Ronald Searle was born in Cambridge, England, in 1920. He started his professional comic career at the age of fifteen, making cartoons for the Cambridge Daily News. In 1939, Ronald Searle joined the army as an architectural draftsman. He served in Singapore, where he was taken prisoner of war. During his time in prison camp, Searle never stopped drawing, and upon his return to England in October, 1945, his work was displayed in an exhibition. A year later, the same year he got married to Kaye Webb, the editor of Lilliput, his first book 'Forty Drawings' was published.
In 1948, Searle's first book collection of the famous St. Trinian's cartoons appeared, 'Hurrah for St. Trinian', about a girl's school gone bad. His devious little school girls became very popular and even inspired a movie, with Alastair Sim playing the role of head mistress. A year later, Searle became illustrator on the theater column of magazine Punch. For the same magazine he made a comic adaptation of 'The Odyssey' in 1955.
By this time, Ronald Searle was one of the foremost illustrators in England, and soon there came interest from the USA as well, where he made an animated film, 'Energetically Yours'. In 1960, Ronald Searle was the first non-American cartoonist to receive the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award. Overwhelmed by his popularity and fame, Searle left the comics field and departed for Paris. There he remarried and devoted himself to painting, resulting in 'Anatomies and Decapitations'.
During the sixties, he developed a lighter style and worked on animated opening sequences for films and other assignments, as well as books like 'Hello - Where Did All the People Go?' (1968), 'Take One Toad' (1968), 'The Square Egg' (1968), 'Homage a Toulouse-Lautrec' (1969), 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' (1969), and 'Secret Sketchbook' (1970).
After his wife successfully recovered from breast cancer, the Searles moved to the Haute-Provence, and in this new period, Searle took on more work than ever, resulting in numerous projects, among them his famous cat books.