British Cartoon Archive


Graham High was born in Dundee, Scotland, on 27 March 1957. He studied drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1975 to 1979, and won a travelling scholarship to the USA in 1980.

In 1987 High became political cartoonist on the Scotsman. An admirer of Daumier, Steadman and Emilio Coia, he works with a brush and acrylic ink on cartridge paper, balancing strong areas of black with fine lines and white space. As he explained in 1996, his Scotsman cartoons concentrate "on one of the top two stories of the day": "In an average day I catch the news at lunchtime. I phone up the newsdesk just to make sure there's nothing that I wasn't aware of and then I crack into a drawing. I start about one and mostly go in with the brush straight away. I don't usually use pencil because if the main story changes then you have to be able to respond to it very quickly. I tend to get the finished work into the newspaper by about seven o'clock. You get used to the pressure but it is quite intense sometimes."

Graham High is also a keen jazz guitarist and composer who performs regularly in Scotland. In 1995 he recorded with Indian fusion group "Looking East". In 1996 he was co-founder of the Rogues' Gallery, Edinburgh, which exhibited work by many British cartoonists. In the same year he began drawing covers for the Scottish Business Insider, and in 1998 he was voted Cartoonist of the Year in the Bank of Scotland Press Awards. His attitude to cartooning is that the political cartoonist is "an artist responding to a moment in time".

Beatrice Colin "High ground", The Scotsman, 1 June 1996, p.19.

Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.110.

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