Merlyn Evans was born in Cardiff. He attended Glasgow School of Art (1927-1930) and then held a scholarship at The Royal College of Art (1931–1933). After various travels and military service he settled in London, which was to remain the base for his work until his death.
He was a highly respected figure in the development of twentieth century British art, exhibiting at the Whitechapel and Tate art galleries. His importance is reflected in the fact that his works are to be found in most national collections and many overseas. Evans was a remarkable painter and draughtsman, but it might be argued that it was as a spectacularly gifted and inventive printmaker that he exerted his strongest influence. Between 1930 and 1973 he made around 100 etching, engraving and mezzotint plates most of which were printed in very small numbers. His technically complex work over the two decades after the war showed him to be the pre-eminent intaglio printmaker of the period.