Draw the Inauguration Challenge – The winners

One thing that Lockdown hasn’t been able to quash is creativity. In the last few weeks the internet sensation Jackie Weaver – of Handforth Parish Council fame – has spawned songs, artwork and even a cake caricature. Whilst ‘I am not a cat’ generated thousands of memes and has had us all wishing for a feline Zoom filter.

What better way to capture that spirit of creativity than running a ‘Draw the Inauguration’ challenge, launched by British satirical cartoonist Martin Rowson in collaboration with the Cartoon Museum. Although the museum is currently closed, the competition complements our latest exhibition ‘Hail to the Chief’ a celebration of journalist Andrew Gimson’s new book “Gimson’s Presidents: Brief Lives from Washington to Trump” which is illustrated by Rowson.

The exhibition features the best and worst American Presidents over the last 231 years. Listening to Rowson talk about drawing different leaders highlighted how much easier it is to capture an individual when you are living through their era. It has been the most memorable transition of power in American history and our winning cartoons all included in this blog really capture the spirit of the moment. It is not just about the individual but the world they inhabit, a real snapshot in time.

Running from the 8th-20th January 2021 the competition came just after the storming of the US Capitol and the same day that President Trump announced he wouldn’t attend the inauguration. We ran two categories for adults and kids and the top 3 winning cartoons from each group are below.

In 3rd place we have Dave’s (@deequedraws) DeLorean time machine. A nostalgic homage to 80s film ‘Back to the Future’ and a wish to return to happier times. Dave is a teacher in Australia and wanted his drawing to convey how Biden might also want to return to earlier times to recapture some of his youthful vigour. At 78 he is the oldest man to talk the presidential oath, he is certainly going to need a lot of energy to face the challenges ahead.

In 2nd place James (@JamesDFMellor) has echoed one of the weirdest episodes of Trump’s post-truth quest to overturn the election thanks to lawyer Rudi Giuliani. A hastily convened press conference at ‘Four Seasons Total Landscaping’ instead of the ‘Four Seasons Hotel’ became the inspiration for a cartoon theorising an alternate universe inauguration.

I asked James how he drew his cartoon –

“I draw my cartoons with pen and ink before editing and colouring them on a Microsoft Surface Pro. Each year the digital side of things seems to become more extensive but I still can’t begin with a blank screen – I need to start with pen and paper.”

And… our winner in the adult category was Rob (@Telecoda). Drawing for Rob is just a hobby and he used to draw on his commute to work, sadly commuting is a thing of the past! I asked Rob about the inspiration behind his entry.

“I actually drew the cartoon as a response to Donald Trump losing the election and the following days of tantrums. I kinda thought it would be funny if he refused to leave the White House. Little did I know what January had in store for us!”

We also ran a kids competition that brought some real fun and ingenuity to the entries. My eldest two children have become CNN junkies since the US election. I don’t know if it is the constraints of lockdown or the nature of 24 hour television but we all watched the storming of the Capitol with my middle child declaring it was better than Netflix hit ‘Bridgerton’.

The Cartoon Museum has a number of free downloads on our website to help you get started with drawing caricatures, it seemed like our three winners needed no help in getting their own ideas down.

In 3rd place we have 8 year old Ciara. Wonderfully capturing the celebrity star dust of inauguration day by drawing Lady GaGa. Ciara likes drawing faces with masks on as it is easier and faster (that is one bonus to Covid). Ciara hasn’t visited us yet at the Cartoon Museum but we can’t wait to see her when we are open again.

In 2nd place we have Phoebe who is 6 years old, bringing Trump to life with a green ‘trump’, vibrant orange hair as well as a reminder of the rubbish that comes out of his mouth.

Phoebe likes drawing so much she drew individual cartoons in each of the Christmas cards she sent out this year, which was over 50 cards! I asked Phoebe why she likes to draw.

“I like drawing because when I draw something, it makes me feel happy and it makes me
feel calm and I just really like it. And when you’re bored, it’s the right thing to do, because
you can do it by yourself, you can do it with other people and it’s just really fun.”

Finally our 1st place winner in the kids category was Erin who is 8 years old (but very nearly 9) with an inspired balloon/banana installation. Erin is very interested in world news keeping up with events on ‘Newsround’ and ‘First News’. I asked her how she came up with her idea.

A HUGE congratulations to our young #DrawTheInauguration winner, 8 year old Erin! A brilliantly imaginative entry that bursts Trump’s bubble!

Please click to see the video

“Donald Trump is an idiot so we decided to get rid of him like America got rid of him. We had some balloons left over from my little sister’s birthday so we used the orange one, of course, to represent his face.”

“I liked popping the balloon! It was like getting rid of him. Byeeee!”

We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment! Thanks to all of you who took part and keep an eye out for future competitions.

