It Must Be True by Denys Parsons, illustrated by Ronald Searle
It Must be True
Denys Parsons, drawings by Ronald Searle

The influence of Ronald Searle as an illustrator, cartoonist and artist is far reaching. Born March 3, 1920, in Cambridge England, Searle is best know for his St Trinian's School cartoons and the Molesworth series but his early work as a war artist is just as important.

While stationed in Singapore during World War II, Searle was taken as a prisoner and spent the remainder of the war working on the Siam-Burma Death Railway. His horrifying experiences in the camp were documented in a series of drawings, mostly of prisoners dying of cholera. When he was finally set free, Searle went back to England and published his drawings. Most of these drawings are now part of a permanent collection in London's Imperial War Museum.

During the 1950s, Searle was prolific with his work producing drawings for Life magazine, the New Yorker, The Sunday Express and more. He created more cartoons for the St Trinian's books, based on his sister's school days and working with Geoffrey Willans, produced more Molesworth books. Not stopping there, Searle also worked on travel books, advertisments, posters and title backgrounds for films. In 1975 the full-length animated film, Dick Deadeye, was realeased and many artists worked on the animations. Many consider this film to be Searle's greatest accomplishment but he did not approve of the end result.

Considered one of the foremost illustrators, Searle's influential pen line drawings have decorated numerous book covers, magazine pages, coins, posters and more. To learn more about Searle's life, especially during his time in the war, Russell Davies 1990 book, Ronald Searle, A Biography is a good place to start.

Ronald Searle's St Trinian's

Hurrah For St Trinians by Ronald Searle, 1948
Hurrah For St Trinians
Ronald Searle, 1948
The Female Approach by Ronald Searle, 1949
The Female Approach
by Ronald Searle, 1949
Back to the Slaughterhouse by Ronald Searle, 1951
Back to the Slaughterhouse
by Ronald Searle, 1951
The Terror of St Trinian's with Timothy Shy, 1952
The Terror of St Trinian's
with Timothy Shy, 1952
Souls in Torment by Ronald Searle, 1953
Souls in Torment
by Ronald Searle, 1953

Ronald Searle's Molesworth

Down With Skool! with Geoffrey Willans, 1953
Down With Skool!
with Geoffrey Willans, 1953
How To Be Topp with Geoffrey Willans, 1954
How To Be Topp
with Geoffrey Willans, 1954
Whizz for Atomms, with Geoffrey Willans, 1956
Whizz for Atomms
with Geoffrey Willans, 1956
Back in the Jug Agane with Geoffrey Willans, 1959
Back in the Jug Agane
with Geoffrey Willans, 1959
The Compleet Molesworth by Ronald Searle, 1958
The Compleet Molesworth
by Ronald Searle, 1958

Ronald Searle's Other Works

Paris Sketchbook with Kaye Webb, 1950
Paris Sketchbook
with Kaye Webb, 1950
Life in Thin Slices with Patrick Campbell, 1951
Life in Thin Slices
with Patrick Campbell, 1951
London - So Help Me with Winifred Ellis, 1952
London - So Help Me
with Winifred Ellis, 1952
The Dark is Light Enough with Christopher Fry, 1954
The Dark is Light Enough
with Christopher Fry, 1954
The Rake's Progress by Ronald Searle, 1955
The Rake's Progress
by Ronald Searle, 1955
Merry England, Etc, by Ronald Searle, 1956
Merry England, Etc,
by Ronald Searle, 1956
USA For Beginners with Alex Atkinson, 1959
USA For Beginners
with Alex Atkinson, 1959
The Penguin Ronald Searle, 1960
The Penguin Ronald Searle
Ronald Searle, 1960
Which Way Did He Go? by Ronald Searle, 1961
Which Way Did He Go?
by Ronald Searle, 1961
Haven't We Met Before Somewhere? by Ronald Searle, 1966
Haven't We Met Before Somewhere?
by Ronald Searle, 1966
The Square Egg by Ronald Searle, 1968
The Square Egg
by Ronald Searle, 1968
Monte Carlo or Bust with E.W. Hildick, 1969
Monte Carlo or Bust
with Jack Davies, 1969
The Addict by Ronald Searle, 1971
The Addict
by Ronald Searle, 1971
Zoodiac by Ronald Searle, 1977
Zoodiac
by Ronald Searle, 1977

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