The joke’s on politicians as Evening News cartoonist’s work goes on display at parliament as part of Festival of Politics.
HE brings a smile to the faces of Evening News readers every day – and probably a frown or two to the political figures he satirises in his award-winning cartoons.
When it comes to hitting the nail on the head, Frank Boyle does it every time in his Boyling Point slot, covering issues of national and international significance, as well as those that matter to people living right here in the Capital.
Today his work takes centre stage at the three-day Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament, with a free exhibition of his cartoons set to leave visitors sniggering in their masses.
Perhaps even First Minister Alex Salmond will take time out to cast his eye over the cartoons on display.
“Well, I did meet him once and he told me I was drawing him too fat,” says Boyle, a former Scottish Cartoonist of the Year. “I think he was joking. He’s great to draw though – definitely one of my favourites at the moment. I suppose I have got used to drawing him too, and the more often you do that, the easier it gets.”
Boyle has become a firm favourite in the Evening News since he began producing his daily cartoon in 1999, but was an established political cartoonist on the national stage for many years prior.
An illustration graduate from Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Boyle has caused many a stir and laughs through his work for The New Statesman, Tribune and Sunday Sun, while also having his cartoons feature regularly in the Scottish press and on the BBC. His creations have also appeared at the National Galleries of Scotland.
“Hopefully people think I’m funny some of the time,” he says modestly. “I think the reason Evening News readers enjoy my work is because they know it is made especially for them. It’s not generic stuff that could appear anywhere, it is made for Edinburgh readers. I love that I can draw anything surrounding local football to the trams, but can also switch to the national scene, or indeed the international one.”
But for the next three days as locals and visitors alike head to the parliament to see his work, there will be no mention of pandas, roadworks or Hearts and Hibs – just politics.
“The worst type of politician for me is a bland one, like Nick Clegg,” says Boyle. “They are so hard to draw.
“It’s much better if they have a sort of character about them. Alistair Darling is great to do because of his eyebrows.”
So would he ever concern himself about hurting a politician’s feelings through his work?
“I think they need to have quite a thick skin,” laughs Boyle. “And I suspect whether they appear in a cartoon or not is the least of their worries. That is not to say the cartoons are meaningless though.
“The trouble is, when you do meet them, some are quite nice. So, all in all, I think it’s better not to know them.”
‘Scotland’s place in the world’
THE Festival of Politics 2013 runs from today until Sunday at the Scottish Parliament.
This year’s theme is Scotland’s Place in the World, with a programme designed to stimulate discussion about the future of the country and its society.
Involving free entertainment and exhibitions, events include columnist Steve Richards talking about the absurdities, virtues and tensions of politics; music from 2011 Britain’s Got Talent Winner Jai McDowall; and book signings from Magnus Linklater, Iain Macwhirter and David Nasaw. Some events are ticketed (£5/£3.50).
The festival runs from 4pm to 10pm (today); 10am to 10pm (Saturday) and 10am to 9pm (Sunday).
For full details visit www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk.