Sketching: All right. Cool. Welcome to the course. Eso. The first step is really gonna just be sketchy. Three important thing here is like first figure out. What do you want to draw? What do you want? The end result to be? What do you want to come bay, if you need inspiration? Honestly, just open the news. There's so much good stuff that you could talk about a new express visually and then from there, just like get some paper, get a pen and start just drawing out your ideas. Don't worry about making it perfect or anything. Don't worry. If it's like you know, if you have some imperfections on there, that's totally fine. You can clean that up later in the next steps and I'll show you how to do that. The important thing is really like get the gist of what you want to make and of what I would recommend it. This is your first time drying or if you're relatively new to it. It just goes simple, like even if you just take a little circle and you turn it into a planet and you write a little banner on top, it says like you know, save the earth or keep Tahoe blue or whatever it ISS. That's totally fine. Like, start with something that you feel like you could do well and then slowly build up as you do born. More of these. Um, if you've made a sketch like take a photo of it and add it to your project, I'd love to see it all. Provide some feedback on it if you want it. Um, and then we'll get it onto the computer in the next step and start cleaning it up. Good luck. 3. Make It Digital: awesome. So by this point, you should have a sketch that you've made on a drawing that is ready. Now, on paper, you may have already taken a photo and got it onto your computer. If you haven't, go ahead and do that. Now, when you're taking the photo, you want to make sure that it's relatively evenly lit. You don't want to have, like, heavy shadows going over part of it you don't want to have. I try to avoid dark areas of dark corners of the room if you can get natural sunlight on it . That's really ideal on what that allows us to do later is just really cleanly pull out on and see the difference between the blacks and the whites on the paper, and it's gonna make it easier. Just Teoh, uh, distinguish between those once we get it's Photoshopped. So go ahead and take a photo of it and get it on the computer. Um, you may have already posted it on skill sharing, which is your done, and you're ready to go. So let's drop diving to the next step, which is going to be cleaning this up in photo shop. If you don't have Photoshopped. Go ahead and open up whatever other software you have and I'll see you in the next video. 4. Digital Cleanup: All right. So you should now have a sketch that you're excited about That conveys some sort of meaning to the world. You should have it on the computer already, and you should be ready to open it up into Photoshopped. Hopefully, you've updated your project. You posted it on there and you commented on a couple other people's. That would be great. All right, sweet. So next stuff. Let's open up our image that we have here. You can see mine in Photoshopped, and what we're gonna do here is basically, uh, make it not look like an image of paper anymore, but turn it into just a black and white ink or digital link rectory, and then we're gonna do a little bit of clean up to because you can see there's like, you know, these lines going to what are supposed to be pulls for the sign here. And there's just a couple other areas where it's just kind of not not like super clean around the edges that I like toe tighten up a little bit before we color. Um, so the first step way you want to do first is just quick. Select up here and then some color range. And while holding shift, you want to just quick a few different black regions around the image. So it has a couple different areas to sample from you can to kind of populating over here, and then you can adjust fuzziness to pick up more or less of the image based home. You know, you're lighting conditions and your image, but in the bottom left there, you can see the the kind of darker parts, even though it looks kind of relatively evenly. Look to the naked eye. This is picking up some of the shadows in the lower left corner. So you want to decrease fuzziness until those largely go away. I'm something to go down toe may be 65 or 60. Should be fine. Another quick. Okay, Now it's selected Oliver Inc. Which is awesome. And then we go up to select modify, expand, and I'm gonna expand the selection by one pixel. Um, and then I'm actually gonna do it once more than just even do two pixels. Okay, so what this did is it just expanded the, uh, think selection that was picked up by the computer. And now I'm going to right click select layer via copy. And if I turn off the background, you can see that we only ever been cured. That's great. Next, what we're gonna do is cold command and click on the little thumbnail the image of this layer in the bottom right corner. And then I'm gonna right click on the selected area. But Bill and fill it with 100% black, and that just darkens it a little bit. Now this, like that same region again, I'm gonna hold command shift I, which inverts it. That was command ship I on a massive. You can also just go up here and type in birth in the help center, and it will point you to it. It's under image adjustments in birth. You can also selected this way. That's not actually what I meant kind of quota. But, uh, sir, see, I want to select in verse layer. It's probably into select Yes, actually go to select inverse I. And then now ex elected the