Cartoonists use several methods, or techniques, to get their point across. Not every cartoon includes all of these methods, but most political cartoons include at least a few. Some of the techniques cartoonists use the most are listed below:
1. Exaggeration - Sometimes cartoonists overdo, or exaggerate, the physical characteristics of people or things in order to make a point
2. Analogy - one event represents another or is a comparison between two unlike things
3. Labeling - Cartoonists often label objects or people to make it clear exactly what they stand for as well as titles, captions and balloon comments
Once you learn to spot these techniques, you'll be able to see the cartoontist's point more clearly!
Let's take a look at an example of all three of these!
Who is the man in the picture above? A hint is you will see him every Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
How did you know it was Don Cherry? You know because some of Don's unique characteristics (qualities that belong to him) are exaggerated like his large ears, goatee, loud suit and large tie! This is exaggeration!
Here we see analogy! In the cartoon, Canada is made of mushrooms. To understand this cartoon, you must understand the conditions in which mushrooms are grown - in dark places with lots of manure or fertilizer.
This cartoonist is representing Canadians as "mushrooms" with respect to how much we are told about Canada's mission in Afghanistan, and the fact that the cartoonist believes that like mushrooms, we are being fed 'poop' about what is going on.
In this cartoon, labels are used to compare the price of water and oil. What point do you think the cartoonist is trying to make?
Remember: If it is an older cartoon you will need to get some background information - when and where was it published and what major political events were occurring at that time!