John Longstaff was born in Darlington, Co. Durham, on 25 June 1949. He studied graphics at Teesside College of Art, and worked in local government before becoming a cartoonist in 1982. Longstaff lives in Darlington, and is resident cartoonist for the Northern Echo, but his work has also appeared in Private Eye, Punch, Brain Damage, Gas, Spectator, The Times Saturday Review, Independent Magazine, Sunday Telegraph, and Literary Review.
In March 2000 Longstaff put the local MP, Alan Milburn, into his Times pocket cartoon for the first time, but complained that "Mr Milburn hasn't got anything you can distort": "I've got as far as giving him a rosette with 'Milburn' written on it...but if he's going to go any further in politics he will have to get something because he can't go through life being nondescript." Influenced by Michael Heath, McLachlan, Matt Pritchett, Searle, Paul Crum, Glashan and Husband, Longstaff mostly draws in black and white but sometimes also adds watercolour for strips.
- Chris Lloyd "Week Gone By", Northern Echo, 1 April 2000, p.9.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.140-1.