Born in Humberstone, Leicestershire, on 22 April 1940, Ed McLachlan attended Wyggeston Grammar School and, from 1956 to 1959, Leicester College of Art. In 1961 he sent a scrapbook of cartoons to Punch, and they bought one for seven guineas. McLachlan remembered thinking "Seven guineas for an hour's work? Gee, there's got to be something wrong here." Three weeks later, when they took seven cartoons, he decided he must be a cartoonist. He became a regular contributor to Punch, including covers.
McLachlan went freelance in 1965, recalling that "I built up my work through making myself a nuisance, banging on agencies' doors - persistence, really." In 1966 he began drawing a series of political cartoons for the Sunday Mirror, under the heading "McLachlan's View". In 1967 he also began contributing to Private Eye, and from 1967 to 1970 he was a lecturer in graphics at Leicester College of Art. When his Sunday Mirror series ended in 1970, he transferred to the London Evening Standard as political cartoonist. In 1972 he began drawing a series of pocket cartoons for the Daily Mirror, entitled "Insiders", which lasted until 1974.
McLachlan's cartoons have also appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, Spectator, Mail on Sunday, Investor's Chronicle, New Statesman, Stern, Tomorrow (Sweden), Playboy, and Ad Weekly. He has also worked for several book publishers, has drawn for advertising, and , designed and written more than three hundred commercial advertising films, for firms including Dunlop, Renault Cars, Alka Seltzer, Hamlet, and BASF. In 1969 he wrote and illustrated the children's book Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, which was very popular and became the first of a series.
In 1980 McLachlan was voted CCGB Illustrative Cartoonist of the Year, followed by Advertising Cartoonist of the Year in 1981, and in 1997 CAT voted him Gag Cartoonist of the Year. In addition he wrote and designed the ITV series Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings and designed Bangers and Mash for the same company. He draws on Oram & Robinson Board or paper and his favoured medium is inks and wash. Wally Fawkes has called him "the cartoonist's cartoonist".
- Brian Case "I ink therefore I am", Time Out, 10 October 2001, p.66.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.146-7.
310 uncatalogued originals [EM0001 - 0310] (1972 - 4)
80 uncatalogued originals [PU0930 - 1009]
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