Cog Icon signifying link to Admin page

Radical Cartoons

Political cartoons and book illustrations

My influences 

I did not get as far as 6th form, or any other FE or art training. But I have studied these artists in galleries and books.

Because of copyright I will only list these artists, you will have to google them to see images of their work.

I hope you like this tour round my favourite artists. They are predominantly line ( pen & ink) artists and cartoonists.

Yes, they are mostly men, because these are the artists I knew about in the days before the internet. But there are one or two women included.

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and

Gusrave Dore (1832-1883). Both need no introduction. I particularly recommend Dore's illustrations to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge. Dover books of New York did a folio edition in 1970 with 42 full page illustrations. Dore's depictions of water, rain and snow in these are incomparable.

Maurits Escher (1898-1972). Escher also did some wonderful depictions of water. Try and see his drawing of a drop of water on a leaf, and a puddle after the rain. His mobius strip drawings of monks trudging up and down endless stairs, and his impossible-perspective buildings, have been copied in cartoons numerous times. 

The Pre- Raphaelites. Especially Millais (1829-1896), and Atkinson Grimshaw ( 1836-1893 ). He had an exceptional struggle to become an artist, his mother opposed him. His moonlit country lane scenes are well known, and his scenes of Liverpool docks at night. Unfortunately, most of his works are in private collections. Even Leeds museum, where he lived, only has a couple of paintings. Try and get the Phaidon (Oxford) book, 1988, containing 111 illustrations, with 43 in colour.

Stuart Tresilian (1891-1974). You might know Tresilian best for his work on Kipling's Jungle Book. I have a very tatty and much read copy of "All the Mowgli Stories", which includes some of Tresilian's beautiful drawings of Mowgli when he grew up and worked as a ranger for the British Raj.

And Tresilian taught art to Charles Keeping (1924-1988). Another children's book illustrator it was impossible to ignore, he was everywhere. Many of his drawings were considered maybe a bit too horrific for children , but believe me, we loved them!

Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). Known for his  illustrations of fairy tales, with fantastical details of trees, flowers etc. Rackham's influence can be seen in the work of many artists, such as;

Jimmy Cauty (b1956). Cauty was famous in the 70s and 80s for his prolific work on record sleeves  and posters for art shop Athena.

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944). Creator of hundreds of elaborate drawings of fantastical machinary, prints of his drawings always used to be on the walls of pubs! He's the only British cartoonist whose name has passed into our language as a noun or a simile, as in ' that looks a bit Heath Robinson'.  Apart from...

Norman Thelwell (1823-2004). Most people will remember Thelwell for his fat little girls on ponies cartoons. Horsey people over a certain age might still say a horse looks like a 'Thelwell Pony'.

No cartoonist has drawn the English countryside as faithfully as him. Have a look at any of his cartoons, and the trees in the background are not just generic, but identifiable species. In particular the once widespread Elm. His shopkeepers and traders are surrounded by their myriad products and tools, lovingly depicted. He drew now archaic steam driven farm machinary and processes. Thelwell's cartoons are a true social history of the English country way of life.

Another Norman - Norman Rockwell (1894-1978).  As well has his famous covers for the Saturday Evening Post magazine, which captured a very traditional, old- fashioned, American way of life, he also illustrated many books for young people.

Margaret Keane (b.1927 - now 92 and still painting)! Famous for the 'Big Eyes' paintings of children and animals, and for her struggle to be recognised as the artist. Her husband Walter was a drunk, controlling bully, who put his own signature on Margaret's paintings. Even after she left him , taking her daughter, and carried on painting and running her own gallery, he continued to make threats, including death threats, if she did not produce more work he could pass off as his own. Their legal battle resulted in one of the most extraordinary court cases of modern times. The judge ordered them both to paint an identical picture in front of him. Walter winged that his arm hurt, while Margaret calmly finished her painting and won the case, and Walter later died penniless. 

Joe Kubert (1926-2012). My no.1 hero of comic art, best kmown for the 'Sgt Rock' comics. He started his own school of comics and graphic art in Dover, New Jersey, now just called The Kubert School. It has to be said that most of the alumni are men. As a teenager I dreamed of running away to beg at the door of his school, clean the floors in exchange for tuition!

Berni Wrightson (1948-2017). Best known as the first artist of the 'Swamp Thing' comic. But try and see his illustrations to 'Frankenstein'. 

"Mobius" , Jean Giraud (1938-2012) Possibly the greatest sf comic artist. Try  and see the 'Airtight Garage' comics.

Posy Simmonds (b.1945 - now 74)  Guardian cartoonist famous for her dysfunctional middle class families. Her ' Tamara Drewe' was made into a film.

Spitting Image. British TV puppets lampooning politicians in the 80s. They were so grotesque they were likeable, and politicians paid large sums to own 'their' puppets!

David Hockney  ( b. 1937) and 'Banksy' (b. 1974). Both are national treasures, to me more so because of their irreverent attitude to the art establishment. Both have always done exactly as they liked, used different media, and used their art to reach people who wouldn't normally go to art galleries. Banksy's latest work, donated to Southampton Grneral Hospital (May 2020)is very Norman Rockwell- like.

Mike Mignola (b. 1960). Best known as the main 'Hellboy' comic artist, but really try and see anything by him. He shares with Kubert and Mobius a deceptively simple style with nothing out of place, like japanese paintings.

Burne Hogarth (1911-1996). As a Tarzan fan, I naturally discovered Hogarth. Again he seems to be heavily influenced by Arthur Rackham.

Matt - Matthew Pritchett (b. 1964). Matt has had his pocket cartoons on the front page of the Daily Telegraph for over 30 years. I admire him for the simple but pertinent jokes, the sparse drawings, the lack of any abuse, and the gentle piss-taking of the newspaper's own readership. He is the only national cartoonist on the front page of a paper, and is considered so important that his cartoons are referred to in the BBC's daily round up of 'what the papers say'.

Tom Keating (1917-1984). Fooled the art world for years with his pastiches of famous paintings. He claimed they were not forgeries because he always added his own signature. Had a series on Channel 4 TV, demonstrating how to paint Old Masters. " This week we're going to paint ' The Hay Wain' from the other side of the pond". Marvellous!


the great Eric Hebborn (1934 - 1996- murdered ) There is  a TV drama series planned based on his flamboyant life and mysterious death. His book 'Drawn to Trouble' is a poignant memoir and an expose of the corruption in the Art trade.