Slugger Self Portraits – a “visual mugging”

Bumping into Mick the other night at an event he jumped back asking, rhetorically I’m sure and with a gasp, if I was going to cartoon him. I said I wasn’t. And I genuinely wasn’t – I had turned up at the event to hear what was to be said by an interesting panel on a shared future.

But as the event unfolded I gazed upon Mick and remarked to myself how exceptionally cartoonable he is. And so as I left the event bemuddled about a shared future I carried my notepad with a solid first draft of my latest subject half committed to producing a full piece.

However I wasn’t sure what to do: wondering should I keep it for my own pleasure or present it to the wider community for others to enjoy?

Then I watched briefly some of yesterday’s #DigitalLunch and thought it had to be done, and so I put pen to ink and put some flowing lines together.

Us cartoonists are guided by the Mickey Mouse Protocol: a principle of cartooning that says you want to distil a subject into a series of symbols or marks – just as Mickey Mouse has been reduced down to 3 black circles.

So when I was doing Mick I realised Mick was very distillable: he has a neat mouth, surrounded by a tidy goatee and an abundance of cheek flesh. Atop of these marked features lies both figuratively and literally his crowning distinction: a joyous mop of flicked back and oft-scrunched hair.

Putting these symbols together, the lines on paper look, I hope, instantly recognisable. People may say it’s stupid but I didn’t even feel drawing the eyes and glasses necessary.

Martin Rowson, esteemed editorial cartoonist of the Guardian, describes the practice of cartooning the people in power rather beautifully: as a form of “visual mugging”.

I suppose this cartoon could be considered as a visual mugging of Mick, or even as some sort of self-inflicted beating seeing Mick is the ultimate overseer in the slugger world. But I hope this is received in the good tone that I had intended!

Brian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger.

Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

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