johnminnion.com

The Arts

Though I seemed to specialise in music, I was often commissioned to illustrate more general subjects under the heading of The Arts. I was especially fortunate to work in tandem with some outstanding critics, particularly Lynne Truss and Richard Morrison, both on The Times.

The Times

The Times had a highly-respected art editor called David Driver. His greatest achievement had been in the 1970s, to make the Radio Times one of the finest showcases of illustration in the world. It was known that if he commissioned you he would use you properly.

I feel extremely grateful to have been commissioned by him when he went to The Times. After the Murdoch takeover it was not the most pleasant place to work, but he stayed there until retirement, I think.

He started me with single caricatures for the Saturday edition, but with a promise to link me with a columnist soon. he was as good as his word and in 1989 I found myself illustrating Ned Sherrin’s Diary column. When that was axed – as is always on the cards in a newspaper – David promised to fix me up with someone else and he did. I stress this because freelance life is full of empty promises: you condition yourself to expect nothing.

This time it was Lynne Truss and her TV column. And when that enjoyable partnership ended, I stayed with the column working with a succession of writers before David passed me on to Richard Morrison on the Arts Page – another fruitful liaison.

In early 2000 The Times launched its Section 2 and I was given a daily spot on Page 5. There was a different writer and subject area for each day of the week. Politics, Arts and New York being the stable topics, plus a witty Giles Coren piece and something by a weekly guest who might be just about anybody famous writing about anything…