It’s been the most tumultuous era in British politics for decades, and while political journalists have been doing serious overtime, spare a thought for the illustrators and cartoonists working through their RSI to chart the era in the way they know best — through satire. From Thatcher’s teeth to Farage’s Wallace and Gromit grin, political caricature has long been a device used by publishers to make light of the pantomime of parliament.
Illustrator Ellie Foreman-Peck however represents a fresh crop of political portraiture less traditional and more concerned with sophisticated mark-making, pared-back yet energetic characters and subtle use of perspective. A talented portrait artist, her deftness for capturing the essence of a person has earned her increasingly frequent appearances on the pages of The Guardian and Standpoint. The flip side is that she had to stare at politician’s faces all day, but hopefully it was worth it.
Here, Ellie picks out a selection of her illustrations of David Cameron from the past few years, demonstrating how her artworks depicted the scandal of the day, and the many faces of the now-former prime minister.
How remain failed: the inside story of a doomed campaign by Rafael Behr for The Guardian’s long read, 5 July 2016.
“For this one I had to depict Osborne and Cameron in the aftermath of the ‘remain catastrophe’, their team in the background amidst rubble and broken ‘remain’ paraphernalia.”
The trials of David Cameron by Matthew d’Ancona for The Guardian, as part of its lead up to the General Election, 5 May 2015.
“I was asked to illustrate Cameron looking confident in his members club, with George Osborne and Michael Gove, as part of the making of series.”
The real story of the Scottish referendum: the final days of the fight for independence, part 1 by Severin Carrell, Nicholas Watt and Patrick Wintour for The Guardian’s long read, 16 December 2014.
“Cameron had been caught on camera discussing the Queen’s relieved reaction to the referendum results. The ensuing frosty meeting is illustrated here, with Cameron having a chilly breakfast with the Queen at Balmoral. My brief was to use the discourse of comic books as a reference.”
The real story of the Scottish referendum: Britain on the brink by Severin Carrell, Nicholas Watt and Patrick Wintour for The Guardian’s long read, 15 December 2014.
“My brief was to illustrate the events of the Scottish referendum in comic book style, so it shows Darling and Brown outraged at Cameron playing the English card, ie. English-only votes at Westminster.”
Left: Overrated: David Cameron by Sally Gimson for Standpoint, April 2013. “I was asked to portray an arrogant, toff-like Bullingdon club Cameron.”
Right: Underrated: David Cameron by Andrew Gimson for Standpoint, April 2013. “The idea here was to portray a nice, benign looking Cameron, in a vicar’s dog collar.”