Jim Turnbull was born in 1930 in Maryhill, Glasgow, near Partick Thistle's Firhill football ground. The son of a railway worker, he trained at first as a lithographic artist with Millar & Laing, SCWS and Collins. He then attended Stow College - where he twice won medals - and took evening classes in art at Glasgow and Guildford Shools of Art.
In 1960, after National Service with the Army in the Middle East, Turnbull went freelance. He worked for IPC, Hamlyn, and D.C.Thomson, who employed him to draw the Pinky and Perky and Freddie Frog cartoons for their Playhour comic. Turnbull later spent four years as political cartoonist of the Scottish Daily Record, and in 1969 contributed his first political cartoon to the Glasgow Herald. From 1975 he drew both humorous and political cartoons for the Herald, becoming well known after the abortive 1979 referendum on devolution, by portraying the Scottish people as a lion in a cage with an open door. As the paper's editor, Alan Jenkins, later recalled, "When you mention Jim Turnbull, that image of the lion is what springs to mind."
Jim Turnbull died in January 2005, at the age of seventy-four.
- Robbie Dinwoodie "Jim Turnbull, the Herald cartoonist, dies at 74", Glasgow Herald, 15 January 2005, p.6.