Richard David Willson was born in London and studied architecture at Kingston School of Art and graphic design at Epsom School of Art. From 1968 until 1971 Willson worked as a caricaturist on 'The Observer' before moving to 'The Times'. He has also worked as a freelance illustrator and caricaturist for various newspapers and magazines, including 'The Washington Post', 'New Statesman', 'Financial Weekly' and 'New Scientist'. His characteristic style of precise hatching and large heads on small bodies shows the influence of New York caricaturist David Levine. Willson was also said to admire the work of nineteenth-century French artist Honoré Daumier, who became famous for his social caricatures of the French bourgeoisie.