A political cartoon is an illustration which is designed to convey a social or political message. This art form dates back to at least the 1500s in European culture, and it is considered animportant part of visual expression in much of the West. Political cartoons are often found on the editorial pages of newspapers and magazines, and they also sometimes appear in the comics section, or as standalone illustrations: the British artist Banksy, for example, has produced works which could arguably be considered political cartoons on walls, streets, and buildings all over the world.
Defining a political cartoon is a bit tricky, as a lot of art has a political or social overtone, since artists do not work in a vacuum. Cartoons themselves are a bit nebulous, as the term “cartoon” can refer to a simple single-panel illustration, or a running series of strips which narrate an ongoing story. As a general rule, cartoons are simple line drawings, usually with a humorous edge, which may be captioned or left untitled, depending on the taste of the artist. Cartoons are also designed to stand alone as works of art, needing no guidance from an interpreter to be understood.