British Cartoon Archive


Gary Smith was born in Portsmouth on 5 December 1963 and is self-taught as a cartoonist. As he later recalled, "I liked to draw faces at school and was always getting into trouble because I'd drawn my teachers' likeness in the margins of my exercise book": "Even the art teacher...said I was wasting my time drawing faces, so I was amazed when at the age of eighteen the local Portsmouth paper started me off by not only publishing my work, but paying me money."

Smith concentrated on caricatures of people in the arts - especially theatre and film, plus illustrations for book reviews, and his work has appeared in the Daily Mirror (from 1982 to 1987), London Daily News (1987), International Herald-Tribune (from 1989 to 1991), Sunday Times (from 1983), Daily Mail (from 1987) and Radio Times (from 1989). He has also contributed to Vogue, Tatler, Elle, Today and Punch and designed covers for books by Keith Waterhouse and others. Smith held his first first one-man show in London in 1987.

Influenced by Hirschfeld, Covarrubias, Don Bevan, Nerman and Sherriffs, Smith works with brush and ink or - for colour - brush and gouache on paper. However, he admitted in 1989 that "I don't think colour helps my work too much - I much prefer black and white, it has so much more impact." For caricatures he uses the photographic libraries of the paper for which he is working, after developing the idea. Smith was voted Caricaturist of the Year in the 1999 Cartoon Art Trust Awards.


  • The Times, 7 February 1987, “The Week Ahead: Galleries”.
  • Peter Maddocks Caricature and the Cartoonist (Elm Tree Books, London, 1989), "Gary."
  • Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.209-10.
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