He is best known as the illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek‘s World War One novel The Good Soldier Švejk. He produced nearly 600 cartoons of the Švejk characters, depicting Austria-Hungary officers and civil servants as incompetent, abusive and often drunk. All the subsequent illustrations of Švejk followed Lada’s style.
Born in the small village of Hrusice in a cobbler’s family, he went to Prague at the age of 14 to become an apprentice binder. He loved to draw and paint. Entirely self-taught, he created his own style as a caricaturist for newspapers, and later as an illustrator. He wrote and illustrated the adventures of Mikeš, a little black cat who could talk.
Lada produced landscapes, created frescoes and designed costumes for plays and films. Over the years he created a series of paintings and drawings depicting traditional Czech occupations.