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Couple pen the story of their life in cartoons

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 19, 2013

  • Terry Bave with one of his creations in Whizzer and Chips

  • Cartoonist Terry Bave and wife Shiela reading Terry's new book Cartoons and Comic Strips surrounded by his work Pictures: Rob TIbbles

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A cartoon-crazy couple have toasted retirement from their beloved field of work by launching a book about their careers.

Renowned cartoonist Terry Bave, famous for his drawings in top comics The Beano and Whizzer and Chips, teamed up with wife Shiela, a script-writer, in 1969.

The pair, who now live in Braunton, North Devon, went on to forge a remarkable partnership working together for a number of popular publications.

While it is Terry's name on the front cover of Cartoons and Comic Strips, Shiela has made a huge contribution.

The book describes the 40 years the pair, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year, had in the business and shows many of Terry's best drawings from the thousands he had published.

Terry, 81, said: "From the first moment I set eyes on my comic book Dandy at the age of four, I knew that was the only thing I wanted to do.

"I realised I was quite good at cartoon drawing after I'd watched Snow White at the cinema.

"I was fascinated by the characters and ran home to draw them. All I did for the next few weeks was draw the characters again and again. I drew on any available paper going. I loved it.

"People say I am gifted but I had to work hard at it. You have to with anything in life."

Terry and Shiela met at the tender age of 14 when they both worked as bank clerks in Kensington, London.

Despite being called up to the army for two years Terry continued his sketching at every opportunity. Following a number of failed attempts to get anything printed, Terry made the crucial breakthrough on January 9, 1954.

Film magazine Picturegoer snapped up one of his cartoons paying him five guineas.

Terry's portfolio steadily grew over the next few years before he hit the big time in 1969. A new comic was being launched at the time called Whizzer and Chips.

The editor was desperate to land a quality cartoonist and more importantly, a scriptwriter.

"I had a meeting with this editor and he told me he wanted my work," said Terry. "But he had turned down quite a few script writers and asked me if I knew anyone.

"I asked him to try Shiela because I knew she was a good writer and she loved to read. Even today she reads anything and everything.

"So Shiela sent in a script for the new magazine. The editor absolutely loved it and that was the day we came into the world as a cartoonist and script partnership.

"Bouncing ideas between two people is so much better and more productive than there just being one of you. We did nearly everything together after that."

And that changed the pair's lives forever.

The 1970s proved the most prolific and successful decade for the duo as they worked together on sketches for Buster, Knockout, Beano, Dandy and Pow!

Terry even drew one of comics' most famous faces, Desperate Dan, for Dandy.

He also had sketches printed in The Sun and The Mirror.

One of the couple's most well-known creations was a character called Draculass in 1975 – an idea thought up by Shiela at a time when female characters were very rare.

"We had a brilliant time working together for so many years," added 82-year-old Shiela.

"Terry is a remarkably gifted man and brilliant at what he does.

"We have always worked so well together, in the bank, as cartoonist and scriptwriter and in the marriage.

"We are so lucky to have each other."

The pair eventually retired four years ago and have been working on the book since.

For further details about the book, see www.terrybave.blogspot.co.uk

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