Trevor Holder: Cartoonist who drew as 'Holte'
Monday 30 January 2012
Best known for his often darkly humorous cartoons under the pseudonym of "Holte", Trevor Holder was a widely admired comic artist, technical illustrator and graphic designer who drew the last cover illustration for the original Punch magazine when it closed in 1992.
Trevor Arthur Holder was born in Handsworth, Birmingham, on 5 January 1941, the third of four sons of Arthur John Holder, a metal turner, and Violet Grace Witts. His older brother, Brian, and his younger brother, Raymond, both predeceased him and he is succeeded by his eldest brother, Robert.
A self-taught artist, he left Handsworth Technical College at the age of 15 and joined Best & Lloyd lighting manufacturers in Birmingham as a trainee draughtsman. He later worked as a technical illustrator for Radiation Gas Cookers and then Cannon Gas Cookers in the city before moving to Manders Brothers Paints in Wolverhampton as an assistant designer in 1960. Three years later he joined Crown Paints in Birmingham in the same role and then became a partner in Quorum Design, a commercial art agency.
In 1964 he married Patricia Owen; they had two daughters, Lindsay and Kate.
His first published cartoon appeared in She magazine in 1981 and shortlyafterwards he became a full-timefreelance cartoonist, contributingto The Listener, Reader's Digest, Men Only, Stitches and other publications. However, he was perhaps best known for his Punch work, notably the last cover of the original magazine, published on 8 April 1992. Producedin colour, it showed Mr Punch, his wife Judy (holding their baby) and their dog Toby walking off gloomily into thesunset (a redrawn, happier, versionappeared on the cover of the final Pick of Punch anthology published later the same year).
He also drew cartoons and illustrations for greetings cards companies such as Athena, produced calendars for Esso and designed advertisements. In addition he illustrated Nicholas Jones's Reader's Digest collection Hackers, Hotting and Hooray Henrys: A Guide to New Words and Words in the News (1992) and illustrated two books ofhumorous anecdotes on universitycollege life by Richard Breen: Cambridge Oddfellows and Funny Tales (1997) and (with co-author Suresh Mudannayake), Oxford Oddfellows and Funny Tales (2000).
He worked in pen and ink, watercolour, gouache and oils and signed his cartoons "HOLTE" in capitals with an elongated central line on the final E. He drew in a loose but assured style and his characters' faces often had eyes that were simply black dots suspended over the base of their noses. Examples of his work were exhibited in the major Punch retrospective "Punch 150" at the Royal Festival Hall in 1991 (including the cover artwork for the 1990 Scottish issue) and a number also featured in the tie-in anthology, The Punch Cartoon Album: 150 Years of Classic Cartoons.
He was six feet tall, wore spectacles, had a brown beard and hair, and blue eyes. A keen modelmaker, especially of boats (of which he was an accomplished decorator), he was not a football fan, though his pseudonym derived from the famous Holte End stand of the Villa Park stadium, home of Aston Villa FC. He also kept cats. A long-time resident of Birmingham, he moved to Malvern, Worcestershire, in 1991.
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