Fine Print? What Fine Print?

Drawn in Ilustrator and Photoshop
Here's an illustration for a story about all those "terms and conditions" that come with the stuff we download from the internet.

You know, the terms and conditions that you've never read? Maybe, at one time or another, your inner voice has suggested that you should read them, but how far did you get? Did it make sense? Did you ever click the "Don't Agree" button, just to see what happens?

It turns off and you don't get to play.

What? Screw that. Quick! Turn it back on and hit the "Agree" button without reading the 75,000 word binding legal contract which might be telling you it's going to give your personal information to the Republicans.

You just paid them 99¢ for that privilege.

That happens with every Angry Birds download.

Well, I mean, it could. I'm not sure. I've never read that crap.

*                *                *                *                *

So, here are the roughs I offered during the planning stage. The initial suggestion was to have sinister characters made up of blocks of "terms and conditions" text coming out of a computer monitor. That sounds like a neat idea, but it struck me as better suited to a short animation, which could be cool, but not for the paper!

Rough sketches in Photoshop

I tried a simple collage approach with the genie, in a half-hearted gesture toward the suggested idea, but I wasn't too crazy about it. I hoped the editors wouldn't want to go that direction and the drawing was bad enough that it wasn't even addressed. Whew.

The snake rough and the final idea happened at the same time. But as I drew the erupting-roll-of-paper version I thought about making it a feature panel in a silly short comic of the process of buying something online. I really like it and that would have been my preferred presentation, but I'm that way with comics. (Lower left panel may not be clear, but it was the character all tangled up in the contract.)

I've been using this simple cartoony style for the past couple of illustrations and I thought I should at least take a stab at breaking it up, so I did a more "realistic" approach for the last doodle with the monster looking over the top of the monitor. Not great, but I scratched an itch.

The editors thought my feature panel on its own would be best. As the clock chimed "tim-berrr!" and the deadline began to fall, it was decided that a mobile device –– iphone or ipad –– would be better than a laptop, so I iPadded it. I think it came out pretty good!

Here's how it looked after Daymond Gascon designed the page:

The End.


  1. After your editors decided to iPad it instead of a laptop or a does make you see how times have changed of how we get our techy fix! I must be one of the lonely few who operates with a PC instead of the new smaller devices!

    Oh back to the drawing and those crazy "Agree or Not Agree" boxes...I use to just ignore them thinking they seriously didn't need me to click it. I learned quickly that you have to and I have yet to have read one. It could say we will take your home away and I would have played dumb and said "what? No way! That is NOT what it said!"

    I assume this will be in the old paper this week? Fine job Jeff...I always look for your work and I'm getting good at picking them out.

  2. Say Ellen!

    Ran on Monday last.

    I do most of my web-surfing on the iPad now. It's just more comfy. Still draw and type with the iMac, tho.

    Well, I do occasionally type on the iPad, but it's not good for more than a quick note.

    That may just be me, tho. I've never texted on a phone so it's probably my lack of practice that makes it seem a bother to me.