Who was the first cartoonist?

Today, practically all newspapers and magazines print some sort of cartoons in their pages. Some make us laugh, some make us think about the events of the day. The father of the modern cartoon was English artist William Hogarth (1697-1764). There were others before him who made drawings that made fun of silly customs and behavior. But Hogarth really started the art of cartooning.

He was interested in human nature, in the character and attitudes of people. His drawings made fun of universal situations and problems such as drunkenness, spoiled youngsters, crimes of all sorts, and even crooked elections. The work of Hogarth was continued by another Englishman, Thomas Rowlandson. His cartoons were printed in large quantities and sent all over England. He exaggerated human features to make people look ridiculous, which is known as the caricature.

Early in the 19th century, European journals, which were similar to many modern magazines, began to print cartoons that expressed opinions on events of the day, and this was the beginning of political cartoons which appear in our daily newspapers today.

One of the greatest political cartoonists was the Frenchman Honore Daumier (1808-1879). He made bitter attacks on people in power and corruption in government. In fact, he was sent to jail for six months because of a cartoon he drew that made fun of the king.

Today, almost everybody recognizes the popular humorous cartoons that appear in many of our papers.