Claire Madge

You can find a video of all the entries here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_ebCgBpsBo&feature=youtu.be

Follow @MartinRowson for more drawing challenges

Adult winners
1 Rob Baines @Telecoda www.bainescartoons.com/about/
2 James Mellor @JamesDFMellor www.jamesmellorcreative.com
3 Dave @deequedraws www.instagram.com/deequedraws/

James Gillray, A sun setting in a fog, 3 June 1783 – A Commentary

Image: James Gillray, A sun setting in a fog; with the old Hanover Hack descending (John Williams: London, 1783) – BMSat 6239

Charles James Fox sits proudly upon the white horse of Hannover. Behind Fox, resting on the horse’s hindquarters, is the severed head of the King impaled on a pike. In the background, the sun – projecting the figure of Britannia – slowly sets, becoming engulfed by heavy dark clouds. The horse is exhausted, its reins broken, as Fox guides Britain off the side of a cliff.

A Sun setting in a fog is a work of famed satirical artist-engraver James Gillray. A pioneer of British caricature, Gillray produced close to one-thousand prints in a career spanning thirty-years. Politically savvy, wonderfully witty, and undeniably entertaining, Gillray etched some of the greatest and most recognisable caricatures in history. The Cartoon Museum possesses an original copper-plate etching of A sun setting in a fog, and proudly encourages visitors to view this rare piece of print history.

James Gillray, A sun setting in a fog; with the old Hanover Hack descending, 1783. Copper-plate. The Cartoon Museum

Typical of James Gillray’s satirical prints, A sun setting in a fog is full of symbolism and nuance. Fox’s boots are made from ‘Spanish Leather.’ Hanging from Fox’s waistcoat is a fleur-de-lys. Another can be seen on the chest of the cockerel upon George III’s severed head. Inside the basket, labelled ‘Hopes and Expectations,’ is the Royal Crown pierced with a sword, alongside a sign that appears to read ‘Magna Carta.’ Fox’s saddlebags contain ‘lowis [sic] d’or’ (French money) and ‘Spanish Anuity.’ And finally, if the purpose of the print was not yet clear, Fox exclaims “Aut Cromwell aut Nihil” – either Cromwell or nothing.

Fox is depicted by Gillray as a pro-French, pro-Spanish, anti-monarchist. The print, produced in June 3 1783, was sold during the short-lived Fox-North coalition. An unlikely pairing, the Fox-North coalition was born from political crisis. The previous Shelburne-Rockingham Whig administration was similarly short-lived, with foreign secretary Fox accusing the King of placing Edward Thurlow in the cabinet to act as his Royal spy. With Rockingham dead, and mounting pressure from Fox and Lord North over his dealings with America, Shelburne’s demise was cemented.

From this single conjunction, the Fox-North coalition was born to the dismay of the King. Tensions came to a head when George III was given no role in determining the government positions under the Fox-North coalition. Fox feared another Thurlow situation and believed that the King had shown his intent in subverting parliamentary institutions. Never before had this maxim of monarchy been so openly challenged. Fox and North’s motivations were questioned, and the pair were accused of usurping power, with Fox even receiving comparisons to Oliver Cromwell.

Such is the context in which Gillray produced A sun setting in a fog. The pro-France and pro-Spain nuances denote Fox’s acquiescence towards the American Revolution. Fox saw American independence a lesser evil to a drawn-out war where America would receive the support of France and Spain. The reference to Cromwell is a depiction of the deep unease felt in parliament towards Fox’s quarrels with George III. The battered signpost, fitted with expressive hands characteristic of Gillray, warns of the impending doom if Fox is left unchecked. Gillray was not the only caricaturist to make such a comparison.

James Sayers, The mirror of patriotism (James Bretherton: London, 1784) – NPG D9749
James Gillray, A new administration or the state quacks administring (William Humphrey: London, 1783) – BMSat 6201

Through a satirical lens, Gillray portrays a representation of political crises at breaking point. The Fox-North coalition was in office from March-December 1783. George III nominated twenty-four-year-old William Pitt who comprehensibly defeated Fox and North in the 1784 election. Prior to the print in question, Gillray produced another titled A New Adminstration. Here, Gillray depicts Fox and North as a pair of quack doctors attempting to administer help to Britannia. In the background lies a mountain range representing the steep climb facing the new administration. In A sun setting in a fog we see Fox heading for the edge of that that very mountain, toward the valley of annihilation.

By Daniel Jinks


George, M. Dorothy, ‘Description’, British Museum Online Collection – https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1851-0901-143

Mitchell, Leslie, ‘Fox, Charles James’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2007) – https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-10024?rskey=oKBmgm&result=3

Sherry, James, ‘Commentary: A new administration’, james-gillray.org – https://www.james-gillray.org/pop/state-quacks.html

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