Rasipuram Krishnaswami Laxman, also known as R. K. Laxman, was born on October 24, 1921, in Mysore. His father was a school headmaster. Laxman was the youngest son of seven siblings, and he developed a great love for drawing at an early age. His elder brother, R. K. Narayan, was a well-known novelist.
Laxman started his job as a part-time cartoonist, mainly working for local newspapers and magazines. While he was a college student, he illustrated his elder brother's (R. K. Narayan) stories in "The Hindu". His first full-time job was as a political cartoonist for "The Free Press Journal" in Mumbai. Later, in 1951, Laxman joined "The Times of India" and began a carrier that spanned over fifty years. Also, around the same time, he started creating a comic character called "The Common Man" for the newspaper. "The Common Man" eventually became one of the most iconic cartoon characters in India, and also the creation of the same turned out to be a turning point in Laxman's life.
Apart from the numerous publications of his cartoons and illustrations, Laxman had also published various short stories, essays, and travel articles, some of which were collected in "The Distorted Mirror" (2003). Some of his important writings are,
- "The Hotel Riviera"(1988)
- "The Messenger" (1993)"
- "The Tunnel of Time" (1998) (autobiography)
R.K. Laxman won several awards. Some of his important awards are,
- Padma Bhushan (1973)
- Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (1983)
- Padma Vibhushan (2005)
- Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism (2008)
Laxman died in Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune on India's Republic Day in 2015.