Coulton Waugh was born in 1896 in Cornwall, England. He was an American visual artist, son of maritime painter Frederick Judd Waugh, and his grandfather was the Philadelphia portrait painter Samuel Waugh. In 1907 his family moved to the United States, he grew up in Provincetown, Massachusetts and later made his home in Newburgh, New York. Over there Waugh was enrolled at New York's Art Students League where he studied with George Bridgman, Frank Dumond and John Carlson. By 1916 Coulton was employed as a textile designer. In 1921 he moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts where he operated a model ship and hooked rug shop for 11 years.
As a part of an artistic family, Waugh was a painter, comic strip artist and author. As he lived in New York he is often known for the artistic work in marine scenes, still life compositions and cartoons. Also was one of the main artists who worked on the famous “Dickie Dare” comics, created by Milton Caniff. He was working on the strip for more than 20 years, from 1933 until 1957, and there is where Waugh met his future wife, Odin, after hiring her to work on the strip as an artist and letterer. In 1945, he created “Hank” which only ran a short time. From 1947 on, Waugh divided his time between painting, teaching art and writing a seminal history of cartooning called “The Comics” in 1947 as a reference on the history of comics, which became one of the first serious examinations of the medium, as well as instructional books on cartooning and palette-knife painting.
In Provincetown he created other pictorial maps or decorative maps, including ones of Provincetown of 1924, Cape Cod of 1926 and Newburgh, New York in 1958. His map of California of 1948 was a collaboration with his wife Odin Burvik (Mabel Burwick).
His paintings were displayed at New York's Hudson Walker Gallery, and he also was known for his pictorial maps and hand-colored lithographs, like the one exhibited of a Cape Cod map at the International Silk Show in Guadazno in the year 2000. Some other exhibitions where his artwork participated was at the National Academy of Design and the Provincetown Art Association. Among the Museum exhibitions that showcased his pieces are the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute (International), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Grand Central Art Galleries, New York City used to hold a notable representation of his artworks. Waugh died in 1973.