Classic Cartoons: Martin Plimmer on Ed McLachlan

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ISOLATION IS one of the givens of a cartoonist's existence, whether he likes it or not. Ed McLachlan revels in it. For 34 years he has produced a steady flow of cartoons, children's books and advertisement illustrations from a studio hideaway in Leicestershire, the county of his birth. He works 55-60 hours a week and wouldn't want it any other way.

Other cartoonists seek solidarity in cartoonist's associations, but McLachlan shudders at the idea. "Miserable people, most of them," he says. "Once I've finished drawing I'd rather play football or cricket."

As a result, nobody has any idea of the curious mental process by which his mind can invent so delightfully unusual a take on the subject of a boar's bladder. As he never asks himself such questions, neither does he. "If I knew it would probably stop."

He's critical about his drawing skills, despite the fact he is one of the few cartoonists for whom Punch can find the space for a full-page drawing.