Patrick Blower was born in Brussels on 10 January 1959, the son of Michael Blower, an English architect. Educated at Farnham Grammar School from 1970 to 1977, Blower studied English literature at University College, London, from 1978 to 1981. He then spent two years in New York, from 1982 to 1984, "trying to make it as an artist" whilst working in a variety of jobs including painter and decorator, art-gallery attendant, plasterer and snack-bar worker. Twice rejected by art schools, Blower is self-taught, and his first cartoon was published in the New York East Village Eye in 1983.
In 1984 Blower moved back to London and worked in advertising sales, TV production and as a painter, before turning freelance cartoonist in 1986, publishing in trade magazines such as the Local Government Chronicle. He contributed his first pocket cartoons to the Independent in 1992, and became pocket cartoonist on the Financial Mail on Sunday from 1994 to 1999. In December 1996 Blower also began contributing to the Evening Standard, and on Jak's death in July 1997 he succeeded him as the Evening Standard's political cartoonist. As Blower commented, his many years in London meant that "I know the readership inside out."
Blower has also worked for the Daily Express - contributing the daily "On This Day" cartoon from 1993 to 1995, Total Football, Punch and Spectator. Blower works in most media from pen and ink to computer. Asked in 1999 to describe his best moment, he explained that it was "when you do a cartoon and everyone comes up and says it's really good": "Then someone phones up to buy the original, loads of other people call up, you sell them prints and you make lots of money."
Blower left the Evening Standard in September 2003. He subsequently began to experiment with animated political cartooning, and in September 2007 launched "Livedraw", which he described as "a rapid response, animated cartoon". Here the cartoon develops on the screen as viewers watch, and Blower was commissioned to provide these animated political cartoons and illustrations for the BBC Ten O’Clock News and Newsnight, as well as for The Guardian website in a series that ran until June 2011.
- Sheryl Simms "Personal File", Evening Standard, 16 August 1999, p.4.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.30.
- Patrick Blower's website at www.patrickblower.com
- Livedraw archive at www.livedraw.co.uk/archive.html
- Guardian Livedraw archive www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/patrick-blowers-livedraw