David Cobley studied at Northampton and Liverpool Schools of Art. As well as being a member of the RWA, he is also belongs to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the New English Art Club.
His work is based soundly in his skills as a draughtsman, and he divides his time between commissioned portraits and paintings of the figure. His sitters include The Princess Royal and Steven Berkoff, and in 2003 David was also commissioned to paint the current President and Council of the Academy. His portraits of Ken Dodd OBE and Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Evans form part of the National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection.
He has won many awards including being short-listed for the John Player Portrait Award in 1989. He won the John Brandler Prize at the RWA in 1993 and in 1999 won both the Public Prize and the Daler-Rowney Prize, also at the RWA.
He exhibits annually at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and New English Art Club, and for several years has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. He has had solo exhibitions at Beaux Arts in Bath, and in 1995 had his first one-man show at Messum's in London.