Les Gibbard, who was the political cartoonist on the Guardian newspaper between 1969 to 1994 has died at the age of 64 of a pulmonary embolism following a knee replacement operation.
In the early 1980s Gibbard was my favourite cartoonist. Judging by the quality of his work, with its clarity of line and style, I’d always assumed that Gibbard must be an urbane and sophisticated individual, smartly dressed and well turned out.
In 1985 I started working for the Guardian myself, as a freelance illustrator and graphic artist. From behind my desk I’d occasionally see a huge, bearded, unkempt tramp-like man walk past along the corridor, carrying his few possessions in a plastic bag. One day I noticed that this shambles of a man was carrying a Gibbard cartoon, and what’s more, that he was talking to another member of the Guardian’s staff as though he’d actually drawn it himself.
Les Gibbard obituary in the Guardian (written by Mike McNay, former Guardian art editor, who gave me my first job on the newspaper).