March 4th, 2009
04:34 PM GMT
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LONDON, England - Have you seen the cover of this week's Economist with Brown, Sarkozy and Merkel having to pay the "dinner" bill to rescue Eastern Europe? If you did you would have seen the artwork of Kevin Kallaugher - or Kal as he signs his work.

An example of Kal's witty and perceptive cartoon talent.
An example of Kal's witty and perceptive cartoon talent.

American-born Kal has contributed more than 100 Economist covers during the past 30 years. He's also been published in my hometown paper; the Baltimore Sun. Kal was discovered during the recession of the late 1970s drawing caricatures on the streets of London and Brighton.

He has benefited from Reaganomics, Thatcherism, Bill Clinton (fish in a barrel all of them) but is now tasked with describing the "credit crunch" with pen and ink.

Some commentators speculate that the end of the Bush era might mean the end of cartoon satire to reflect today's news. Not Kal.

"Certainly it (the Bush presidency) was the golden era to a certain degree," he told me during an interview at the Political Cartoon Gallery in Central London last month.

"I mean also what we're seeing in Obama's case - although the satire may not be immediately directed at him as an individual - is that we're going through such historic changes, politically, economically, around the world, it's going to supply a lot of material."

The challenge for Kal and his contemporaries is to describe the credit crunch in one drawing. Kal hopes his craft actually helps people make sense of the global recession. "You not always just react to the news. I like to think that we're in the business of kind of clarifying the news," he said.

He is very busy these days trying to "draw" the recession and also the new president. "It's this early phase, where we as the cartoonists are helping to establish in the public's mind what these people look like, this is an interesting time for us."

Kal has drawn many a character during his career. He often has to hear their voice to capture their essence. If you want to hear his imitation of one famous voice (he says it drives his wife crazy as he talks to himself in character as he draws some people) and see his efforts to capture the character of a certain CNN employee, watch Quest Means Business on Thursday night or check out cnn.com/international on Friday.



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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Jim DiGiovanne

    There has been so much said about the housing market, stock market, and the big 3 in Detroit.......There has been very little said about globalization and its effect on the USA. Simply speaking.....we are a country that MAKES NOTHING and SERVICES what the rest of the world makes. Everybody sat on their hands when the STEEL industry in this country died and when all smoke stack industries were shipped off-shore. Money keeps flowing out of the country and NOTHING is coming back. We buy oil from countries that hate us and only love the almighty dollar; and we buy sub-standard, low quality products made in China. All because our government is TOTALLY out of touch and allowing pillagers (not pillars) of industry to run on pure greed. I think there's room at GITMO for those sleazy bums. They don't take peoples' lives away with guns, but just their way of living. The majority of the middle class has dropped below the poverty line. We are a two-class country.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  2. krishna

    are there not more clowns or people with clowny behavior?

    March 5, 2009 at 5:24 am |
  3. Per Holmlund

    Cartoon Lovers

    If you like cartoons and money you just have to visit The Morgan Library & Museum, NY. There they are showing “On the Money. Cartoons for The New Yorker” . I had the opportunity to see it yesterday.

    NY yesterday, Stockholm today…

    March 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Olof

    Good satire thrived long before Bush.
    It has been around at least as long as there has been printed news media, and I see no reason it will go away just because Bush has.

    Bush was almost too easy though, so probably there popped up a lot of new cartoonists during this era, grabbing some of the gold given away.

    A golden era, maybe, but satire will continue to be around for as long as there is humans I think.

    March 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  5. snarf

    Obama doesn't like the cartoons.
    His friends made that clear with that funny cartoon of the monkey killed by police.
    Unfortunately all obama has made since taking the oath were very bad decisions... for the people. He saved everyone that has money and stock options.
    The other ones are getting higher debts and will be seen the taxes raising in the next years.

    March 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  6. Franky

    Now that's good...magnifico!! Drawing is cool, even though I suck on it. The boys draw all the time, even they got their own political cartoons, good stuff I tell you. Just not long one of them made about the GOP, is pretty clever. The title is called, "Leadership?" And boy, is it funny...

    You know, if they want help on the cartoons, don't forget to crap all that money to China, Japan, etc, just to name a few...just make sure the money is not going in one location, LOL!! Get it? LOL!!! Now that's capitalism...

    March 9, 2009 at 12:32 am |
  7. Darlene Neal

    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE ABOUT THE FEDERAL RESERVE, FDIC, WORLD BANK. OUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN KNOW ALL ABOUT THESE AND THEY ALSO KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY HAS ALREADY BEEN GIVEN TO THEM. THESE ARE ALL PRIVATELY OWNED AND WE THE PEOPLE DON/T EVEN KNOW WHO OWNS THEM. THE NET HAS ALL OF THIS INFO AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SIFT THROUGH THE PAGES AND PAGES OF REALLY VALUABLE STUFF. NPR AND PUBLIC TELEVISION GIVES US INFORMATION BUT MOST PEOPLE DO NOT LISTEN OR LOOK BECAUSE IT IS THOUGHT THAT THESE SOURCES ARE "TOO LIBERAL." WHEN ALL THEY DO IS GIVE FACTS WHICH CNN GLOSSES. THANK YOU.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm |

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