About Roy Raymonde

,9Roy Raymonde was a British cartoonist whose work appeared in many (UK) national and international publications. He was particularly well known for his long association with Playboy Magazine (both US and German editions) and Punch Magazine.

In the 1960s his features for The Sunday Telegraph were widely recognised whilst at the same time he was contributing cartoons to other publications including Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Daily Sketch, Mayfair Magazine and many trade publications. As his career progressed he became known for his fluid drawing style, which was to evolve into the flamboyant and colourful genre seen in his work for Playboy. It was his masterful depiction of small gestures, details and expressions that added a delightful dimension to his cartoons and inspired a generation of comic illustrators. 12

Biography 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 and war immenent, Patricia was forced to take a series of menial jobs and was constantly moving on until settling in North London during the Blitz.

Raymonde often recounted the story of how one night, the house they lived in was demolished by a German land mine. Fearing he was dead, the firemen feverishly dug through the rubble only to find him fast asleep with the blankets pulled over his head.

At the age of 15 Raymonde attended Harrow art school. Due to the family circumstances and the uncertainties of war this was to be his 16th school. By great luck his tutor at Harrow was the young and yet to become famous Gerard Hoffnung. His work was an important inspiration to young Raymonde. He told a tale of how he was almost expelled from the school for the adolescent prank of adding rude captions to one of Hoffnung’s demonstration paintings. He was 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.

At 18 he went to do National Service during the Malayan Emergency. The Army, on hearing he had an artistic bent gave him a job in photoreconnaissance.

2Career Upon demobilisation Raymonde took a job at Charles Gilberts’s studio in Fleet Street, where he was to stay for the next 10 years. In those days much of the artwork for the print and advertising industry was drawn by hand. Raymonde often said that he learnt more about art techniques in a few weeks amongst professionals than he ever learnt in art school. He already had an interest in cartoons and being located conveniently for the newspaper industry, he started free-lancing in his spare time. His first cartoons were published by Tit-Bits and then Lilliput and the Daily Sketch. Drapery and Fashion weekly bought a regular feature about a shop girl called ‘Lil’ which was to continue for the next 30 years.

In 1953 he met and married Daphne Eytle, an afro-caribbean immigrant from Guyana. In those days it was unusual and much frowned upon to marry inter-racially, but courageously on both their parts they entered into  a marriage which was to last for the next 56 years. Daphne had been studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Raymonde had been there helping to paint stage decorations.

Daphne also had three brothers who were to make their mark in England. Ernest Eytle was a barrister and keen cricketer who played for Leary Constantine’s WI team in 1944. He became the BBC’s first black cricket commentator during the 1950 and 60s. Tommy Eytle was a singer, musician, film and TV actor and Les Eytle was to become the first black Mayor of Lewisham.

By 1960, Raymonde had been published by Punch and in 1961 he was selling a regular cartoon strip to the newly founded Sunday Telegraph. He had enough free-lance work to become full time cartoonist. In 1961 published two books, The Constant Minx and More Constant Minx about woman’s power to beguile man – perhaps presaging his later work for Playboy. Throughout the decade there were many features for The Sunday Telegraph. Raymonde’s Blooming Wonders, satire likening politicians to Victorian botanical specimens. Raymonde’s Rancid Rhymes – politically inspired comic poetry.‘Them’ and  ‘Boffins at Bay’ were a satirical look at the ‘Mad Scientists’ of the time and very real concerns about Porton Down and other secretive projects.

At this time Roy and Daphne bought a rustic thatched collage in Essex  they were to live for the rest of their lives.

His contribution to Mayfair Magazine began in the late 60’s. Under the editorship of Kenneth Bound it was trying to diversify from the usual  ‘girlie magazine’ genre by including laddish lifestyle features with fast cars, slick apartments and of course funny cartoons. In 1971 Raymonde’s cartoons were spotted by Playboy in America.

Michelle Urry was Playboy’s revolutionary female cartoon editor. She assembled a stable of artists whose cartoons expressed the cheeky, anti-establishment attitude of the 60’s and 70’s sexual revolution. Raymonde’s work was welcomed, but on the proviso that Playboy was the only men’s magazine he worked for. From then on he provided a full-page colour cartoon almost every month for the next 30 years.

The 1980s saw two collaborations with his good friend and neighbour, Robert Holles. Holles was a playwright, screen-writer and novelist of note. Together they produced some humorous illustrated books. Holles had been a soldier in his youth and later a keen village cricketer. In 1983 he published the Guide to Real Village Cricket and in 1985 the satirical Guide to Real Subversive Soldiering. Both books proved popular.

In the 1980s Punch Magazine started a long running feature called Doc Brief. Written by Robert Buckman, it was a droll look at the human condition from a medical perspective. Raymonde produced many wacky illustrations, which he said gave him much pleasure.

The 1990s saw an association with the Far East. Kyoto University invited him as part of an Anglo-French cartoonists delegation. This was to become a regular occurrence. In 1991 he won gold prize in the Kyoto International Cartoon Exhibition and the next year bronze. He was to return annually acting as a judge and lecturing. He also visited South Korea on a cartoon delegation during this period.

In 2002 on returning from Japan Raymonde suffered a stroke. This left him visually impaired and unable to concentrate for long periods. From this time on he was unable to work.

4Resumé Roy Raymonde, in spite of his erratic schooling, 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, Daphne spent much of their spare time in Venice about which they became passionate and acquired many friends.

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.

8Technique Raymonde’s 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.

In those days rough drawings for cartoon ideas were firstly posted to editors for approval. When approved, a final drawing was made for publication.

Raymonde’s original artworks have been sought by collectors and hang in public and private collections. These include the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Cartoon Archive, the Simavi Foundation Cartoon Museum (Istanbul), Kyoto Seika University (Kyoto), and the Ritsumeikan Peace Museum.

Roy Raymonde was survived by his wife Daphne, son Paul and daughter Kate.6






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