Obituary: Dave Gaskill, Church Times cartoonist

by
19 July 2019

The editor and Mr Gaskill’s son pay tribute, and, in the gallery below, we reproduce some of his most memorable cartoons

Dave Gaskill’s first cartoon for the Church Times, published on 17 May 2002. It illustrated an article by Claire Melamed: “Why Africa needs unfair trade now”

Dave Gaskill’s first cartoon for the Church Times, published on 17 May 2002. It illustrated an article by Claire Melamed: “Why Africa needs unfair tra...

The editor writes:

IT WAS with great sadness that we learnt this week of the death of Dave Gaskill, a regular comment-page cartoonist on the Church Times since 2002. Although he was 80, and had recently had major surgery, his death on 6 July was unexpected; and he was working as normal almost until the end.

Readers will miss his remarkable draughtsmanship and attention to detail, as well as the sense of fun that crept into so many of his cartoons, often in some corner or other away from the main subject.

Producing a cartoon that combines humour and relevance to illustrate an op-ed article, often on a conceptual topic, is an act of great skill. And readers saw only the finished article: Dave would usually offer six or seven sketched ideas for the comment editor to choose from. In addition, he could draw on a vast array of visual memories and references; and we greatly admired his ability to caricature important figures in the Church and politics.

He will be greatly missed, and we send our sympathies to his wife, Irene, his children, and grandchildren.

His son, Chris, writes:

David Gaskill was always a gifted artist, but the career advice he was given at school in Stockport was “draughtsman”. After all, in those days you couldn’t make a living drawing pictures or cartoons.

It wasn’t until he was about 30, and moved to South Africa with his wife and two children, that he was able to break into cartooning, working on the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg. He also worked on a TV magazine in Durban, then The Citizen back in Johannesburg, and The Sunday Times, South Africa’s biggest newspaper.

After about 16 years, his marriage broke up, and he moved to Australia to take up a post on The West Australian. Fifteen months later, he was offered a job as political and business cartoonist on The Business Daily, a new financial paper. This didn’t last long: Rupert Murdoch acquired shares in the paper and shut it down.

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At about this time, The New Zealand Herald was looking for a replacement for their retiring cartoonist; so Dave upped sticks again, only to last for seven weeks, owing to poor pay and expensive accommodation.

Back in the UK, he quickly became the editorial cartoonist on the Today newspaper, where he met (in the pub, of course) Irene, a teacher and part-time barmaid. They were soon married. He worked on Today for eight years, until Mr Murdoch once again intervened and closed the paper.

After that, he worked on The Mail on Sunday and The News of the World, and was then editorial cartoonist on The Sun for nine years, for which he also illustrated the Richard Littlejohn column; and he cartooned for the Sunday Mail in Glasgow for four years.

He has worked for the Church Times and Financial Adviser for the past 17 years, until a few months ago, when he fell ill.

He has illustrated several books, and written and illustrated several comic books, most notably Moll Perkins in America.

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