The books were devised, drawn and written by Roger Hargreaves, born in 1938 in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire. Hargreaves began his career with a Bradford advertising agency before moving to London, where he joined a similar company and rose to the position of creative director. In 1971, so the story goes, his eldest son, Adam, asked him what a tickle looked like (well, he was his Dad and he did creative things for a living, so he would know that kind of thing). Hargreaves senior came up with a round; cheerful orange face on tiny legs, with long, rubbery arms designed to reach anybody's laughter zones and called him Mr. Tickle.
The ball was rolling, so Hargreaves developed other characters (Messrs Greedy, Happy, Nosey and so on) in a similar vein and eventually found a publisher. Once that hurdle had been overcome, the Mr. Men books sold a million copies in just three years and were turned into a television series.
As the Mr. Men characters began to appear on everything from towels to lunchboxes Hargreaves created a second group, this time with female characters: the Little Miss series featuring Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Naughty and so on.
When Roger Hargreaves died at the young age of 53, Adam effectively joined the family firm, helping his mother to run the business. Something of an artist himself, albeit in a very different style from his father, he taught himself to draw the characters, even creating some new ones, such as Mr. Rude, Mr. Cool and Little Miss Scary.