Born in London, Jim Holdaway attended the Kingston School of Art before spending two years in National Service. He then worked in advertising, comics and artwork until he got his break in 1957 working on the Daily Mirror comic strip 'Romeo Brown,' supplying illustrations for the writer Peter O'Donnell. Holdaway continued working with O'Donnell on the comic strip 'Modesty Blaise' for the Evening Standard, until his untimely death in 1970.