The art director wanted a Zia sun symbol incorporated somewhere, to indicate that the state of New Mexico (the state's symbol) was the main character here. I decided to go with a belt buckle because it would make the symbol larger and easier to see, and something a politician might wear!
Sometimes I get a full article to work and sometimes it's just a few words. That's how the fast-paced editorial illustration works, particularly with a weekly publication! This time it was "IV bag of money", "a hand about to cut the line" and "Zia symbol".
I wanted to pose the man with the scissors the same way you'd see a politician or celebrity pose for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. And I wanted to colour of his suit to be on the warm side because when I think New Mexico, I think of suits of this colour. Maybe it's all the Breaking Bad I've been watching -- I'm pretty sure I've seen Hank Schrader wearing this suit and shirt combo!
I've done a number of illustrations for the Weekly Alibi, so this wasn't the first time I've used a Zia symbol. Here's an example. And another! I try to avoid overusing symbols, but they will crop up from time to time. I've drawn way more guitars than anything else, though (that first link will lead you to a bunch my illustrations that have guitars in them).