DAVID MYERS ; Award-Winning Joke Cartoonist

Article excerpt

Although he first made his name as a political cartoonist working for the Evening News the 1960s, David Myers was perhaps best known as a highly successful and award-winning freelance joke cartoonist, advertising artist and greetings-card designer. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, he drew more than 30,000 cartoons for Punch and other publications, devised and wrote the popular BBC TV chil- dren's series Sebastian the Incredible Drawing Dog and produced scripts for such celebrated comedians as Tommy Cooper and Dave Allen.

David Myers was born in Stoke Newington, north London in 1925. The eldest son of Sidney Myers, a civil engineer, and his wife Annie, David had a twin brother, Geoffrey (eight minutes younger than him), and a younger brother, Michael. After school in Neasden, he served in the Army (1944-47), first in the Royal Fusiliers and later in the Education Corps, where he taught art and achieved the rank of sergeant. While stationed at Shorncliff Barracks, in Kent, he met his future wife, Joy Langley, who was serving in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service).

After demobilisation he returned to London and on an Army grant studied at the Sir John Cass Art School (1947-48) and the St Martin's School of Art (1949-51). While still a student at St Martin's, he got a job as holiday understudy for Osbert Lancaster, the pocket cartoonist on the Daily Express. However, he had to work hard to fill the great man's shoes - each night he would race to the offices of The Daily Telegraph next door, ring his father from the phone kiosk in the foyer and together they would work up a cartoon idea for the next day's issue.

When Joy, by then his fiancee, moved to Australia in 1951, he followed soon afterwards and got a job working as daily pocket cartoonist on the Melbourne Argus (1951-52). Married that October, to make ends meet Myers even drew jokes for the paper while he was on honeymoon.

In 1952 the couple returned to London and Myers worked at first in the timber trade, as a salesman and as a freelance cartoonist (contributing to Lilliput, Tit-Bits, the Daily Sketch and others) before becoming daily editorial cartoonist on the Evening News (1965- 68), taking over from Joe Lee. However, before long he was asked to draw in the style of Jak (Raymond Jackson), editorial cartoonist on the rival Evening Standard. …