'Brilliant teacher' at DMU puts cartoonist on road to fame


His cartoons have been published in newspapers, books and magazines around the world, now Ed McLachlan has revealed how a ‘brilliant teacher’ at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) helped him on the road to success.


Born and bred in Leicester, Ed began his career as an illustrator, cartoonist and designer by taking a place studying Graphic Design at DMU in 1956, then known as the Leicester College of Art and Technology.

Since then Ed’s work has featured regularly in famous publications such as Punch, Private Eye, The Spectator, The Oldie and The New Statesman and his name is mentioned alongside other great British cartoonists such as Matt, Mack, Steadman and Scarfe.

Ed said: “I was never top of the class but I had a brilliant teacher in my second year at De Montfort who helped me to succeed.

“I never knew I wanted to be an illustrator but I was extremely lucky to get a grant and the chance to fill the last place on the graphic design course at De Montfort.”


Be inspired. Come to a DMU Open Day

DMU students get creative to save young lives

DMU’s Danielle sees designs on Paperchase shelves

Ed struck gold when he sent a scrapbook of cartoons to Punch for a bet whilst working for a local printing company in Leicester.

He said: “The most memorable part of my career was getting my work published in Punch. I was paid seven guineas (£7.35) for two hours work when I was used to being paid £5 for a 42-hour week.”

The famous satirical magazine liked the drawings so much that they then bought weekly illustrations from Ed, meaning he had a steady flow of design work.


When asked about the teaching side of his career, Ed said: “I taught graphics for three years at De Montfort.  I took it very seriously. Sometimes we would work from 9am to 11pm, but I always had a great relationship with the students. Teaching was really hard work but it was also great fun.”

Ed, believes that his wife Shirley, who he met in Leicester and has been married to since 1964, is one of the reasons for his success, saying ‘we go everywhere as a pair.’

He said: “I would have married her the day I met her.”

His favourite piece of work was one he designed for Private Eye’s 10th anniversary. The illustration shows a massive hedgehog squashing cars as it makes its way down the road.  

When it comes to advice, Ed believes budding illustrators must be money conscious. He said: “It is necessary for young designers to have some money saved before going freelance and of course, like in any industry, it’s essential to never give up.”


Throughout his career Ed has been honoured for his work. He was voted Illustrative Cartoonist of the Year, Advertising Cartoonist of the Year, Gag Cartoonist of the Year and he recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Cartoon Art Trust. 

The now 76-year-old is still active within the industry and believes he is ‘constantly learning new things’.


Posted on Tuesday 7th February 2017

Search news archive

DMU Clearing
Events at DMU

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.