Could political cartoons soon be a thing of the past?

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is a favourite target for cartoonists.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage is a favourite target for cartoonists. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Bright, bold, and with a helping of mischief.

Political cartoons have been around for hundreds of years - poking fun at authority, questioning decisions, and highlighting social ills.

Andy poked fun at David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown during the last general election.
Andy poked fun at David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown during the last general election. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cambridge cartoonist Andy Davey's drawn for The Sun, The Guardian, Private Eye and many more.

He says in the industry there's concern about the future with colleagues struggling to make a living, or out of work altogether.

Andy Davey is worried about the future of his profession.
Andy Davey is worried about the future of his profession. Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's come as newspapers cut costs, and so commission fewer drawings, but also move online, changing the way we read.

"You read the whole newspaper and come across, traditionally at least, an image amidst a page of type.

Your eyes are drawn to that image because it's strong.

You have to go and search for a cartoon on a newspaper website, whereas you would be confronted with it in a traditional print newspaper."

– Andy Davey, cartoonist

At the British Cartoon Archive in Canterbury they hold more than 150,000 drawings - spanning more than a century.

From before the first world war, through 20th century politics, and right up to the modern day.

Curator Dr Nick Hiley says the industry is facing a challenge, but not for the first time.

Dr Nick Hiley says the industry has faced challenges before.
Dr Nick Hiley says the industry has faced challenges before. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It has survived changes in the past, and some of those changes are perhaps ones we haven't noticed like the coming of colour and the coming of photography in newspapers, because photographs now are rude about the people who are photographed.

The politicians are caught off guard, they're caught in the sorts of poses that previously only cartoonists could get away with".

– Dr Nick Hiley, British Cartoon Archive

So how do politicians view them? As Secretary for Health, the South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley was featured from time to time.

He says they're something he and others in politics pay attention to, and enjoy.

Andrew Lansley MP talks to ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson.
Andrew Lansley MP talks to ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It's actually a great gift really because it's a combination of real skills isn't it?

You've got to be somebody who's capable of doing the art, doing the humour, but also the politics."

– Andrew Lansley MP

In print, they're in harmony with the words, delighting even those they target.

Cartoonists hope the internet will find a way to adopt them as its own.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson