Saturday, May 06, 2017

Ian Dickson

The Swift Annual, and others published by Hulton, often ran three- or four-frame strips as fillers. One of the most prolific contributor of these was Ian Dickson who also contributed to Eagle Annual and Girl Annual.

Ian Oscar Dickson was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, on 15 January 1905, the son of Mary Anne Dalgleish Trainor, an unmarried 25-year-old New Zealander who married Albert Wilson Dickson in 1906. After living for some time with his grandmother, Dickson joined his mother, step-father and step-siblings in Melbourne at the age of eight.

A self-tought artist, Dickson became something of a world traveller, seeking out work as a cartoonist and illustrator wherever he was. His earliest work appeared in the Adelaide Register News Pictorial, the Brisbane Telegraph and tourist brochures for the Queensland government. His first booklet of colour cartoons was published in 1931, The Adventures of Wacko, featuring "Australia's Own Comic Kid", a hard case Australian youngster "who is destined to become a firm friend of hosts of children." (So said the Brisbane daily Telegraph, 21 November 1931) "Wacko's adventures cover a wide field, but whether in school, at home, or at play, this fellow is unmistakably funny without being idiotic. His pet goat Lavender, his parents, schoolmates, and other characters are brought into the series, and publication as a whole is bound to win popularity in many Australian homes."

After visiting England,he spent several months in 1934 in Ceylon and, after briefly returning to Australia, he returned at the end of the year, working for the Times of Ceylon and Ceylon Observer. Returning to England in 1935, he produced illustrations for film companies and work for Razzle, Punch, London Opinion, Men Only and Blighty, often drawing glamour girls. During the War he served with the R.A.F.

For 15 years he drew 'Mum' each week for the Sunday Graphic and his cartoons also appeared in the Daily Mirror.

He died in Surrey on 21 July 1987. He was married in 1941 to Mary Catherine Pownall (1912-1994) and they had a son, Peter, born the same year.

(* Illustrations are from Swift Annual 6 (1959) and are © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd. Some of the biographical information above is derived from Dictionary of British Cartoonists and Caricaturists 1730-1980 compiled by Mark Bryant and Simon Heneage; the photo is from Expanded from its original appearance on 24 January 2007.)

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