Frank McDiarmid is an artist, caricaturist, and cartoonist best known for his illustrations of Rodger the Dodger in The Beano comic strip, between 1973 and 1984. He’s also a good pal of MadeBrave’s, and has recently been helping us out with drawings for friends and clients over at Radisson Blu.
As great admirers of Frank’s work, we invited him up to the studio for a cup of tea, a catch up and a chance to pick his creative brain.
“I have drawn since childhood”, Frank tells us. “A series of happy accidents took me to Dundee after National Service, in 1955. I’d applied for, and managed to land, a job with DC Thomson as a trainee cartoonist. There I spent 11 years soaking up experience and talent, after which I went freelance.”
“What with there being a lot of London comics starting up then, my career flourished until, in the late 80s, the market began to shrink again. And so, in 1993, I opened my own gallery and for the next 7 years I painted avidly, leaving in 2000 to work again from home.
I paint in oils, watercolours and pastels, drawing one-off full-colour bespoke caricatures, and going on the road to caricature bookings at weddings, corporate and charity events.”
With the ever-changing industry and rise of technological advances, we asked for Frank’s take on the decline of the traditional comic book market and if he’s ever considered illustrating for TV, digital animation or moving pictures.
“Of course I regret the unstoppable demise of the traditional comic, but nothing lasts forever. The thought of illustrating for other industries may have crossed my mind, but as of yet it’s gone no further; though never say never. Over 11 years I wrote about 50 scripts for Roger the Dodger, and still, to amuse myself, write nonsense verses to accompany animal drawings. A book for the future? Who knows…”
“My advice to anyone looking to become a professional illustrator would be; develop a style of your own- then perfect it, and study the opposition.”
And we believe that’s good advice for folk in every area of the creative industries…