What is a Political Cartoon

Political cartoon is an age-old art that has come to illustrate the politicians in satirical overtones.  The art form emerged in 1500s in Europe and depicted various nation heads in comic style though the nation heads of one’s own country were always held in high esteem. At present, the art has become very popular and it is common to find political cartoons in various magazines, newspapers, illustrated comic strips, etc. One of the prominent names this art form is that of Banksy. The British artist is credited to bring the political cartoons out from the papers to public places. He painted some of the best political cartoons on the walls and buildings to give them a larger than life image.

Defining a political cartoon in technical term is difficult as it any other art form. It solely lies on the whims of an artist who draws a cartoon as per his/her fancy. However, these cartoons generally have a satirical overtones and a humorous streak that make them appealing to the general masses. A cartoon by definition is a sketch of an object, thing or person that may stand out individually or may appear in a sequence. It may or may not be accompanied by a narration. It may also have a suitable Title. The same parameters apply on a political cartoon as well.

Most of the political cartoons are based on trending themes that make it easy for the viewers to get the message instantly. The way a cartoon is rendered is what makes it more interesting. As mentioned, these cartoons are almost always satirical that often brings to the fore about the resentment or anguish of the common public. For example, a cartoon based on global warming theme may depict a globe with constricted and altered coastlines. Viewers may get the message that much of the land has submerged under the seawater.  

An interesting aspect of political cartoons is that nobody is safe from the artist’s brush. Presidents, Prime Ministers, head of states, and everyone else have been drawn into various humorous and cartoonish forms. At times, they have given rise to controversies, but they are always a popular source of amusement for the public. One can get an idea about their popularity from the fact that almost all news dailies have a political cartoon column on their first page.  

In western countries, the freedom of expression has given artists a freehand to realize their creativity and draw some of the most popular cartoon some of which have gone into the annals of time. However, the freedom of expression is sometimes a topic of debate.