Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ronald Searle 1920-2012

One of my heroes has died. Ronald Searle was 91 years old so his passing isn't a shock but it is still a sadness. I believe he is the greatest cartoonist that the world has ever produced, capable of producing such enchantment, wit, animation, joy and wisdom in a simple drawing that he should be held up with all the other greats from the history of art.

He's going to be fundamentally remembered and talked about in the context of St. Trinian's, but of course he produced so much more. Magical illustrations, reportage and travelogues. Pictures of stars of stage and screen. Magnificent, understanding, pictures of animals. You could spend many far less profitable hours than the ones you could devote to looking through the pictures on this magnificent tribute site.

More or less every single cartoonist and graphic artist from his professional emergence in the1940s up to the present day - and beyond, believe me it will be and beyond - has been influenced by him, whether or not they even know it. Many of his more overt disciples have gone on to become some of the most respected names in the industry of their own right - Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman and Matt Groening among their number.

I hope that the countless tributes Searle's passing will produce are copiously illustrated with his work. They represent the very definition of a celebration of life. Both his and ours. Today I feel sadness but also the most enormous sense of gratitude and wonder. The latter two will always remain.

Like everybody who has ever lifted a pencil to try and draw a picture from the 20th Century onward, I owe him more than I can ever say.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my collection, I have a Scarfe, some Steadmans, a Quentin Blake, a Nick Park and a Dotmund. I don't have one from a man who influenced most if not all the aforementioned: Ronald Searle.

His passing is sad indeed.

Mungolina said...

Don't look at the Telegraph's "life in pictures" then... several pics of the man himself, a Trinians cartoon, a Molesworth cartoon and 3,567 pictures of stills from the Trinians films.
#fittingtribute

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