RIP Ronald Searle
January 3, 2012 8:06 AM   Subscribe

A chiz is a swiz or swindle, as any ful know.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:14 AM on January 3, 2012 [8 favorites]

ink blot and pen skritch
crooked figures and twisted
truth illustrated
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:14 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

CHIZ. Sadly missed.
posted by aesop at 8:14 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aw, damn.

His Deadeye Dick was a beloved children's book probably not really meant for children. Little Buttercup, especially.

Thank you, sir. You opened up a whole new world for me.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:22 AM on January 3, 2012

Dick Deadeye, rather.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:23 AM on January 3, 2012

posted by Thorzdad at 8:24 AM on January 3, 2012

Damn - another artist gone that was an influence on me a kid. I remember riding my bike to the Clarendon Hills library with a drawing pad and sitting at a table and try to copy his style from a giant Searle book. I couldn't figure out why an eight year old with a ballpoint pen couldn't draw like that. As I got older and learned about proper artist tools I figured out my problem wasn't just using the wrong pen. The man just knew how to draw. I loved that his drawings were elegantly simple yet still had a sense of chaos to them.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:34 AM on January 3, 2012

posted by ambrosen at 8:36 AM on January 3, 2012


I love that chaotic-caricaturish-but-very-British style of cartooning. If it's not inappropriate for an obit thread, I'd like to point out another practitioner of that style, Arnold Roth, who is blogging his past works several times a week, currently showing scenes from a syndicated comic from the late '70s, many of which are surprisingly NOT dated.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:38 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Blog dedicated to his work is here. I was looking at the first couple pages a day or so ago, after following the link from another site. Hadn't looked at his pictures for a long time.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:39 AM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Chiz. He was topp.
posted by The Bellman at 8:40 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

My first copy of "A Christmas Carol" was illustrated by Searle, and every depiction of this story since has paled in comparison. .
posted by zomg at 8:40 AM on January 3, 2012

He illustrated Tom Lehrer's songbook too, I believe.

posted by Melismata at 8:43 AM on January 3, 2012

Sigismund Arbuthnot was unavailable for comment.

posted by Smart Dalek at 8:56 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was not yet a teenager when through one of our school's book club's I ignorantly purchased Whizz for Atomms: A Guide to Survival in the 20th Century for Fellow Pupils, their Doting Maters, Pompous Paters and Any Others who are Interested

I was educated by a master.


posted by infini at 9:04 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Kitteh at 9:15 AM on January 3, 2012

Is it better to spend decades vainly trying to create something that strikes a nation's zeitgeist squarely, or to succeed and then have that something that you consider trifling overshadow everything else you create?

Gonna have to track down To the Kwai and Back: War Drawings.

posted by delfin at 9:16 AM on January 3, 2012

They're in the blog linked by oneswellfoop above - looked it up cos I'm living about 15 mins away from Changi Prison
posted by infini at 9:26 AM on January 3, 2012

For such a prolific, brilliant artist - a 20th-century Gillray and then some - there are more than enough resources dedicated to him on the web to revisit his incredible output, from Punch cartoons to Le Monde political caricatures.

It's still strange to think that St. Trinian's was book-ended by his horrific wartime experiences. Here's an article from 1945 about them. He explained, "I had to do something to preserve my sanity, and so I painted." That could encapsulate his life's work.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:49 AM on January 3, 2012

Few people will recall this, that's why you need us older farts around: Searle did the bizarre Beatles illustration cover of TIME magazine in 1967, whose cover story was the release of "Sgt. Pepper". (June of 1967) I haven't located it yet, but I'm sure it on the interwebs someplace.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:16 AM on January 3, 2012

posted by lucien_reeve at 10:44 AM on January 3, 2012

All boys stand about with hands in pokets looking utterly fed up and dejected.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:45 AM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by alasdair at 10:51 AM on January 3, 2012


"'Reality,' sa molesworth 2, 'is so unspeakably sordid it make me shudder.'" (Whizz for Atomms)
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2012

Ah no. The Time Beatles cover in '67 was done by Gerald Scarfe (who also provided visuals for Pink Floyd's The Wall). Clearly there are some stylistic similarities between Searle and Scarfe.
posted by zomg at 11:42 AM on January 3, 2012

Anyone with the necessary stuff up for recreating 'Fairy Bells' (as a tribute to both him and Willans, of course) in the Music pages?

I'll be breaking out the Pink Champagne as a libation.
posted by aesop at 11:43 AM on January 3, 2012

he draw pritty gurls? uterly wet and a wede
posted by fightorflight at 11:47 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

wotta chiz
posted by adamvasco at 11:56 AM on January 3, 2012

Chiz. I collect signed first editions, that's me buggered as any ful kno
posted by hardcode at 1:09 PM on January 3, 2012

Desert Island Discs interview with RS from 2005.
posted by aesop at 1:32 PM on January 3, 2012

Jolly well sucks boo to the lot of you! (Actually, can anyone here point me to the correct spelling of eazel-beazels ref. St Trinians?)
posted by ninazer0 at 2:56 PM on January 3, 2012

Another beloved illustrator of my childhood gone to meet his--
Despite his own sufferings, Searle continued to draw what he saw, hiding his sketches under the mattresses of men dying of cholera to prevent their discovery by Japanese guards. “I desperately wanted to put down what was happening, because I thought if by any chance there was a record, even if I died, someone might find it and know what went on,” he recalled.

A fellow prisoner later recalled of Searle: “If you can imagine something that weighs six stone or so, is on the point of death and has no qualities of the human condition that aren’t revolting, calmly lying there with a pencil and a scrap of paper, drawing, you have some idea of the difference of temperament that this man had from the ordinary human being.”
--holy shit. Are we sure that Mr. Rogers wasn't a sniper, while we're at it?
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2012

Just a few days ago my family gathered around a piano to sing favourites from 'Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer with Not Enough Drawings by Ronald Searle'. I instantly, uncontrollably wanted to read anything he illustrated.

posted by namasaya at 6:52 AM on January 4, 2012

Time out! Let us not forget his partner in crime, Geoffrey Willans, who, besides Molesworth, actually wrote a few other not at all bad comic novels back in the fifties.

Also -

posted by IndigoJones at 10:40 AM on January 4, 2012

Thanks to zomg for correcting my error, and being cool about it. Sorrry about that.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:29 PM on January 4, 2012

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