Political Cartoons

The Brief

Over the next 3 weeks you are to produce 5 political cartoons that deal with issues that are currently in the news. These issues may come from a personal perspective, something that you are angry or passionate about or be a commentary on some item of news that has caught your eye. The cartoon must use visual means to get your message across, it cannot only be text. You may use any style or medium to produce your original artwork. It will have to be scanned so that it can be presented using a projector.

The first stage will be to produce a ‘mind map’ of the things that have affected you in your life and current issues that you think you might like to talk about in your cartoons. This will be based on Mind Mapping given out with this hand out.

You are also to research the history of political cartoons. This can easily be done by using the internet. You are also to research current political cartoons. This means buying and reading daily newspapers and magazines. This will also help you find out about what is going on in the world.

Once you have completed your artwork you will be asked to place this cartoon into a newspaper, website, magazine of your choice. Your can do this by using Photoshop.

The Construction of a Political Cartoon

1.        Choose a subject [or subjects] you are interested in. It has to be in the news at the moment or relevant to what is happening in the world at the moment. Don’t just choose the obvious but if you do you need to come up with a new twist.  You should go beyond just your personal opinion and find out more about the ‘history’ for your subject.

2.        Analyse very carefully the ‘politics’ of the news item. Read as much as you can about what you are going to make your cartoon about. You will need to buy at least 2 newspapers a day which have different political standpoints. [i.e. The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph]. This is very important, if you know very little about your subject then your cartoon will not be very powerful.

3.        Think about the style of drawing you will use to draw your cartoon. You may want to use different styles for different news items. You can use any media you think is best suited make the cartoon have more impact. Try out as many different mediums and combinations of mediums as you can.

4.        Think about what form you are going to use. Will it be a single picture or a cartoon strip? Do you want to tell a ‘story’ in 1 picture or several like a film? Try each method out to see what works best.

5.        Think carefully about what text [writing] you will use with the drawing, if any, and where it will be placed in/with the drawing. Can you tell your story just in pictures? If you do use writing think carefully if it adds anything.

6.        Think about where [context] it will be placed in the newspaper/magazine and which newspaper/magazine it will be placed. Different newspapers have different political agendas!

7.        Once you are happy with your cartoon place [cut and paste] it into the newspaper/magazine. This will be your final presentation.

Political Cartoons

See Presentation at:


Codes: DESI 1115 [3D] and DESI 1109 [GD] Architecture & Construction

Communication Media for Design Department.

Course Title: Art & Design in Context [1]

Course Co-ordinator: Mark Ingham

Level: 1                               Credit: 15        Assessment weighting: 25%

Introduction & Rationale

Design has grown into a discipline that involves everything from print to architecture and new media. Designers need a broad understanding of the histories of art and design and the issues of visual culture in order to remain relevant. Advertisements, posters, logos, magazines and films can be held up as signposts of artistic, commercial and technological achievement and should be preserved and studied for their historical, cultural and contextual relevance. This course introduces students to the field of inquiry and further develops their design literacy skills.

Background and Aims

It is important to understand the social, historical, theoretical and creative contexts in which design ideas and products are being and have been produced. The past helps artists and designers understand the present contexts in which their work is made. Ideas, images, people, products, events from the past and present are sources of inspiration for us all.


•   To introduce the students to the histories of art & design.

•   To introduce the psychological context of art and design and the medium of


•   To introduce the key social and professional concerns affecting the design field.

•   To introduce the students to methods of analysis and evaluation

Learning Outcomes

On completing the course students will have:

•   A good knowledge of the history of art and design.

•   Knowledge of specialised aspects of the subject area.

•   An insight into social, political and global design issues.

•   To develop initial skills in design literacy, critical analysis and comment.


You will be given a series of research based briefs throughout the term. These will help you with your research skills and give you an understanding of how to contextualise your own work. You will also be asked to write a series of postcards about a chosen artist

Learning and Teaching Activities

Lectures and seminars


Gallery and museum visits



What will be Assessed

Two studio-based projects: Political Cartoons and Time Travel (25% each)

Research/writing project: Postcard essay (25%)

Construction of Portfolio and WordPress Blog(25%)

Some examples of Political Cartoons about my chosen subject: RIOTS

Steve Bell - Coalition Riot?

A cartoon by Matt Buck (aka Hack) for The Independent:

Steve Bell


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