British Cartoon Archive


Alex Noel Watson was born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, on 2 December 1929, the son of Alex Grant Watson, a journalist, photographer and crossword compiler, and his wife Isa, also a journalist. Watson's first cartoon was published in the Glasgow Sunday Mail in 1947, and in the following year he went to study graphic and commercial art at the Glasgow School of Art, moving in 1952 to Jordanhill Training College. Watson left Jordanhill in 1953, and from 1954 to 1956 spent his National Service in the Royal Army Educational Corps. In 1955 Watson began work as a freelance cartoonist for the Hereford Times, contributing "Watson's Wisecracks."

On leaving the army in 1956 Watson became an art teacher in Croydon, but left in 1963. In 1965 he joined the Croydon Advertiser group of newspapers as a staff cartoonist, while still contributing freelance cartoons to other publications, specializing in religious and business jokes. His series for the Hereford Times ended in 1970, and he left the Croydon Advertiser group in 1978, but his work has appeared in the Evening Standard, Daily Sketch, Weekend, Tit-Bits, Sunday Citizen, John O' London's, Time & Tide, Spectator, Daily Telegraph, Punch, New Society, Life & Work - twenty years), Methodist Recorder - since 1965, Daily Express, Daily Star, Financial Weekly, Sunday Times, Private Eye, Presbyterian Record (Canada) - twenty years, New Yorker, New York Times, Toronto Star, Croc and elsewhere.

Watson has lectured on cartoon art to various societies and on CBC Radio in Canada. He has also designed book covers, worked as a film critic and feature writer and, since 1965, has written travel articles for the Toronto Star. Watson works mostly on Ivrex Board in pen and ink, sometimes also with wash or watercolour, and cites his influences as being the artists of the New Yorker, notably its former Art Editor Lee Lorenz.

  • Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.233-4.
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