Exercise 2 – Satirical commentary
Work from a contemporary news event and create a satirical perspective illustration on it.
Contemporary news event
Satirical perspective illustration
Mind map of words – typing and linking words –
Covid – lockdowns – breaking rules – countries – representatives – government – one rule for one – restrictions – changes – fallouts – caught – backtrack – scandal – exposed – resign – judged – ministers – regret – say one thing – do another – class divides – words not actions – protest – annoyed – retaliate – resist – ignore – who is in charge – more rules – not listening
Overall impression from the word map was that the strongest words that were hopping out were:
Based on the last number of months, everyone has had a lot of restrictions put on their lives and the type of news that hits the headlines is when rules are broken by the very people creating them.
News that relates to the words
The biggest news story that links those words together was a story from last year. A golf dinner was held by a society in Galway. It had a number of high-profile names attending it. The number of guests that attended it exceeded 80. The day before the government had introduced tougher restrictions on gatherings and reduced the number from fifty to six.
The golf dinner has a number of things attached to it:
- Rules for the public differ from those in the Oireachtas Golf society.
- Golf is considered an elitist sport.
- Those attending that play golf were supposedly representing the people in government.
- There was no regard for the rules.
Many people were struggling to keep jobs, keep their head, manage their finances, look after their families and keep a sense of perspective on all this while not being entirely sure of what was ahead. This broke any trust the people had in the government as it was the strongest act of not caring by the very people entrusted to pave the way out of the Pandemic.
Once news of the event broke, a number of ministers were very sorry about the fact that they went. This fell on deaf ears. One particularly high-profile person was the EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan.
How will I approach this?
This was one incident that really stained the trust of the public with the government. It was already in a delicate place prior to this. Since then, there have been other unfortunate incidents that just continue to erode the trust with the government, and it reminds us that people are human but the collateral damage of badly made decisions by those in charge is enormous.
As a result, I felt that the sketch should be slap stick in its approach. The Three Stooges came to mind, as they’re likeable characters but create chaos. Over the last while, we’re looking at how a coalition government have been handling the worst Pandemic in history.
By and large there have been some well-handled moments of the crisis. The distrust comes when the bumbles that occur are within their own cabinets and no consequences ensue.
All the images were sourced on Google
The thumbnails were created, and the reference board used as a way to get a sense of the body positions and general facial expressions. Halfway through this process, another idea popped up and it involved looking for further images related to The Three Stooges.
This image went on to act as the stepping off point for the final illustration. It was a still from a movie with The Three Stooges but had a golf course. The clothes were oversized but appropriate for the time.
Figure 1image from Google search
This image was perfect for the idea of referencing back to an old news story that has haunted the Government for over a year and leaping me into a more up to date story in relation to a recent scandal that both leaders are trying to avoid getting involved with.
I used the images sourced from Google and overlapped them in Affinity Photo to create a layered collage effect to test out if it worked. I resized the heads after cutting them onto a new layer, and then I printed the whole thing to see if I liked the proportions. After that, I went over the entire image in brush pen to give it a cleaner finish and bring up the image in a clearer way for myself.
It was okay, so I took a high-resolution picture of it and put it into Procreate to try and create a story and a background for it. I used a series of photos that I had taken of various textures and patterns from objects in my home, as I wanted to include these for effect on the fabric of the golf trousers.
Good things about it – it is more contemporary as it relates to a story that dropped this week (beginning 6th September 2021) and makes reference to last years scandal about golfing and it also makes reference to another small scandal where Leo Varadkar went to a music festival in the UK amid the controversy of Electric picnic being unable to open.
So overall, I’ve hit the brief for referencing contemporary news in a relevant context with in jokes to previous scandals and setting it in the back drop of a storm coming in on a golf course. The positions of the players is also relevant as the two leaders are fighting for power (the golf ball) and could also be equally trying to hit the ball away from them (deferring the problem and avoiding it), while the third party watches on and isn’t really aware as he isn’t fully present. This pokes fun at the amount of times he has been caught napping on the job.
So referencing The Three Stooges in the positioning of their bodies reflecting the image taken from the classic golfing capers, is further fun poking as the baggy pants and golfing gear contrasts with the pyjama looking outfit of Eamon Ryan. He is also holding a stick instead of a golf stick as he represents The Green Party and it is a reference to scatteredness.
What needs work – the collage work. I tried to use patterns from photos and layer them but they’re a bit lost in the mix. I missed a trick with not going for argyle jumpers and making the trousers lighter in colour. So the outfits overall stand out for the wrong reasons and the linework is heavy and not weighted correctly.
I found this exercise challenging. Trying to get a likeness for the caricature was definitely tough and creating the collage in Affinity helped to get an idea on the composition.
Trying out collage for this may have worked better if I had been lighter with it. It all feels a little on the heavy-handed side, but it was a good effort as I haven’t done anything in a satirical style before.
Gillray and Cruikshank are more of an influence here as the jovial nature of their satire manages to make it a little easier to get a handle on and it feels lighter in it’s jesting compared to Bell. I definitely tried to go for the collage effects from Brine’s approach to caricature in exercise 1, but they were too dark and confusing in this illustration.
I’m happy with the fact that I stayed with relevant news and it is still current so the image (at the time of posting anyway) is relevant for longer than a day. I’m also very happy with the proportions and facial expressions.
Cabinet’s phased plan to reopen before Christmas (2020) The Irish Examiner
GolfGate (2020) BBC News
Golf dinner fallout controversy compromises key public health messages (2020) The Irish Times
Varadkar and Ryan need reminding by Martin that they too are in government, O’Regan (2021) The Independent
Hogarth (2021) Royal Academy
Alan Morrison on Hogarth (2007) Tate podcast
Climate Change Report (2021) IPCC
Tom Richmond (2021) Richmond Illustration Inc.