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Six Little Bullets, Standing In A Row…

January 24, 2011

This cheery little piece was inspired by the recent Tucson shooting in which six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded. It shows a familiar cycle: a high-profile shooting, death, outrage (coupled in this particular case with a “call for civility”), gradual loss of interest, a return to complacency, then another shooting and the cycle repeats itself. Here’s the final.

Scroll down to see the construction sequence.

bullets lead to death to outrage to lost interest to a lull to the next shooting

Here’s the original line drawing which I scanned into Photoshop:

bullet to grave inspired by Tucson shooting line drawing amended in Photoshop

I decided to try an experiment and color the bullets using a photo of an actual bullet. A 9mm Glock pistol was used in the Tucson shooting. I found a photo with 9mm ammunition, and sharpened it by applying Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask filter several times. I posterized the image to define it more clearly and give it more of an illustrated look. I used the Pen tool to extract the 9mm bullet, and experimented with different color adjustments until I got a bullet that “looked right.” pen tool used to extract 9mm bullet from photo of several different caliber bullets

I copied the bullet, pasted it in for each of the 18 figures in the illustration, and trimmed as needed.posterized photo of 9mm bullet used to color B&W line drawing of bullets

I used a Splatter Brush to add blood to two of the bullets. I used the Dodge and Burn tools to lighten and darken parts of each figure and help them flow into each other. I also adjusted some of the faces to improve the expressions and give them a better flow. I used the Type tool to add a more formal R.I.P. to the two gravestones. Photoshop splatter brush used to add blood to 9mm bullets in Tucson shooting illustration

I added a stream of gunsmoke for background to help unify the illustration. Then I realized that the “bullet faces” looked a little too darkish against the gunsmoke.gunsmoke added as background to Tucson shooting bullet to grave death cycle illustration

I used the Dodge and Burn tools to adjust the lighting on the faces. Finally, I used the Warp tool to bend my signature along the edge of the second gravestone. Here’s the final again:bullets lead to death to outrage to lost interest to a lull to the next shooting

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2011 10:40 PM

    Very creative! From bullet to graveyard… you got it all covered.


  2. January 1, 2012 5:27 PM

    So… You made a picture. Are you mocking the deaths of those people? Does people dying bring out your imagination? What’s wrong with you? I’m definitely flagging this as inappropriate, You should be ashamed.


    • January 3, 2012 9:35 AM

      I’m afraid there’s been a great misunderstanding here, Dwayne, and I’m very sorry for it.

      No, I’m not mocking the deaths of the shooting victims– I’m lamenting them. I’m also lamenting the vicious cycle those deaths are part of: a high-profile shooting, death, outrage, gradual loss of interest, a return to complacency, then another shooting and the cycle repeats itself.

      A good editorial cartoon tries to raise awareness of an existing problem. That’s what I was trying to do here. Unfortunately, editorial cartoons are sometimes misinterpreted. I’m very sorry for the misunderstanding.


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