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Biography: Raymonde, Roy

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1929 – 2009 – British



Bio Summary

Roy Raymonde was an English cartoonist whose work appeared in many (UK) national and also international publications. He was particularly well known for his long association with Playboy Magazine (US and German editions) and Punch Magazine. In the 1960s his features for The Sunday Telegraph were widely recognised, and at the same time he was contributing cartoons regularly to other publications including Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Daily Sketch, Mayfair Magazine and several trade publications.

Early Life/Family

Roy Stuart Raymonde was born in 1929 in Grantham. His father Barry, was a freelance advertising agent and a theatrical impresario. By the time Roy was a toddler the family were living in Bristol. Barry had a business connection with the Bristol Old Vic. Roy’s mother Patricia, had been a dancer and had met Barry through the theatre. In 1938 whilst Patricia was pregnant with Roy’s younger sister Patsy, Barry contracted pneumonia and died suddenly, leaving the young family destitute. In this tough situation Patricia was forced to take a series of menial jobs and was seemingly constantly moving on until eventually settling in North London in the early years of the Second World War. The Blitz was at its height and Raymonde often recounted the story of how one night, the house they were living in was demolished by a German land mine. Fearing that he had been killed, the firemen feverishly dug through the rubble only to find him soundly asleep with the blankets pulled over his head.


At the age of 15 Raymonde attended Harrow art school. Due to the peripatetic nature of his upbringing and the uncertainties of war this was to be his 16th school. It happened that one of his tutors at Harrow was the young and yet to become famous Gerard Hoffnung. His work was to become an important inspiration to young Raymonde. He recounted a tale of how he was almost expelled for the adolescent prank of adding humorous captions to one of Hoffnung’s demonstration paintings. His place at the school was however, saved by Hoffnung himself, who argued that the captions demonstrated a latent cartoonist’s talent. They remained friends until Hoffnung’s untimely death in 1959. After art school Raymonde took a job in commercial art studio. Whereas nowadays we rely upon photographers, in those days much of the artwork for print (including advertising) was hand-drawn by talented commercial artists. Raymonde often said that he learnt more about drawing in a few weeks amongst professionals than he ever learnt in two years of art school. At 18 he was called up to do National Service. The Army, on seeing that he was an artist, gave him a job in Intelligence interpreting photoreconnaissance. He served for two years in Malaya.

Career Outline

Upon demobilisation Raymonde took a job at Charles Gilberts’s advertising studio in Fleet Street, where he was to stay for the next 10 years. He however, already nurtured an interest in cartoons and being located in the midst of newspaper-land he started free lancing in his spare time. His first works were published by Tit-Bits. He then started contributing to Lilliput and the Daily Sketch. Drapery and Fashion weekly bought a weekly feature about a shop girl called ‘Lil’ which was to continue for the next 30 years.


Comments On Style

As Raymonde’s career progressed he became celebrated for his fluid comic drawing style, which was to evolve into the lyrical and flamboyantly colourful genre seen in his work for Playboy. It was his masterful depiction of small gestures, details and expressions that added a heightened dimension to his cartoons and have inspired a generation of comic illustrators.

HIs technique – like that of many cartoonists of the period – was to use waterproof Indian ink applied with a steel dip pen. Drawings were first lightly roughed out in pencil then inked in, the pencil marks erased, then shading or colour applied. For the black and white drawings he would use non-waterproof black ink or black watercolour for shading. The colour drawings used a variety of materials from watercolour and gouache to radiant inks and liquid acrylics. Whatever would give him the vibrant effects he was looking for. Rough drawings of cartoon ideas were firstly sent to editors for approval. When approved, a final drawing was made for publication. In those days all was done by post (including those to America) as there was no email. Raymonde’s original artworks have been much sought after and hang in both public and private collections.


Amongst artists that he admired, Gerard Hoffnung was an early influence as was Thomas Rowlandson – he enjoyed collecting 18th century prints. He was also fond of the work of André François, Tomi Ungerer, Quentin Blake and Adolf Born.


In spite of his erratic schooling, he was an articulate and erudite man. A voracious reader, he was particularly fond of poetry. He had a fine collection of antiquarian books. He was a quietly spoken man but had a sharp and incisive wit. Though conservative in his political outlook, he was interested in, and able to form lasting friendships with people from all walks of life. He and his wife, Patricia spent much of their spare time in Venice about which they had become passionate and where they had acquired many friends.


When the London Blitz was at its height and Raymonde often recounted the story of how one night, the house they were living in was demolished by a German land mine. Fearing that he had been killed, the firemen feverishly dug through the rubble only to find him soundly asleep with the blankets pulled over his head.




1966 was voted Cartoonist Club of Great Britain Feature Cartoonist of the Year.
1996 Gold Prize at the Kyoto International Cartoon Exhibition.

Related Links

Bibliographic References

The Constant Minx: From the Beginning (1961)
More Constant Minx (1961)

Contributors To This Listing

Paul Raymonde, Natalie Hayward

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