Artist behind Beano favourites The Bash Street Kids made OBE

An artist who has drawn for the Beano for 60 years has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

David Sutherland, an artist with Dundee-based DC Thomson, is made an OBE for services to illustration.

Mr Sutherland, who was born in 1933, has been drawing The Bash Street Kids since 1962 and was responsible for Dennis the Menace from 1970 until 1998.

Mr Sutherland 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.

“Working on The Bash Street Kids for so long, these mischievous kids have become a second family to me, and I continue to love spending time in their company.

“To them – Danny, Toots and the rest – I’d like to extend my thanks, and of course to the readers, who I hope continue to enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy drawing them.”

Bash Street Kids
David Sutherland draws The Bash Street Kids (Beano/PA)

Mr Sutherland was born in Invergordon in the Highlands, the youngest of three children.

His mother died when he was two and his father had to work to support his three young children, so the young boy and his siblings moved to Stirling where his father’s family helped bring them up.

Shortly afterwards, the family moved to Kirkintilloch near Glasgow.

There, Mr Sutherland joined Rex Studios where he learned about art and illustration while attending evening classes at Glasgow School of Art.

In 1959, Mr Sutherland entered a drawing competition organised by DC Thomson in Dundee.

Dundee Bash Street Festival
Dundee was renamed Beanotown for the duration of the Dundee Bash Street Festival this summer (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Although he did not win, his entry made a good impression and he was offered the chance to illustrate adventure strips for the comic.

He began to work on Beano on adventure strips including 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 that he created his legacy.

He started on the strip in 1962 and continues to draw it to this day, delivering the Bash Street Kids comic strip every week for the past 60 years.