Robert Thompson was born in Burton Pidsea, Yorkshire, on 21 July 1960, the son of Wildon Thompson, a groundsman. He was educated at Withernsea High School, Yorkshire, and Hull College of Further Education - his first published cartoon appearing in the Hull Star in 1979. From 1979 to 1982 Thompson studied illustration at Leeds Polytechnic, graduating with a First Class Honours degree.
In 1983 Thompson became Art Editor, and later Art Director, of Camden Graphics, producing greeting cards and paper products. While working for the company he freelanced cartoons for Private Eye and the Spectator, and in 1994 became a full time freelance cartoonist. Since then his editorial cartoons and cartoon illustrations have appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, Observer, Business, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent, New Statesman, Spectator, Private Eye, Punch, and Oldie. "The Guardian and The Observer are my bread and butter" he noted in 2004: "Like most cartoonists I try and keep my work as high profile as possible, in places like The Spectator and Private Eye. That's your shop window; it's important to be seen in the right places."
As a cartoon illustrator, Thompson is also a regular contributor to BBC On Air, Reader's Digest, and Saga magazines. He has also contributed ideas for ITV's cartoon animation series 2DTV. In addition, Thompson's illustration work has featured in business publications produced by the Institute of Directors, and Caspian Publishing and in advertising campaigns by Book Club Associates, the AA, and Cote du Rhone Wines. He usually draws in pen and ink.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.224.
- Michael Heath "How to Draw Fiends and Influence People", The Independent, 13 December 2004, pp.20-1.