Man without a backbone cartoon.

doctor patient skeleton cartoon
“Well, I’d want the whole thing taken out, but you might want a second opinion on that.” Cartoon ©D. Barstow.

Not that I’m in the least bit misogynistic. People who know me know I love men, in all guises. But the stronger the better, of course. ;)

This is part of my Morbid series. It’s not that I like jellyfish, which he’d be without the skeleton, but I’m fascinated by skeletons. Once I read a science fiction story that I’ve never forgotten, about the bones inside a man who wanted to come out. They felt the flesh was the enemy, hiding them, hindering them. They knew they were the strength of the man, the real power, and they wanted to be seen. And in the end, they do, don’t they. Now you want to read it, huh?! If only I could remember the author…

One of the first things I studied trying to be a cartoonist was the body form. I’ve taken a few figure drawing classes ever since college, and really should take one every year. To think that you know the body – when every body is different – is a little presumptuous. I’ve heard Sergio Aragones say many times that every time he draws something he studies its form again as if it’s new, so he’ll have a fresh take on it.

Anyway, this was before the internet, so I had to learn skeletons from books. For a while I wanted to do a strip with them! They are pretty powerful, after all, and I didn’t need that scifi story to tell me that.

Earlier version of this cartoon after the jump.

I have Photoshop Elements, which is the weaker sister of Photoshop. Still, there is SO much to learn. I rather enjoy it, but mostly I just want to get the work done, so I don’t learn it, and then I stumble in a pinch. I wasn’t totally happy with my first colored version of this cartoon, below, but didn’t have the time to redo it. Yesterday I finally figured out how to use magic wand to pick up the entire area of one color and instantly replace it with another color.

Whew! This is a godsend, and really important for online color. It includes the original brush strokes, too, which I really appreciate. I like the above version better. Or do you like the more colorful wall?

This is for Illustration Friday. Subject: Opinion.Doctor patient cartoon


  1. Trudy Moore said:

    Oh wow…..spectacular, Donna…on a level I can’t describe.


    November 28, 2008
  2. Wow, thanks, Trudy, for even trying!

    November 29, 2008
  3. Have you submitted to the “New Yorker” yet. If you haven’t you should. Do you have an agent to rep your work ?


    December 1, 2008
  4. Hi, Scott, yes, I submit regularly. I’m in very irregularly.

    No cartoonist I know of uses an agent for individual cartoons, but I assume some of the big syndicated guys do, or a lawyer. Or, they should. But even with books, most don’t use one! I had a great agent, learned tons from her, but as it happened, I got the book gig on my own.

    December 3, 2008

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