Painter, mainly in watercolour, and draughtsman. His father was an amateur artist who worked as a cartoonist for the trade press. Aged 14 Yates attented Portsmouth School of Art for 18 months, where he showed talent for figure work and developed an ambition to be an illustrator. After joining a commercial studio aged 17 he became disillusioned with the disciplines there and painted abstract works in his spare time. Showed with AIA, London Gallery and had a solo show at Foyles Gallery aged 19. While in Army during World War II did documentary work which was bought by War Artists' Advisory Committee, now in Imperial War Museum, at the same time producing pictures with a personal symbolism. After the Army worked as a freelance commercial artist and on the staff of a leading London advertising agency, while continuing to paint part-time. Yates had a solo show at Belgrave Gallery in 1989, a retrospective at Chappel Galleries, Chappel, Essex, in 1992.