Alumni

UAL alumni include Posy Simmonds (Tamara Drewe – winner of the Grand Prix 2009 de la Critique Bande Dessiné, Gemma Bovery, Angoulême Grand Jury President 2017), Brian Bolland (Judge Dredd, Batman), Matt (spot cartoonist for the Daily Telegraph), Raymond Briggs (The Snowman, When the Wind Blows), Laurence Campbell (Wolverine, Punisher), Ralph Steadman (‘gonzo’ cartoonist), Gerald Scarfe (editorial cartoonist for The Sunday Times and The New Yorker), Grace Wilson (Saving Grace), Quentin Blake (Matilda), Simon Grennan (Dispossession), Peter Brookes (leader page cartoonist, The Times), Rachael House (pioneering LGBTQ cartoonist), Luella Jane Wright, Andrzej Klimowski, Chris Long, Pen Mendonça, John Miers, Mike Nicholson, Chris Rainbow, Judy Walker, Steve Whitaker. See below for further information on some of our most notable alumni.

Posy Simmonds
Studied at the Central School from 1964-68. Thereafter she made her name in newspaper cartooning, especially her acclaimed satire on middle-class leftist values ‘The Webers’ in The Guardian (in which a few characters looked distinctly like Central tutors). She then turned to children’s book illustration. In the 1990s and 2000s, her best-known works were adult graphic novels, in particular Gemma Bovery, a reworking of Flaubert’s classic as a modern tale of personal politics versus lust. Through her career, Simmonds has won many awards, topped off in 2002 by one of the UK’s most prestigious honours, an MBE.

Rachael House
Pioneering small press cartoonist, influenced by punk and LGBTQ+ politics. Studied Fine Art at St Martins (2001-2004) with a Masters at Camberwell (2009-11). Her comics are often autobiographical, and her humorous zines, like Red Hanky Panky, demonstrate that a DIY attitude can be a statement in itself. They have led on to her being featured in numerous exhibitions, including a retrospective in 2009.  She is Co-director and curator of ‘Space Station Sixty-Five’, an artist-run space.

Mel Calman
Studied at St Martins (1951-53) and became a ‘pocket’ gag cartoonist for the national papers. His career, spanning the late 1950s to his death in 1994, took in the Daily Express, Sunday Telegraph, Observer, the Sunday Times and The Times; as well as illustrating books and writing plays. His gags about relationships sometimes had an edge, as the title to one of his book collections attests: ‘How about a little quarrel before bed?’. In 1970 he founded The Cartoon Gallery, which contributed enormously to raising the stock of the cartooning profession.

Alfred Bestall
Studied illustration at Central (1919-22) and joined a growing throng of post-WW1 graphic satirists. His early drawing style involved detailed cross-hatching, and was popular at Punch, and he went on to contribute to Eve, Gaiety, Piccadilly and Tatler. In 1935 he moved away from satire, and took over ‘Rupert Bear’, at the Daily Express, where he would stay for three decades. Rupert, along with his pals Edward Trunk, Bill Badger et al, constituted the longest-lived children’s strip in the UK, not to mention one of the best-loved. Bestall was awarded an MBE in 1965.

Sue Coe
Studied at Chelsea (1968-70) and thereafter became known for her socially-engaged illustration and comics work. Topics for visual essays have included apartheid, the AIDS crisis, abuse in prisons, and animal rights. Having moved to the USA, her early work appeared in The New York Times Magazine and the newspaper’s op-ed page. In the 1980s, her work for RAW books announced her to a new audience, and her appearances in left-field comics anthologies such as World War 3 Illustrated and Blab! have been frequent. Her art world profile blossomed in parallel, and she has been the subject of a number of highly acclaimed solo shows.

Charles Peattie
Studied fine art at St Martins (1977-80) and went on to co-create ‘Alex’, a 20-something merchant banker (!) who first appeared in 1987 at the height of the yuppie phenomenon, and who thrived in the pages of The Independent and then The Daily Telegraph. His other co-creation, ‘Celeb’, a satire on the diminishing celebrity status of an ageing rock star, debuted in Private Eye in 1987 and was later made into a TV series starring Harry Enfield.

Matthew Pritchett (‘Matt’)
Studied graphics at St Martins (1983-86) and has been the Daily Telegraph’s pocket cartoonist since 1988. His eye for the personal ramifications of political decisions, and his simple, direct, drawing style, have marked him out as the most talented cartoonist of his kind since Mel Calman, and he has said that the discipline and craft he learned at St Martins has stayed with him. He was awarded an MBE in 2002.

Raymond Briggs
Studied at Wimbledon (1949-53) and later the Central School, thereafter becoming a vastly popular illustrator, graphic novelist, and author, among both adult and children’s audiences. Kids’ books have included: Father Christmas (1973), Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), The Snowman (1978), Gentleman Jim (1980) Ug (2001) and Ivor the Invisible (2001). In 1982, he created the adult graphic novel When the Wind Blows, about an ageing couple attempting to survive a nuclear war. He followed it with Ethel & Ernest (1998), which relates the story of his parents’ lives in the Second World War.

