British Cartoon Archive


Christopher Williams was born in the Wirral, Cheshire, on 30 December 1951, the son of Aubrey Williams, a local government officer. His nickname "Kipper" came from a childhood pronunciation of "Christopher." As he later recalled, he "moved to Chester at the age of three and spent much of his childhood drawing cowboys and footballers." He attended Ellesmere Port Grammar School, and from 1970 to 1974 studied fine art at Leeds University, where, he remembered, "cartoons were my reaction against traditional fine art and painting." At Leeds he was a friend of Steve Bell.

Williams drew cartoons for Leeds Student magazine, publishing his first collection of cartoons in 1973 and winning a New Statesman/NUS Student Journalist Competition in the following year. In 1974 he went to the Royal College of Art, where he wrote a thesis on Pop Art. On graduating in 1976 he became a full-time cartoonist, observing soon afterwards that "academics may frown on cartoons, but I love their immediacy, and they are public - unlike my paintings, which are gathering dust somewhere." He became a contributor to New Society, New Statesman, Private Eye, Radio Times, European, Top of the Pops Magazine, Punch, Euromoney, Spectator, Smash Hits, Honey, and Nursing Times. When his friend Steve Bell turned freelance in 1977, Williams encouraged him with suggestions and contacts.

In 1980 Williams confessed of his cartooning that "I like doing the cruel, twisted, bitchy ones best, but you can't get away with much of that. I was involved in a magazine called Duck Soup, started by two friends of mine, for the stuff others wouldn't touch, an exercise in sick humour, but it's in limbo at the moment." In 1983 he created the strip "The Lady and the Wimp" for Time Out, and in 1991 began drawing a daily cartoon for the Guardian's finance pages. In 1992 Williams created the strips "Pile 'em High" for the Sunday Times and "Eurocats" for the Guardian. "I wouldn't call myself a political cartoonist," he noted in 2004, "but I draw Tony Blair occasionally."

Williams cites his most important influences as his contemporaries, including Bill Tidy, Ralph Steadman, and Posy Simmonds. He prefers to work with a Goode steel-nib pen and black Rotring ink, using Dr Martin's inks for colour work.

  • CSCC Archive, cutting from Honey Magazine, April 1980.
  • Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.242.
  • Michael Heath "How to Draw Fiends and Influence People", The Independent, 13 December 2004, pp.20-1.



1 uncatalogued original



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