Happy 90th Birthday, Ronald Searle! Happy 90th Birthday, Ronald Searle!

Happy 90th Birthday, Ronald Searle!

Ronald Searle and Walt
Ronald Searle with Walt Disney. Click for bigger version

Happy birthday to Ronald Searle, one of the true legends of 20th (and now 21st) century cartooning and illustration. His artwork is the first thing that greets visitors to my pad, which should give some clue as to how highly I revere his work. In addition to his print work, he’s worked on numerous animation projects throughout his career including Energetically Yours and Dick Deadeye, and has indirectly been responsible for the look of countless other works of animation, most notably Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. My pal Matt Jones has been posting lots of birthday celebration news on the Ronald Searle blog.

Here’s a new interview with Searle on the occasion of his birthday:

  • ovi

    so THATS the secret huh?

    and all this time i thought it was practice and hard work.


    ive been doing this all wrong.

    happy birthday RS!

  • mick

    All hail the big man! An all round good fellow by all accounts.
    A wee report for the lad when they should have a statue of him.
    Wake up England, it is fellas like this being largely ignored and the wonderful buildings being demolished every day that contribute to the descent we find ourselves on

    i will certainly be down to the exhibition and then draw some pictures with a glass of bubbly

    Happy Birthday Mr Searle

  • Toby Prince

    Thanks for the post. I love Searle’s artwork. His artwork is also the first thing that greets visitors at my home. It is good to see that he seems to be in quite good health for his age and also doesn’t mind a drink from the looks of things.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    He influenced everybody – on both sides of the pond – from Erich Sokol to Chuck Jones to Gerald Scarfe. (Deduce, You Say is practically a valentine to Searle.) Happy 90th birthday, you ol’ Ãœbermensch!

  • When was a kid, I was terrified by the artwork of Ronald Searle (and Arnold Roth) but now he’s one of my favorites. I guess I’ve learned SOMETHING over the years, huh?

  • It was a drawing of an earless, dumpy dolt, unshaven and about to brush his teeth, and from out of the scummy bathroom sinkwater rises the arm and sword of The Lady of the Lake!

    You never forget your first Searle!

    Happy Birthday, sir.

  • One of my favourite artists. It’s good to see him still getting recognition, and it’s really nice to get to see his early art, before his amazing style had kicked in.

  • Kate

    I picked up a copy of his St. Trinian’s cartoons by chance last year when I was perusing around Strand and the cover caught my eye. Where have these girls been all my life?!

    A very merry birthday to himself and my eternal thanks! :)

  • optimist

    Brilliant man, a genius…we’re so lucky to have him with us. Happy birthday!

    What’s the story behind the gag shot with Walt?

  • Bill Field

    He’s so brilliant and affable, I wonder why this was his first TV interview in 35 years? He never shyed from radio interviews, ironic he is a visual artist that seemingly consigned himself to an audio-only medium! Happy 90th you surly-er- SEARLEy bastard! I’m kidding, of course…not about the birthday part.

  • Nice one Amid! I’ll be doing my presentation on Searle’s work in animation & film title graphics at the Cartoon Museum in London on March 30th.


  • cliffclaven

    Remember seeing Dick Deadeye ages ago. Designed by Searle, directed by Bill Melendez, and a frustrating misfire. The character designs were great (you can still find a storybook illustrated with art from the film), and the animation, while on the limited side, worked. It was a bizarre sendup of Gilbert & Sullivan, throwing together characters and songs from nearly all the operettas with Dick Deadeye (the villain from HMS Pinafore) sent in pursuit of an evil sorcerer, pirates and what have you.

    Budget woes? Short schedule? Felt like either a good TV special stretched too far or a clever movie not quite finished.

  • bob kurtz


  • Lee

    Great clip, I missed it the other day so thanks for posting this up!

  • I remember photocopying Dick Deadeye model sheets and pinning them on my desk at school, waaaaay back. I can’t believe how Ronalds work influenced me, even that far back.

    Now i own many of his books. His drawing style is amazing.

    Happiest of birthdays Mr. Searle! You’re a huge influence on my work.

  • Lyle

    that guy is the coolest man on earth! Happy Birthday Mr. Ronald Searle

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78L_v3_ufQ0&feature=related

    John Lennon mentions his liking of Ronald Searle at about 4:50 of this interview.

    just thought it was kind of cool

  • I grew up reading this guys books, I love them along with
    M sasek and gerald scarfe and paul sample. It made me want to become an illustrator. champagne must be keeping his arteries clear