He was born in Ireland, and while
studying engineering in Paris met the illustrator Caran
d'Ache. Inspired, he returned to London to study art to
become an illustrator and "special artist"; i.e. those
commissioned by magazines as war artists or to
provide general pictorial studies of other countries
(see A.B. Houghton in America).
Bull was appointed
"special" for the "Black & White" magazine and
witnessed the Armenian massacres, the war in
Greece, visited the North West frontier of India and
covered the Omdurman campaigns in the Sudan. He
served in the First World War in the Royal Navy
Volunteer Reserve and the RAF.
Rene Bull was a first
class artist and a brilliantly comic illustrator. His
version of the Arabian Nights is one of the best, no
subject being beyond his imagination or wonderful
comic invention. Rene Bull's small black and white line
drawings with which he decorated his chapter
headings were used again by the US publisher Dodd
Mead in the E.J. Detmold edition of 1925
unacknowledged. His black and white drawings were
also used without acknowledgement in an edition
published by The John C. Winston Company,
Philadelphia, 1920. This edition included four inept
colour plates with one pastedown on the cover, done
in a grossly sentimental style by Adelaide H. Bolton.
The "Sixty Illustrations" are all from the original Rene
Bull edition of 1912. The publication was
repeated for schools in 1924 with the illustrator's name
changed to Adeline H. Bolton.