inverse and I'm the quick delete. And that's just delete any, like little art except might be around. I didn't see many, but it's just good to do. Okay, so now we have a background layer. I'm just gonna turn this into double click on it and turn into a new layer. And then I'm just gonna add a failed to make it completely white, Um, and just want toe select normal 100% capacity and then make sure you have a white color selected. Now, you can see we have this wonderful black and white image of are trying. It doesn't look like it's on a piece of paper anymore, taken in some mildly lit room. And so I can quit the layer number one. And if I go appearance like the erase tool you're on the left, I could start, like, erasing this image if I want to. Or this layer. I don't want to erase everything. Obviously, I just have a couple areas like here, in between these poles on a cleanup that a little you can hold dizzy and then quick in order to zoom in. Uh, you can also adjust the size of the brush up here in the top left in order to get a little bit more precise. If you don't have the pencil selected, you have a brush or block. You can see the little differences. Brushes like a little more rounded soft around the edges. Blocks really square pencils. Like something in between. I tend to his pets oak. I don't like the bidding effect of the brush sometimes gives. So here I'm just kind of like touching up a little bit on the edges. Um, and some of India's little lines in between. It's a pretty big image, so it's it might like a little bit on your computer to as it is online. Um, I don't know what the single is that I do here most gonna erase it, though not great. It doesn't really add much to the concept. It's amount a little bit around. You know, it's kind of a little bit of these edges. You can really spend this much or as little time on this as you want. Um, one other important thing to make sure that this step is that all these different regions air are filled are rather like closed. So in other words, like if you have something like this or a little gap, if we try and fill this area later in the next video, it's gonna bleed out into this entire background that you're gonna fill in, sign in the background. Do you want to make sure If you have any little gaps from your drying that you feel those in and you can't do that in the next section when we get there One trick that I like is if you click and then you hold shift and you click again, uh, draw a straight line between the first and second points that you click. Looks kind of nice if you really we just wanna So what? Speed up your process. So that's what I'm doing here in Tennessee. Just jumps, and I'm just like approximating that again. Doesn't have to be perfect. You know? You can do this. You can spend a ton of time on this. I think I'm gonna call it right here. Probably. Um, it's legible. For the most part, it's enough. Resume out. Yeah, I think people can see pretty clearly. Um and I think this will let us color it for the most part. Pretty well. If I had, if I spend some more time on this, I might clean up with this. What's supposed to be a whale coming out of the water. Um, that I until in the blue around it. But I'm not gonna worry about that now. And yeah, so you should get it to this point on. Then you'll be good to go, and I'll see you in the next video. 5. 4 coloring: Alright, Awesome. Um, so in the last step, you would have Let's see, uh, pulled out the blacks and the whites. So, you know, you should have two layers really that are ready to go a photo shop and one of those will probably be the white background. And then one of those is just completely black cover. And you thickened it now so that the lines on the outlines of your drying are more prominent. And next we're gonna jump the color. So column is, like, such a fun thing because you can literally spend hours doing it. Some of the best advice I've ever gotten on, just like generally like visual aesthetics and critiquing them is that you just have to let you let it kill you. Like you have to let that agonizing desire to make it better. They get Kurt pigment, You look at it, you know, it could be better, but you don't quite know how. And you just have to, like, try and try again. Uh, so here, I'm gonna show you how to just what that process looks like for me. I'm just playing around with different colors, and I'm just looking at like. Okay, what seems toe convey the right, Um, like a vote. The right emotions, I guess. Based on my intention in this in this piece so super excited and let's get started. All right. Every are where right where we left off. And now we're just gonna do some coloring. So, like I mentioned, you could spend a lot of time on this. I'm gonna do a pretty quick demonstration of it. Ah, I think what I would like to do first is just fill in some of these bigger areas. So, maybe, or the sign I might do you, like a little kind of, you know, should be each color, Uh, and you gotta fill in all the little areas that get caught in between the closed regions. Uh, for these polls, let's go with brown. Readable. Uh, sometimes I'll click it twice. That feels in, You know, more of the edges. Um, the water should probably be popularly, the blue get like a lighter blue. More vibrant. Yeah. Okay, so we have a whale there, too. Let's meet that like a little lighter blue. Ah, and like, you know that it's OK. The sun doesn't look quite right now, I think, like something more vibrant, maybe. Like, I guess the world's gonna be green. Um, so that's supposed to be, like planets. Maybe