Ed McLachlan is a British cartoonist and book illustrator. He is best known for his political cartoons in The Sunday Mirror and The Evening Standard, as well as more general humoristic illustrations in Punch and Private Eye. As a children's book author, he is most famous for the 'Simon in the Land of Chalk' series.

Early life and career
Edward Rolland McLachlan was born in 1940 in Humberton, Leicestershire. Between 1956 and 1961 he studied at Leicester College of Art (nowadays DeMontfort University), while he published some cartoons in Lucifer, the College Rag Magazine. One of his fellow students was Graham Baker, who'd later become a film director, best known for the cult movie 'Alien Nation' (1988). Baker motivated McLachlan to make a career out of his drawing skills. Still, he felt reluctant to follow this advice.

Punch
After graduation in 1961, McLachlan got a job at a local printing company in Leicester. He was also a part-time lecturer in Graphics at his old college for three years. While designing some posters for a local youth center, people once again told him to submit his cartoons to Punch. To persuay him they raised a five pound bet. McLachlan took the offer and sent a scrapbook of drawings to the editors. Much to his surprise, they accepted one cartoon and paid him much more than he earned in the printing office. He kept sending new cartoons and by the third week, Punch took no less than seven! From that moment on, McLachlan realized he apparently had talent for this profession. He'd remain a regular in the magazine for decades.


Cartoon from the mid-1980s satirizing U.S. President Ronald Reagan's military support to overthrow the regime of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. 

Private Eye and other magazines
In 1965, McLachan became a freelance cartoonist. Between 1966 and 1970 he worked as a political cartoonist for The Sunday Mirror, where his work appeared under the title 'McLachlan's Views'. Since 1967 he is also one of the house cartoonists of the satirical magazine Private Eye. In 1971, to celebrate Private Eye's tenth anniversary, McLachlan made a cartoon depicting a giant hedgehog squashing cars in an act of revenge. This often reprinted drawing has arguably become his most famous work.

In 1970, he left the Sunday Mirror to draw cartoons for another paper, namely the Evening Standard. For the Daily Mirror, he drew a series of pocket cartoons titled 'Insiders' (1972-1974). His cartoons have additionally appeared in the Ad Weekly, The Big Issue, Building, The Cartoonist, European Lawyer, Focus, Homes & Antiques, Housing Today, IFG, Investor's Chronicle, the Mail on Sunday, the New Statesman, The Oldie, Reader's Digest, Roof, Saga Magazine, The Salisbury Review, The Spectator and The Sunday Telegraph. Outside his home country, his work has published in Playboy, Stern, the Swedish magazine Tomorrow and The New Yorker.

Simon
In 1969, McLachlan created a series of children's books about a little boy named Simon, who owns a magic chalkboard. Everything he draws comes to life, including his chalk-drawn friend Henry. A total of four titles were published, and later adapted into an animated TV series, produced by FilmFair Productions and broadcast on ITV as 'Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings'. It was also featured in the U.S. children's TV show 'Captain Kangaroo', though with Bob Keeshan as voice-over narrator instead of Bernard Cribbins.

Other children's book illustrations
McLachlan also wrote the children's books 'Claude Makes a Change' (1979), 'Magnus & the Land of Lost Property' (1985) and 'The Dragon Who Could Only Breathe Smoke' (1985), and illustrated John Greaves' 'Henrietta the Clumsy Hippo' (1988).

Illustrations for adult books
McLachlan has additionally created illustrations for adult non-fiction works. He livened up the pages of sports-themed books like Bill Beaumont's 'Bedside Rugby' (1986) and John Walker's 'Chess for Tomorrow's Champions' (1994). Language books were of interest too, as David Crystal's 'Rediscover Grammar' (1988) and 'txting - gr8 bd8' (2008) prove. He illustrated three books by economist Jim Slater, namely 'Zulu Principle' (1992), 'Investment Made Easy' (1994) and 'How to Become a Millionaire' (2000), as well as Bernice Cohen's 'The Armchair Investor. A Do-it-Yourself Guide for Amateur Investors' (1996) and Daniel Dover & Tim Hindle's 'War or Peace. Skirmishes with the Revenue' (2002). Since McLachlan loves drawing funny animals, he was a natural to illustrate Randy Barker's 'Sex Tips for Dogs' (Stanley Paul, 1989) and John Rogerson's 'Be Your Dog's Best Friend' (1992).

His trademark drawings also turned up in 'Lifelines' (1994) by Alex Johnston & Jonathon Porrit and '101 Funny Things About Global Warming' (2007) by Sidney Harris. McLachlan visualized a funny, self-mocking look at the United Kingdom in Ben Crystal & Adam Russ' 'Sorry, I'm British! An Insider's Romp Through Britain from A to Z' (Oneworld Publications, 2011). Finally, he illustrated more than 80 'Bangers & Mash' books by Paul Groves, various religious and philosophical books by Rob Kirkwood, 'Graffiti' and 'Illustrated Limericks' by Roger Kilroy and eight volumes of 'English Grammar (Inside Out Series)', published by Macmillan Education. He is also a regular illustrator in the '...For Dummies' series.

Advertising
McLachlan has written, drawn and designed calendars and more than 300 advertising films for companies like Alka Seltzer, BASF, Bass, Dewar's Whisky, Dyno-Rod, Dunlop, Hamlet, Hyperion, Open University, Renault, Saul Insurance, Selftrade, Sun Life, Shell, Volvo and Walkers Crips.

Recognition
The Cartoonist's Club of Great Britain voted him "Illustrative Cartoonist of the Year" (1980) and "Advertising Cartoonist of the Year" (1981). The Cartoon Art Trust named him "Gag Cartoonist of the Year" (1982) and gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award (2011). Between 27 February and 31 March 2018, McLachlan's cartoons were exhibited in the Chris Beetles Gallery in London under the title 'On The Edge. The Cartoon World of McLachlan'.

Celebrity fans
McLachlan's work was an influence on Andy Davey. One of his celebrity fans is John Cleese, who often shares his cartoons on his personal Twitter page. The comedian also bought three cartoons by McLachlan at an 2018 exhibition.

www.edmclachlan.co.uk

Series and books by Ed McLachlan in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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