Making Comics into Cartoons: Illustrating the Trump vs Bernie Comedy Debate Tour 2016

4 Trump vs Bernie Poster and inspiration

Written and illustrated by Cartoonist Grant Lindahl.


When traditional clients call you to do a poster for a fundraiser or design a company logo they tend to have a long list of boring notes. When comedian calls you at 2am he says “ hmmm yes I like the design but…., hmmmmm NO ! We’re fucking going with your design!”

Drawing and comedy have always been important to me. Being a comedian and cartoonist I feel compelled to document what is happening around me, which is how I fell into creating the tour posters for the Trump Vs Bernie. For the unfamiliar with this particular comedy farce, comedians James Adomian and impersonate presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (Adomian) and Donald Trump (Atamanuik). This mock debate is filled with hard hitting jokes and poignant commentary, and spot on impersonations.

2trumpbernieshowsketch

Sketches made watching Trump vs Sanders live

I first met James Adomian while performing on a comedy show where I was on mushrooms dressed as a french artist. I was drawing a comedians portrait when James ran on stage unannounced dressed as Bernie Sanders. He looked right at me and shouted “ I will NOT BE MADE A CARICATURE OF A CARICATURE OF A CARICATURE OF A CARICATURE.” It was terrifying, and my mind exploded! I had no idea who he was or if he was real. A week later I got an email from Rebecca Trent a friend and Tour Manager asking if I wanted to create the poster for The Trump vs Bernie debate tour. I though “ Oh that guy was real and not a figment of hallucinogens, ok yeah sure.”

I had drafted a poster based around the concept of recreating the Lincoln McKinley debate posters. These old regal looking Americana posters with lots of patriotic buntings and junk. We ended up adding 8 extra dates on the tour so I was asked to create a special edition, so I made a psychedelic intense poster based on my first experience of meeting Bernie (Adomian).

Poster Trio Trump Sanders Debates

Psychedelic special edition poster with original tour poster and the Lincoln McKinley poster used for inspiration.

I love live comedy even more than live music. Drawing a comedy show as it unfolds is kind of like playing an improv show, you have no idea what is going to happen but just make a move. Earlier this month I sat down at the Trump vs Bernie show in NYC at the Highline Ballroom, a large venue that resembles a dance club with a stage. Trump (Atamanuik) arrived on stage with his pursed lips and lizard squint to the tune of the Empirical March. Bernie (Adomian) waltzed in like a college proffesor on the first day of class to the tune of “ Turn” by the Byrds. Drawing Bernies hand motions were a great subject to focus on and I could barely keep my pen in hand when Trump said “I get in the bed when she starts crying.” I think it was harder to illustrate Trump because his caricature is so dark and doesn’t focus so much on his subject matter but about interacting with the audience. This kind of makes me think that even the real Trump isn’t saying much but is pandering to his audience. Overall I was able to create some drawings that illustrated the comedians message and shed light on various topics that our country is facing today.

Sanders and Trump Drawn Live

Sanders and Trump Drawn Live at the Highland Ballroom

Special thanks to Rebecca Trent and James Adomian for such an amazing opportunity. I look forward to growing and collaborating with such a powerful and creative comedy community.

Below are some of the sketches of early concepts for the poster and some drawings made when I first met James Adomian.

8drawings early poster

7 first night red background

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Grant Lindahl is a Comedian and Illustrator based in NYC. He has created posters and cartoons for (NBC,SEESO,Barnes & Noble, Moleskine, Comedy Underground, The Annoyance Theatre). Come see his interactive art themed comedy show Art School Acid Dropout every last Sunday of the month 10pm at the Creek and the Cave LIC Queens. For posters and live drawing requests please contact him at: grantlindahl at gmail.com View his other works at: grantdraws.com/
Grant Lindahl
Grant Lindahl
Grant Lindahl is a Comedian and Illustrator based in NYC. He has created posters and cartoons for (NBC,SEESO,Barnes & Noble, Moleskine, Comedy Underground, The Annoyance Theatre). Come see his interactive art themed comedy show Art School Acid Dropout every last Sunday of the month 10pm at the Creek and the Cave LIC Queens. For posters and live drawing requests please contact him at: grantlindahl at gmail.com View his other works at: grantdraws.com/