fill in some of these. Maybe, like some of these. We want to make a desert or something like that. See, that's kind of interesting. You could fill in the borders you want. I think it looks too funny. Um, but when I'm trying to do is just get this little area down here. So you two more, you know? So when you do this, multiple times like you start to realize, Oh, maybe I don't want those artifacts, but does little tiny regions because they're hard to fill. It doesn't look so bad. Cool. So there we have our whale. They're still kind of what I did There is just held, I clipped. And that picks up the color, uh, eyedropper tool. Pick up the color of whatever you have selected. So this is, like, fine. I think you could spend a lot of time on this, and I'll kind of leave you to it to do as you see fit. Uh, this is weird, because it I guess it could be like a well, going away from you. I imagined it would be like to separate whales or something like that. Uh, and then for the sign, like, you know, if I ended up with this online, I might treat doesn't look too bad. Um, Then what about the background? I like things on a white background. Typically, another idea for this issue. Make it look kind of like Spacey. So we could, like building with a pretty dark black background. Um, see if that looks funny. I mean, change. Fine. Uh, up here in the brush store, maybe we could try adding, like, some little white dots in order to make them look like stars. Looks kind of cool. You know, people, brother. Get it. Um, I can adjust the capacity a little bit so that your little variety kind of search looked like snow, But whatever. Ah, a lot of this is just like trial and error. I might spend some more time on this, and I make them smaller a little bit, you know? Um, yeah. So just play around with it, see what works for you. See what? What? What makes it feel like, filled out and complete but already I mean, that's what it's very cool. It looks a lot neater than our original drying. I think the only other thing I might do is it's like the rocket tool again. And I'll sample whatever green this in it. And I'm gonna try to seduce in a dark one on some of them, just to, like, make it look a little bit more, um, complex. And like at a few different shoes of the typography, that doesn't look very good. Um, no. I mean something like that. Yeah. I don't know. No. Forget that. I don't think that really helped a little. So again, exactly what? I'm what I said earlier. Trial and error. Just spend some time with it, you see, until it gets to a place where you're happy with it. And then, um after in the next video, we'll handle saving and exporting, and I'll see either 6. 5 export share: all right. So hopefully now you have a almost complete, really digital artifact that you're ready to share with the world. What we're gonna do is exported as a J pick. That tends to be like one of the easiest formats. And it's just like you can't really go wrong with it. In most cases, unless you're doing something like what design and you're making icons or something. A couple of cases, but for our purposes, Jay will be fine. So go ahead and save it S J. Paige. Um, I recommend doing something around life, you know, on a scale of 1 to 12 in terms of quality hit around eight or so, If you have space, just go for 12. Why not? But if you're concerned about it or you're displaying, it depends on where you're displaying it. They put it on the website or something like that. You probably want to get it down to, like, at least 400 kilobytes or under, so play around with it with scale quality settings based on what it says. The estimated file size will be if you need to. You can also scale down the original image size, but the resulting image size. Now, photos on cameras like modern cameras on phones today or smartphones tend to be really high resolutions because the technology is like, good now. But what that ends up doing is driving up the file size. She made me to scale it down, which is totally do that. Otherwise go ahead and export it. And now you want to get it back onto your smartphone or your your device wherever you're gonna posting it, and you probably know how to post it from here. Make sure you post this in your project. Get in there, let people see it like share it with the world. The most important thing of about creating anything is like that you share with the world, even if you're not super happy with it, even if you don't think it's perfect in fact, like sure, because not perfect, because that gives other people space to the share things that they make that aren't maybe like the best work they can do. But they're good enough. Uh, see, in the next video, congrats and yeah, 7. 6 conclusion: All right. So I just want to wrap up this course. Hopefully, you've enjoyed it. Hopefully, now you have a like your first political illustration and urine. Allen, now an illustrator, political cartoonist, your political commentator. There's somebody who's participating more. That's great. And I hope you enjoy the process. I'm hit me up with comments. Questions be back on this video or other ones I met at Joel Aguero on Twitter and most of my other social media accounts. They're linked to my profile on skill share or YouTube or wherever this is. Ah, so excited. Congratulations. Thanks for completing this. Make sure you posted yourself in your project and, yeah, go around and check out what other people have made and just like, look at it and find inspiration, and then do it again. Um, have a great day. Have a good week. Have a great month. Thanks. Get