About Bill Asprey
Bill working on Friendship is…characters Freddy and Freida
Bill was drawn to art early. He started sketching and modelling in plasticine from the age of four. He’s had no formal art training, instead served an apprenticeship in a London studio of cartoonists, fashion artists and illustrators. going on to work for two London advertising agencies. He then took the plunge and set up on his own.
He has produced a huge body of work ranging from advertising, fashion, illustration and cartooning. He has been a contributor to most major publications in the UK, drawing thousands of cartoons and comic-strips under the nom de plume “Leon” as well as his own name, Bill Asprey.
Amongst Bill’s many commissions, he has drawn under contract to Playboy Publications Inc., created designs for Charles Wells the Bedford Brewery and an acclaimed commemorative gift pack to celebrate the wedding of HRH Princess Diana to HRH the Prince of Wales. He was involved in the initial concept for Vinopolis, the wine experience, on London’s Bankside.
In 1975, Bill met Kim Casali the creator of ” Love is…” and a unique working relationship developed. He was commissioned, by Kim and her husband, Roberto Casali, to write and draw her well known syndicated daily cartoon panels, under her signature “Kim”, which he has now been doing for an unbroken 45 years. Sadly, Roberto Casali died less than a year after Bill started drawing the feature. During Kim’s lifetime Bill to design all the “Love is…” merchandise for notable UK licensees including Blackstaff Textiles, Marks & Spencer and Kinnerton Confectionery and Tele Flora in the USA.
Bill also created a completely new “Love is…” weekly colour strip, which he wrote and drew for The Mail on Sunday for 20 years. Following Kim’s death, Bill continues to write and draw the daily cartoons while her eldest son Stefano Casali, heads and runs his mother’s legacy.
At the height of Roald Dahl’s popularity, Bill, in collaboration with journalist Brian Lee, adapted Roald Dahl’s book “The Big Friendly Giant” into a weekly cartoon strip “The BFG”, which Brian wrote and Bill drew. They soon ran out of material from the book and Brian devised new scripts which were approved by Roald Dahl. This enabled the BFG to be published every week in the Mail on Sunday and syndicated to a worldwide audience for over 14 years.
At the beginning of 2017, Bill was invited by AGT Agency Moscow and sponsors Gazprom, to become part of the Football for Friendship International Children’s Programme reaching out to boys and girls in 64 countries around the world. Bill created a series of drawings called Friendship is… Freida and Freddy, the main characters, are now the official mascots for the Football for Friendship Programme. Bill was invited to the beautiful city of St. Petersburg in Russia in July to be part of the activities. In 2018, Russia hosted the World Cup and the Football for Friendship Programme was the biggest yet and Bill was in Moscow as part of the programme.
Bill is also the creator and founder of Cartoon World at http://www.cartoonworld.org and the Cartoon World Foundation which was founded by him and his late wife Mercia to house and preserve his life’s work and his extensive collection of cartoon and illustration art. The main aim of the Foundation is to make his work available to a wider audience through exhibitions and an online archive.
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