'F.C. Knudde naar 't WK' (2018).

Ray Nicholson is a Dutch comics artist and illustrator. He is best known as a ghost artist for the comics of Toon van Driel and for his illustrations for licensed products and magazines with Disney, Warner Bros and Sesame Street characters.

Early life and career
Raymond Nicholson was born in 1952 in Helmond as the son of a British father and Dutch mother. His father was a soldier who served in the Netherlands during World War II, and stayed around. Even though he was always drawing, Ray was initially stuck in a boring dayjob with Delta Lloyd insurances. He began his career as cartoonist in 1977 at the company Micro in Breda. Through this job, he saw his illustrations published in papers and magazines like De Stem, Mijn Geheim and Tussen de Rails. He later joined the publishing house De Vrijbuiter, part of the Audax concern, where he illustrated covers for comics and activity booklets with licensed characters. Since then, he has drawn such diverse characters and franchises as 'Vicky the Viking', 'Maya the Bee', 'Woody Woodpecker', 'Calimero', 'The Flintstones', 'Scooby Doo', 'Tom & Jerry', 'Heidi', 'Dr. Snuggles', 'Barbapapa', 'The Bluffers', 'The Pink Panther', 'Love Is...' and 'Looney Tunes'. Through De Vrijbuiter he also became an assistant and ghost artist for comics artist Toon van Driel. 

German comic by Ray Nicholson
'Benjamin Blümchen'.

Assistance of Van Driel
Van Driel had just sold the rights of his popular soccer comic 'F.C. Knudde' to the publisher, and Nicholson became responsible for most of the artwork. Nicholson and Van Driel also cooperated on comics like 'De Stamgasten', 'De Kanjers' and the celebrity comic about Dutch comedian André van Duin for Veronica-blad. Since 1988 Nicholson has been working through his own studio Nicholson Illustraties.He continued to work with Van Driel, most notably on the 'Knudde' album 'Knudde naar 't WK!' (2018), which appeared on the occasion of the 2018 World Championships. While the lay-outs were by Toon, Nicholson applied a more polished technique for the finished artwork. It was also the first 'F.C. Knudde' album which credited Nicholson on the cover.


Dommel/Cubitus story for the first issue of Dommel magazine (1989).

Other comics and products
Ray Nicholson has worked extensively with licensed products. Since the 1990s he is the regular cover illustrator for the German Disney publications such as Micky Maus and the pocket books. He has provided artwork to German comics based on the animated TV series 'Benjamin Blümchen' and to children's magazines and products related to 'Daisy Explorer', 'Doctor Snuggles', Jim Henson's 'Sesame Street' and the 'Looney Tunes' characters. He was also a cover and comics artist for the bi-monthly magazine based on Dupa's 'Cubitus' (Lombard, 1989). He has furthermore worked anonymously on comics starring Hanna-Barbera's 'Tom & Jerry'. For Holco's girls' magazine Penny he developed the gag strip about the black pony 'Rakker' (1987).

He has made illustration modelsheets for characters from the TV shows 'Sesame Street' and 'De Fabeltjeskrant', and provided merchandising artwork for the Disney films 'The Lion King' (1994), Pocahontas' (1995), 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1996), 'Hercules' (1997) and 'Mulan' (1998). In later years he also produced artwork for other Disney properties, such as 'Star Wars' and the Marvel Comics characters.

 

Personal comics
Among his more personal creations are the gag comic 'De Familie Kijkgraag' which he made under the pen name Nick Ray in the TV magazine Veronica-gids. His funny animal humor series 'SV Zoo(i)' (1987-1988, through the Fimla agency in Tilburg) and 'Dumpie en Dodo' (1989-1990) were made for Kuifje and Okki, respectively. Nicholson has made the cover illustrations for the 'Strip-Mix' comics compendiums published by the Bruna book stores in the early 1990s. During that same decade he began making greeting cards for companies like Cartesse (later Editor-Belgium). Since then, his greeting cards series 'Doodles', 'Penguins', 'Rocco', 'Sea Life' and 'Old Dutch' rank among his most lucrative graphic projects. He furthermore provides artwork for calendars, stationary, children's books, coloring pages, toys, corporate communication, fashion, mugs, gifts and many other things. And of course we must certainly mention the puzzles for Ravensburger, Jumbo and Verkerke.

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Ray Nicholson in Lambiek's Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis

Series and books by Ray Nicholson in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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