Roland Davies (b.1904; d.1993)

Roland Davies 'Look Before Opening', ROSPARoland Davies first studied to be a lithographer, but became an illustrator instead, starting with cinema posters and illustrations for the magazines Autocar and Motor Cycle. He began working for Modern Boy in 1928, where he drew illustrations and covers, making his debut in comics (for which he was best known) in March 1932 with ‘Come on, Steve!’. This cartoon appeared in the Sunday Express, and was such a success that Davies founded a studio in 1936 to make an animated version of it.Roland Davies merits mention in several dictionaries and encyclopaedias, particularly related to his comic work. He drew series like ‘Whoopee Hank’ and ‘Contrary Mary’ for The Beano. He designed comics in the realistic genre, such as ‘Sexton Black’, ‘Dixon of Dock Green’, ‘Norma and Henry Bones’ and ‘Red Ray the Space Racer’. From 1950 to 1959 he illustrated ‘Jill Crusoë’ in School Friend, aimed at a female audience. Davies drew ‘Pete Madden’ in Knockout and a version of ‘Beetle Bailey’ for TV Comic. In 1970, Roland Davies left the comics field and devoted his attention to painting, although he had previously done work in this field. In 1944 he illustrated a realistic watercolour image for Sphere Magazine of British Thunderbolts attacking German columns.

Information collated from: Lambiek Studio, ‘Roland Davies’,, last updated November 6 2002, accessed October 3 2003; Michigan State University Libraries, ‘Index to Comic Art Collection: “Davie” to “Davis, Howard”‘,, accessed October 3 2003; Killin Gallery, ‘Killin Gallery – Paintings’,, accessed October 3 2003. See also Steve Holland, ‘The Lesser Known Art of Roland Davies’,, accessed December 16 2009

Featured Image: ROSPA Prints