'Paper Cap', from the Daily Express (21 May 1921).

Tom Cottrell was a British cartoonist and illustrator, who worked for several newspapers and magazines in the first half of the 20th century. He also published under the pseudonyms 'S. Seymour' and 'Jolly'. As a comic artist he drew 'Paper Cap' (1921), a children's comic for The Daily Express. 

Early life
He was born in 1890 in South Mimms, Herfordshire. The family moved to Sheffield where father Charles Henry Cottrell got a job as Party Agent for the Conservative Party. Tom dropped out of school at age fourteen, and became an engineering apprentice with Linotype, assembling and maintaining printing machinery. He later became an illustrator with the Sheffield Telegraph.

Daily Express
By the time he served in the armed forces during World War I, he was selling his cartoons to Punch and the military papers Sea-Pie Magazine (founded to raise funds for authorised naval charities) and Blighty. After the war, he became a lobby correspondent and press cartoonist with the Beaverbrook group of newspapers, which notably included the Daily Express. For this paper, he made the picture story 'Paper Cap', about a gnome-like character who wore a cap made out of a Daily Express. The serial ran from 2 May and 21 June 1921, during a gap between two stories of Mary Tourtel's 'Rupert Bear'.


Sequential cartoon for Sea-Pie (June 1917).

Cartooning work
Cottrell also made political cartoons, like a drawing of the new cabinet in 1924 with Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister and Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Cottrell's drawings appeared in the Evening Standard and the Sunday Express, but he also took assignments for spot illustrations, book jackets and advertisements. In 1929, he, for instance, made a set of cigarette cards with fifty notable British Members of Parliament, in commission of the tobacco company Carreras. He also freelanced for magazines such as London Life to Farmers Weekly, sometimes using the signature "S. Seymour". Under the name "Jolly", he illustrated several seaside postcards.

Blighty
In 1939 he joined the editorial board of the military magazine Blighty, which had just been relaunched because of the mobilization in the wake of World War II. He remained involved in the magazine's production after the war, when it was rebranded to "Blighty: The National Humorous Magazine". The artist was however disappointed by the new, American style of cartooning, where the traditional pen-and-ink and wash drawings were replaced by simple, easily cranked-out gags.

Later work
In the late 1940s, Tom Cottrell's work entirely filled the pages of Flag Comic, Kracker Comic and Pillar Box, three short-lived comic books published by Reynard Press and Atlas Publishing. Cottrell continued to make cartoons until the late 1950s. He passed away in his hometown Bexhill-on-Sea in 1969.


Kracker Comic #5, presumably with artwork by Cottrell?

Series and books by Tom Cottrell in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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