Kevin Kallaugher was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA, and took a degree in visual and environmental studies at Harvard University. Here he produced an animated colour film as part of his thesis, and drew a weekly satirical strip called "In the Days of Disgustus" for the university daily paper, the Harvard Crimson. After graduating with honours in 1977 Kallaugher went to England on a bicycle holiday. "I was here on a bicycle tour," he later recalled, "leading a bunch of teenagers around the country. The tour finished. I got a job playing semi professional basketball. But when the team started running out of money, that's when I started looking for cartoon jobs."
Kallaugher began doing tourist caricatures, working on the pier at Brighton, in Richmond Park, and in Trafalgar Square. He took his portfolio around Fleet Street, but met with little encouragement - Peter Brookes looking at it and saying frankly, "No chance, mate." However, in March 1978 Kallaugher became the first resident cartoonist on the Economist, a London-based magazine whose readership was largely outside the United Kingdom. "They were looking for someone with an international focus," he recalled: "This was the only job in London where being an American was actually an advantage." His work for the Economist was unsigned - which was magazine policy - but he always included his wife's name somewhere in the drawing.
Kallaugher also contributed cartoons to satirical magazines like The Digger, and in 1980 he was political cartoonist for the Oxford Sunday Journal. In 1983 he began working for the Observer, and when the newspaper Today was launched in 1986, he became its cartoonist. His political caricatures were animated by Richard Williams' studio to produce a television advertisement for the paper. As the trade magazine Campaign noted, "the ad is set in the House of Commons, with Thatcher and her cabinet depicted as angels, and the opposition as devils": "Then, slowly, the roles are reversed. A voiceover tells you that Today isn't about depicting politicians in such extreme ways."
In 1987 Kallaugher moved to the Sunday Telegraph, but in September 1988 he returned to the USA to work on the Baltimore Sun, which syndicated his cartoons all over the world. As he later acknowledged, "one of the greatest advantages of working in London was opening up the fourteen daily newspapers and discovering what my opposite numbers on the other papers were doing on the same subject": "It forced you to dig a little deeper for inspiration." However, he felt that in the USA editorial cartoonists had more influence, for there was relatively little satire, and politicians were more sensitive about their public image. As he told an American interviewer, "the editorial cartoonist here can influence change in a way that British cartoonists can't", adding that on the Baltimore Sun "there is definitely a higher status allotted to the editorial cartoonist than I was accustomed to in Britain."
From the USA Kallaugher continued to contribute cartoons and covers to the Economist - working until 2.00am on press nights, because of the time difference. He also supplied cartoons for the Economist Web Edition, for the International Herald Tribune in Paris, Central Europe in Vienna, and Mediaweek in New York. Kallaugher is also widely syndicated. Reluctant to be labelled, he noted in 1994 that "I suppose most people think of me as being on the left": "The classic answer is that I'm in favour of everything right and against everything wrong. But I don't believe either party is entirely right."
Kallaugher is an admirer of Oliphant, McNelly and Levine. He has won a number of awards for his work, including CCGB Feature Cartoonist of the Year in 1982, Best Editorial Cartoon at the Witty World International Cartoon Festival, Budapest, in 1990, the Grafica Internazionale Award at the International Festival of Satire in Pisa in 1996, and the 2004 Thomas Nast Award. A past President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, he has also been British and European editor of Target magazine and curator of "Worth a Thousand Words", an exhibition of cartoons, caricatures, paintings, etc., by 50 artists at the Walters Art Museum, USA. As Kallaugher told an interviewer in 1995, his cartoons involved six to eight hours of work, and "once I've got the final pencil drawing, it takes about two and a half hours."
Kallaugher sees himself as a commentator on the news, arguing that “a good editorial cartoon, is trying to get a message”: “people often think that you're in the business of making people laugh. But in fact, you're really in the business of making people think”.
- "Stripped and ready for action: Cartoon characters used in advertising," Campaign, 13 June 1986.
- Interview with Kevin Kallaugher by Peter Durgerian, Cartoonist Profiles, No.101 (March 1994), p.11.
- Dennis Wepman "Kal: Cartoonist for the world", WittyWorld International Cartoon Magazine, No.19 Summer/Autumn 1995, pp.8-10.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.131.
- Kevin Kallaugher speaking at "Cartooning the USA: America Through the Pen of Political Cartoonists", British Library, London, 18 October 2005.
- CNN International, 26 September 2008, Fionnuala Sweeney interviewing Kevin Kallaugher for “International Correspondents.”
767 catalogued originals [KL0001-KL0767]
70s; 80s (1978 - 88)back to top