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Work / Illustration

Political illustrator Ellie Foreman-Peck on her unfortunately abundant Trump back catalogue

“I didn’t believe I would still be drawing Trump’s face after the elections. Now, I’ve drawn him too many times to count,” says illustrator Ellie Foreman-Peck. Her knack for capturing expression and character has seen her visually satirise most of our political leaders for The Guardian, The Economist and Standpoint, but there’s one face that she, among many, wishes she didn’t have to examine so much.

Still, there’s a silver lining, she says. “His puckering, pouting mouth, tangoed skin and canary yellow helmet coif, not to mention his constant hand gestures, are great material for caricaturing. He is already a caricature.”

Her catalogue of Trump portraits start during the campaign, for articles in The Guardian such as a report by Dave Eggers from a rally titled Could he actually win?, and another based around Trump’s “unstoppable rise” where Ellie depicted him as a star-spangled elephant – still uncannily similar to the man himself.

She’s also charted his relationship with Putin for The Economist, showing the two in a boxing ring. She was given the article and picked out the phrase “What America might want from Russia, but is unlikely to get”. The Russian president appears disinterested while Trump desperately strains, over-stretches and gets tangled in the ropes.

Another for The Economist saw Ellie pull a visual simile from the article provided to her, showing Xi Jinping and Trump as a tortoise and hare. “I focused on this extract: ‘Hare-like, the Trump administration is dashing from one policy to the next, sometimes contradicting itself and willing to box any rival it sees. China, tortoise-like, is extending its head cautiously beyond its carapace, taking slow, painstaking steps. Aesop knew how this contest is likely to end.’”

“With my work I offer my visual interpretation of an article,” Ellie explains. “I’m emailed the piece, read it, and send back a selection of ideas in sketch form for the art editor to choose from. I hand-draw the image using pencil, charcoal, ink and then colour in Photoshop. Sometimes you will get half a day for this whole process to happen, so I’ve learned to be pretty speedy!”

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