British Cartoon Archive


Colin Whittock was born in Birmingham on 25 February 1940. Having failed "O" level art at the Central Grammar School, Birmingham, he worked as a shopfitter before turning full-time freelance cartoonist. A self-taught artist, Whittock was an admirer of Terence Parkes ("Larry"), describing him as "the cartoonist's cartoonist", and recalling that "I first met him when we shared an office in Corporation Street [Birmingham] and he was such an influence on me."

In 1969 Whittock became Editorial Cartoonist on the Birmingham Evening Mail, working alongside Bert Hackett, cartoonist on its sister paper the Birmingham Post. As Whittock recalled, "my predecessor on the paper suddenly decided to sell-up...and drive to Australia to seek his fortune in opals": "He left on the Friday, and on the following Monday I left three finished topical cartoons with the commissionaire at the front desk, together with a spiky letter to the editor saying, 'I am going to send you cartoons every day, use them if you like them or spike them if you don't.' I look back and wonder where on earth the idea for that aggressive attack came worked."

Whittock has remained with the Evening Mail, but is also sports cartoonist for the Sunday Mercury. He provides the coloured strip "Kev", which is signed "Andy", as it was originally a project for his son. Whittock has continued to do freelance work for Punch, Daily Mirror, Sun, Daily Sketch, Tit-Bits, Weekend, Reveille, Oldie and Private Eye, and his advertising clients have included TNT, British Telecom, Jaguar, Powergen and Tubes Ltd. Whittock has also produced greetings cards for Rainbow Cards and from 1971 contributed to Whizzer & Chips, taking over from Leo Baxendale to draw "Champ", then drawing "Lazy Bones" and "Miss Marple." This freelance work ended in 1989, when, as he recalled, "comics were on the blink...and mine and many other artists' work fizzled out." His last such work was for the Beano.

Whittock cites his influences as Leo Baxendale, Davy Law and other Beano artists, plus Larry, Bill Tidy, and Giles. He works mostly in pen, ink, and wash, using a dip-in Gillott 303 nib, and sometimes also uses watercolour, although he has a Wacom tablet and often adds colour on the computer. Describing his routine on the Birmingham Evening Mail, Whittock says "I rise at 5.30am and immediately scan the news having done the same the night before": "I then go into Brum [Birmingham] at 7am to my studio and finish my rough ideas. I then present the roughs to my editor and draw the chosen cartoon for my deadline of 8.30am."

  • Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.240.
  • Jane Tyler "Cartoonist 'Larry' Dies," Birmingham Evening Mail, 28 June 2003, p.6.
  • "The Fleetway interviews: Colin Whittock",
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