David Sutherland, Beano cartoonist, dies aged 89 | Comics and graphic novels
Beano cartoonist David Sutherland, who drew some of the UK’s most loved comic strips, has died aged 89.
The artist is known for his drawings for the Bash Street Kids and Dennis the Menace.
He was a cartoonist with Dundee-based DC Thomson, who announced his death on Thursday.
Beano editor John Anderson described Sutherland as “the single most important illustrator in Beano history”.
Paying tribute to the artist, Anderson said: “No one will ever repeat what David achieved over 60 years. He was one of a kind, a genuine legend. It is the end of an era.”
Christopher Thomson, chairman of DC Thomson, added: “The nation and its children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren have all loved David Sutherland’s joyous, happy, teeming-with-life, hilarious drawings nearly every single week in Beano for 60 years, he has touched the heart, tickled the funny bone and amused the eyes of millions.”
Sutherland made this year’s new year honours list, and had been made an OBE for services to illustration.
After his award was announced in December, the cartoonist said: “When I entered the DC Thomson art competition more than 60 years ago, I couldn’t have guessed where it might lead.
“I’ve been so lucky to be able to do something I love for a living, and work with so many talented writers whose words have helped bring these characters to life.”
Sutherland’s work with DC Thomson began in 1959 when he entered a drawing competition organised by the company.
Although he did not win, his entry made a good impression and he was offered the chance to illustrate adventure strips for the comic such as Danny on a Dolphin and The Great Flood Of London.
His talent was recognised and he was soon working on some of the most famous Beano strips, and understudied for established comic creators.
Between 1970 and 1998, he drew well over 1,000 episodes of Dennis the Menace.
But it was on the Bash Street Kids, which he started in 1962, and continued to draw every week for 60 years, that he created his legacy.
He drew his final comic strip at the end of last year which will appear in next week’s issue of the Beano, to be published on Wednesday.
Sutherland was born in Invergordon in the Highlands in 1933 and was the youngest of three children.
At the age of two, his mother died, so his father moved to Stirling to be with closer to family to help raise his children.
Shortly afterwards, the family moved to Kirkintilloch near Glasgow.
Sutherland joined Rex Studios where he learned about art and illustration while attending evening classes at Glasgow School of Art before going to work at DC Thomson.