Born in London, the son of an artist and picture framer, Frank Reynolds was encouraged to become an artist by his father and had his first illustrations published in Pick-Me-Up magazine. He studied at Heatherley’s School of Art and from the 1890s worked on the staff of The Illustrated London News and The Sketch under the editorship of Keble Bell.
Reynold’s forte in drawing “types” – low-lifes and street characters – is evident in series such as “Peculiar British Types”, published in the ILN in 1910. But he also delighted in poking fun at the suburban middle class. A contributor to Punch from 1906, he joined the staff in 1919 and a year later became art editor, a post he held till 1931.
Friend and illustrator John Hassall advised him to move from pen and ink to pencil and crayon, as well as watercolour, a switch that resulted in a more fluid style of cartoon. His illustrations for Dickens’ novels in 1910-12 were a great success, with his characters used in advertising for Buchanan’s Scotch Whiskies. One of Reynolds’ most famous First World War drawings for Punch depicts a German family sitting around the breakfast table indulging in their “morning hate”.
Although mostly associated with Punch, Reynolds made his name with his full-page cartoons for The Sketch. He served in a coast defence battalion of the Cheshire Regiment during the war, and later in a section of the intelligence staff concerned with pictorial propaganda. Unsurprisingly, many of his Great War cartoons for the magazine have a strong recruitment message such as “Johnny Get Your Gun” or “The Man Who Has Answered the Call, and the Man Who Has Not”. Reynolds was still drawing during the Second World War and contributed to each issue of The Sketch.