Born in Hindhead, Surrey, on 23 February 1938, Colin Wheeler studied at Farnham School of Art from 1954 to 1958, and at the RA Schools from 1958 to 1961. From 1961 to 1963 he was assistant lecturer at Bolton College of Art then High Wycombe College of Art, after which he held a number of part-time teaching jobs in London. His first published cartoon appeared in the Times Educational Supplement in 1966, and he admitted later that "I hit lucky first time." After that he "just sort of drifted into it": "It took me ages to accept that I could actually earn a living at it."
Wheeler has worked freelance for Private Eye, the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, New Scientist, Times Educational Supplement, and The Teacher, others, and has also contributed editorial cartoons to the Independent on Sunday. From 1986 to 1998 he produced the daily front-page pocket cartoon for the Independent, and also wrote a number of articles, reviews, etc., for the paper - as well as for the Daily Telegraph and others - on architecture, painting and sculpture.
In his pocket cartoons Wheeler never uses pencil, but for his larger political drawings he uses a lot of cross-hatching and graphite pencil rather than mechanical tints.
- Simon Evans "How to Draw Cartoons", The Independent, 14 November 1995, p.20.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.238.
- Michael Heath "How to Draw Fiends and Influence People", The Independent, 13 December 2004, pp.20-1.
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