This week Gary Barker, a member of the PCO which runs the Bloghorn, is covering for Steve Bell at the Guardian. His Monday editorial cartoon is above, he will also do the Thursday and Saturday drawings.
Gary told the Bloghorn that he had covered at various national papers, and had been hoping to have a go at the Guardian. “My last cover was for the Trevor Kavanagh column in the Sun and I know he is an influential character Westminster. So I emailed the Guardian art director and mentioned Trevor’s name. It was either that or my timing was lucky, because I was offered a couple of days almost straight away.”
Covering is a tricky business though. By moving from paper to paper the cartoonist may have to adapt to different stances on political issues.
“All newspapers have different approaches, from almost ‘Hands-off and do as you like’, right through to ‘Can we have A standing in such a way, and B saying this and carrying a cabbage and a gramophone’. I’ll leave you all to make your minds up as to which political slant is likely to be the more prescriptive,” said Gary.
Covering for others is a rite of passage for political cartoonists. Other PCO members who have taken that route include Patrick Blower, Andy Bunday, Alex Hughes, Morten Morland, Martin Rowson, and Bloghorn’s own Matt Buck.
Matt said: “Me and my cartoon shadow is a hard game to play. It takes time to build a personal relationship with an audience of readers so stepping into someone’s ‘spot’ can feel like mission impossible.”