The Other Side of Party Caricaturing

By Simon Ellinas

The number of cartoonists hitching up their skirts and exposing their pulsating talents as party caricaturists is on the increase. So much so that die-hard publications cartoonists are in danger of becoming a minority.

Of course, there are many who tackle a variety of cartooning jobs throughout their year but find that offers of party caricaturing are by far the most frequent and well-paid jobs. It would therefore seem relevant to welcome this most modern of entertainments onto the examination table and stick the knife in to probe its deepest recesses and cavities and see what we can learn about it.

It's not just about drawing caricatures. Oh no. Oh dear me, no. In this instalment I'd like to romanticise the 'travelling entertainer' aspect of our trade. Like the true jesters and minstrels of centuries ago all the way down to the travelling groups of 'players' and music hall comedians and today's repertory theatres, fringe groups and musicians, magicians and acrobats we merry band of caricaturists roam the land and, indeed, the world, in search of human faces to draw. (Well, we do it for the money, actually.)

Rumour has it that I am simply following an in-built genetic programme. One of my great-uncles in Cyprus was, apparently, a poet who travelled from village to village declaiming his verse and my other ancestors hail from Ireland (Eire), which speaks for itself (a wandering band of raggle-taggle gypsies-oh). This loose notion that I am carrying on some sort of hereditary tradition should be of some comfort, but I garner more solace from the universality of experience shared by my present-day comrades.
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