The London Caricaturist tackles French Politics! (or How To Draw a Political Cartoon)

Every year I try to attend the wonderful Cartoon Festival in Louviers, France. This is a very well-attended celebration of the art of cartoon and caricature. The festival atmosphere is intoxicating as is the wine, food and considerable bonhomie afforded us by the international gathering of up to 50 cartoonists, their friends, relatives and the organisers.

Back in 2006 I was lucky enough to win a prize for a cartoon which made a political comment about the European Union, so I thought I’d have another go this year.

The 2006 cartoon was one which I had actually produced on-the-spot under the glare of TV cameras for BBC News 24, which explains its hasty look and roughness:

Entente Cordiale

This year, the obvious target is President Nicolas Sarkozy and his typical Gallic philandering ways.

Nicolas Sarkozy

So, I started off by roughly sketching the face:

Sarkozy Face Rough

Then I put the face on a body and gradually built a setting around him;

Sarkozy chasing women

I have already been thinking about the caption which you can see lightly written in along the bottom. Although my French is passable, I am careful to check this for accuracy with a couple of French friends.

It seems to me that the picture needs more detail, to put it in context, so I reduce the rough down slightly and add the other side to the story which helps the caption to make more sense.

Sarkozy chasing women with men watching

You can see how the original drawing is becoming tighter and more refined while the new elements (the men) are still quite rough.

Once inked in, with a few minor changes, the finished cartoon looks like this:

Sarkozy sur la plage

I’ve added newspaper headlines to emphasize the state France is in while Sarkozy pursues more pressing matters!

This was really enjoyable in that indefinable way that most self-imposed projects are – when you are purely working for yourself. I’ll report back from the festival (in April) to let you know if I won!


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