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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Analyze Political Cartoons

Caricature by Djoko Susilo
In almost every newspaper around the world, a political cartoon is published that highlights a particular viewpoint or idea through the use of illustration. Often, the image is exaggerated and intended to be humorous as well as informative. They can also be satirical or even serious in tone, depending on the audience, the artist, and the idea illustrated. Use these steps to analyze a political cartoon so you can accurately find what the artist is trying to convey.

1. Let your eyes "float" over the cartoon. Artists know what will capture the mind's attention first. Allow your mind and your eyes to naturally find the portion of the cartoon that most stands out. Most often, this will be a caricature, which is an exaggeration or distortion of a person or object with the goal of providing a comic effect.

2. Follow the cartoon's natural flow by discovering the interaction with the primary focus (found in step 1). If it's a person, whom are they talking to? Where are they standing? If it's an object, what is being done to the object? What is it doing there? Most often, you can look around the immediate vicinity of the primary focus to find what is being described. This is usually an allusion, or an indirect reference to a past or current event that isn't explicitly made clear within the cartoon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

World Cartoon Contest