Quentin Blake
Studied at Chelsea and Camberwell in the late 1950s, and regularly contributed to Punch. Since then he has gone on to illustrate more than 300 children’s books, collaborating with many of the best-loved children’s storytellers including Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen and more recently David Walliams, with whom he has brought characters such as ‘Gangsta Granny’ to life). However, it is as Roald Dahl’s illustrator that Blake will be remembered. He illustrated 18 of Dahl’s works, creating iconic images for some of his most famous creations including Matilda and the BFG. He was knighted in 2013.

Ralph Steadman
Studied at the London College of Printing in the 1960s, and started his career on satirical magazines, including Private Eye. He moved to the United States in 1970, where he began his collaboration with notoriously difficult journalist Hunter S.Thompson. Steadman’s splattery, violent ink drawings would complement Thompson’s equally uncompromising prose, and together they came up with what would become known as ‘gonzo journalism’. His illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas remain his best-known work, though he has also done comic strips, album covers, and various other illustrational work.

Gerald Scarfe
Studied life drawing at St Martins in the early 1960s and went on to be one of Private Eye’s most distinctive cartoonists. His 11 cover illustrations stamped a graphic identity on the magazine (labelled ‘grotesque’ by many commentators), and caused no small amount of controversy. His cover for the 1963 Private Eye annual was banned by the four largest book wholesalers (including WH Smith). He went on to contribute to mainstream newspapers (notably The Sunday Times) and American publications like Time and The New Yorker. There is now a themed ‘Scarfe bar’ in London, near to UAL’s High Holborn HQ.

Brian Bolland
Studied for a one-year postgraduate qualification in graphic design at Central (1973-74). His meticulous line made him a minor star of the underground before moving on to boys’ adventure comics. His work for the science fiction weekly 2000AD catapulted him into the premier league of creators – especially for his version of Judge Dredd – and thereafter he was headhunted by the major American companies and became part of the ‘British invasion’ that helped revitalize the US industry in the 1980s and 90s. Today, his artwork featuring characters such as Batman and Wonder Woman fetches tens of thousands of dollars.

Peter Brookes
Studied graphic design at Central (1966-69), and became one of the most revered political satirists in the business – particularly for his work in the Thatcher years. His first job was an illustration for the Radio Times, based on a student project at Central. Then he began freelancing for the underground press (Oz and Frendz), and later political publications like New Statesman before he became ‘Political Cartoonist’ for The Times. His skewering of politicians tends to reveal personal politics that are to the left of the Times’ editorial position, and he is known today for his colour work. In 2016, he was made a CBE.

Grace Wilson
Studied Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins (2004-08), and later completed an MFA in Storytelling at Konstfack College of Art & Design in Stockholm. She is a comic artist, illustrator and ceramicist, currently based in Edinburgh. Saving Grace (2016), her hilarious memoir about being young during a housing crisis, was published by the UK’s leading graphic novel publisher Jonathan Cape, and she regularly contributes to international zines and comic anthologies such as Mould Map, Det Grymma Svärdet, Fierro and We Shall Fight Until We Win, a graphic celebration of the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Laurence Campbell
Studied graphics at CSM (1993-96), and obtained early comics work at American company Caliber Comics, notably on their anthology Negative Burn. He moved on to the British weekly 2000AD, providing art for some of the great characters, including Judge Dredd. Since then, he has become known for his work with Marvel, including characters Deadpool, Wolverine and Punisher. His influences range from mainstream cartoonists (e.g. Brian Bolland) to more alternative figures (e.g. Chris Ware) and this gives his work a particularly exciting flavour.

Judith Walker
Studied Fine Art at St Martins (1974-77) and her cartooning career started when she was Managing Editor of the cult magazine Duck Soup. She later went on to do a cartoon strip for The Sun (1987-90). She was an editorial cartoonist for New Humanist magazine, published by the Rationalist Association (‘promoting rational inquiry and debate based on evidence rather than belief’) between 2006-13. Her cartoons have been exhibited in the Cartoon Museum, notably as part of the group show ‘The Inking Woman’.  She was a Cartoonist in Residence during 2015 at UCL Medical School.

Andy ‘Dog’ Johnson
Studied Illustration at Camberwell in the early 1980s, where, with two friends, he formed the DOG collective, which produced two issues of the oversize comics/illustration zine DOG. This was in part the expression of his belief that comics could benefit from contemporary subcultural influence (punk especially) in contrast to the underground’s obsession with what he saw as hippie aesthetics. A longtime contributor to comics zines, he went on to create the graphic branding for the Some Bizzare [sic] record label.