David Myers was born in London on 8 December 1925, the son of Sidney Myers, a civil engineer, and his wife Annie. Called up in 1944, he served in the Royal Fusiliers, and became engaged to an ATS girl. However, he decided not to marry until he had completed his studies. After demobilisation in 1947 he spent a year at the Sir John Cass Art School, and then, from 1949 to 1951, attended the St Martin's School of Art. While still at St Martin's he managed to get a job as Osbert Lancaster's holiday understudy on the Daily Express. However, as Myers later admitted, the pressure of daily cartooning caused panic, and every night he would "race to the Daily Telegraph next door" and ring his father from the foyer telephone kiosk. They would then work up a cartoon idea together.
Myers' fiancee then moved to Australia, and he followed. They were married in Melbourne, where he worked from 1951 to 1952 as pocket cartoonist on the Melbourne Argus. In 1952 he went freelance. He returned to London, and in 1965 got a five-year contract as editorial cartoonist on the Evening News. In 1966 he was voted CCGB Social and Political Cartoonist of the Year, but came under pressure from the Evening News to harden his style, in order to be more of a rival for Jak - Raymond Jackson - the new cartoonist of the Evening Standard. "I didn't want to be Jak", he complained afterwards: "I wanted to be me. They wanted Jak's hard line and use of solid blacks. Not my style at all."
Myers also found his political views being censored at the Evening News. In April 1968 he fell out with the editorial staff over a cartoon attacking Enoch Powell. In response to Powell's infamous "rivers of blood" speech, attacking coloured immigrants, Myers had drawn a cartoon of the single word "Powell", with a pair of jackboots forming the last two letters. The Evening News refused to carry it, and published another Myers cartoon showing Powell as a boiled egg, cracked open to let the racist television character Alf Garnett climb out.
In February 1969 Myers resigned from his contract, and returned to freelance work, designing greetings cards, working on animated cartoons, and contributing drawings to Punch (including covers), The People, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Sketch, and Daily Star. Myers worked from his home outside London. "I go up to London occasionally," he noted in 1977, "but it's easy to feel out of touch, to feel that you're drawing for an audience you have no contact with...You tend to live for the sound of the envelopes coming through the letterbox and hoping they're acceptances." He wrote scripts for Dave Allen, Tommy Cooper and Leslie Crowther, and in 1987 he devised and wrote the BBC TV children's series Sebastian the Incredible Drawing Dog.
David Myers used Rexel Script pen nibs and Winsor & Newton indian ink on paper. "I never work with pencil roughs", he observed in 1977: "I start work straight away with a pen, and if it doesn't show signs of going well I tear it all up and start again." David Myers died at Caterham, Surrey, on 16 June 2007.
- Ian J. Scott (ed) British Cartoonists Year Book 1964 (London, 1963), p.7.
- Bill Grundy "Grundy's Cartoonists 8: Who is David Myers?", Punch, 7 September 1977, pp.400-401.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.162.
- Mark Bryant “David Myers - Award-winning joke cartoonist”, The Independent, 21 June 2007.
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