Cartoon conversations

Political cartoons: Pictures with a point A political cartoon is a cartoon that makes a point about a political issue or event. An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon, is a drawing containing a commentary expressing the artist's opinion. An artist who writes and draws such images is known as an editorial cartoonist.

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Political cartoon, a drawing (often including caricature) made for the purpose of conveying editorial commentary on politics, politicians, and current events.

During the process of rendering opinions into such a visual form, many artistic decisions (regarding symbols, allegories, techniques, composition, and so forth) must be made.

They typically combine artistic skill, hyperbole and satire in order to question authority and draw attention to corruption, political violence and other social ills.

A good political cartoon makes you think about current events, but it also tries to sway your opinion toward the cartoonist's point of view.

Cartoonists' persuasive techniques Cartoonists use several methods, or techniques, to get their point across.

There are a lot of people out there trying to change your mind -- it's a good idea to be aware of how they're doing it.

After you identify the symbols in a cartoon, think about what the cartoonist intends each symbol to stand for.

Watch out for the different labels that appear in a cartoon, and ask yourself why the cartoonist chose to label that particular person or object.

ANALOGY An analogy is a comparison between two unlike things that share some characteristics.

IRONY Irony is the difference between the ways things are and the way things should be, or the way things are expected to be.

Analysis questions Once you've identified the persuasive techniques that the cartoonist used, ask yourself: What issue is this political cartoon about?

Political cartoons usually involve a caricature (or an image of someone or something that is exaggerating certain characteristics or details), and allusion (an indirect reference to something), which helps create a scene or situation.

History of Political Cartoons

During the Protestant Reformation in Germany in the sixteenth century, visual propaganda was widely used to portray religious and political figures as heroes or villains. Both woodcutting and metal engraving were trades that many artists and draftsmen participated in to create visual art that had a message. Because there was such a high illiteracy rate, these cartoons became very popular, and simple broadsheet posters or illustrated pamphlets in town or city centers proved to be an effective way to reach many people.

Not long after that, the Italian caricature emerged and became the foundation for cartoonists of the eighteenth century. Political cartoonists created images that were designed to affect viewers' opinions while making them laugh about serious issues. As time moved forward, more topics could be discussed and ridiculed through these cartoons, and just as the number of topics grew, so too did the interest and influence of cartoons in society.

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