Saturday, 24 April 2010
Eric (Robbie) Roberts by the daughter Erica Farmer
Robbie relaxing in the 1950's
Robbie in RAF
Studio in the Strand
Eric (Robbie) Roberts
My father was born in South London in 1910.
His family were involved with the theatre and he had one sister.
My father was always called ‘Robbie’ and following theatrical tradition we were brought up to call our parents by their first names of Robbie and Barbie.
His parents and sister moved to Flushing, Long Island, New York after the Second World War.
My father always said he never passed an exam in his life, but obviously realised his talent was art and he was accepted and studied at (Central) St Martin’s School of Art, London.
He had a studio in the Strand in a circular tower and the shape made it very difficult to fit furniture in. The building is still there today.
In the Second World War he joined the RAF. Thankfully they used his talents as an artist and he soon broadened his work from technical drawings into poster and cartoon work bringing humour into instructions regarding safety and security procedures and this was officially appreciated and encouraged.
He met my mother, Barbie, during the war. She was in the WRAF.
They got married in a Register Office with two passers-by as witnesses in about 1947 and moved into my mother’s family house in Purley, Surrey.
I arrived in 1950 and was named after my father, ERIC Arthur Roberts and my sister, Amanda, arrived in 1953.
My parents lived in that same house in Purley until my father died in 1982.
My earliest memory is of my nursery which had a large frieze of pictures of Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto etc painted by my father in his style using radiant water colours with an Indian ink black outline which I loved as it was like stained glass.
After the war I think my father freelanced for Amalgamated Press and in the late 50’s I can remember my father covering for other artists and drawing Billy Bunter and Sinbad the Sailor.
Then he had a freelance contract with D C Thomson which included clauses that he was not allowed to work for anyone else or sign his work.
He would send his work to DC Thomson by rolling it into a spool, then wrapping it in thick brown paper, tied up with string and then sealing wax was applied to the knots and it was posted by the due deadlines. He was extremely professional and he would never even let the family post his work to D C Thomson for him. If there were postal problems he would deliver and collect his work to Fetter Lane or Fleet Street.
He always worked from home and his lifestyle was quite reclusive, although he had a very good sense of humour and could be extremely sociable.
He usually slept during the day and worked through the night.
His easel desk, plan chest etc and all the tools of his trade were in our front room, which co-incidentally was called our drawing room.
He was a pipe smoker for many years, smoking Golden Virginia Rough Cut tobacco and had a collection of pipes in a bowl by his side.
It was quite a large house and he had a back room downstairs as his DIY work room. He was definitely a hoarder of bits and pieces and they were everywhere that he said might come in handy at a later date. He enjoyed carpentry and was good at it and built us a very substantial see saw in the garden.
He always said that being an artist did not come easily to him and I think his work shows how regimented he was and his attention to research and detail. He was his biggest critic and worked extremely hard.
Because the comics came out weekly and there were the annuals to fit in, I never knew my father to take a break or a holiday and he was always working against time. When we were small he used to drive my mother and us to friends in Cornwall in the summer holidays, get the train home the next day and then come down and collect us. Latterly we went on our own.
The other reason he did not take a break was if he did not work he did not get paid.
I can only remember him being ill once with a very high fever and then he had a heart attack in the mid 1970’s and lung cancer in the early 1980’s, which he died of in 1982. Therefore I do not think many artists had to cover for him.
His work routine was he either received scripts from D C Thomson, or he came up with some of his own scripts, which would be sent to DC Thomson for alteration/approval. When they were approved he would map out a rough pencil draft of the strip and again post it to DC Thomson’s for alteration/approval before producing the final strip on special thicker white paper in Indian inks. He worked about eight weeks ahead of publication.
My father penned his own captions, which were always in capital letters. His actual writing was quite idiosyncratic.
My father did not have any contact with other artists and about every 5 years he would go up to D C Thomson’s in Dundee or his boss would come and stay with us. He was called Albert ‘Bert’ Barnes and he had a thick Scottish accent and facially was reckoned to be the inspiration for Desperate Dan.
We all had to be on our best behaviour for these visits and the house was cleaned from top to bottom.
Bert Barnes was the only person I ever remember calling my father Eric.
One bonus for us as children was if the comics ran a competition they needed a winner for the first week and we were often named as the winners......as no one could have had a chance to enter the competition, we ‘won’ and were given a collection of tartan scarves, hats and purses over the years.
My father did sometimes produce the crosswords for the annuals, but it was actually my mother that compiled the crosswords.
My father kept working till 1981 when he became ill with lung cancer.
After my father’s death in 1982 my mother was contacted and visited by a well known collector on the TV. He took the majority of my father’s work, comics and annuals to look at them, value them and perhaps offer to purchase them. She never heard from him again and he did not return her contacts. She did not feel able to pursue him further at that point in time.
Thank you so much to you and your wife taking the time to visit us today.
It was great to meet you both.
Thank you also for taking the time to bring over the comics and annuals for us to see.
I attach the documents I gave you.
I wish you every success with your cards, we were really taken with your work.
Also thanks for all your dedicated research into my father's work.
Let me know if you have any queries or updates.
Take care both of you.
I had a lovely time meeting Erica and her husband and lovely cakes..:)
Was sad to hear she had none of her Dad's drawings I'd suggested she contacted DC Thomson and maybe they could do a good scan of a original work for them.
Thanks Erica for your time and interesting information on top talent Eric 'Robbie' Roberts.
Alan Ryan (2) Albert 'Charlie' Pease (2) Albert Holroyd (1) Allan Morley (1) Andrew Christine (1) Andy Fanton (1) Andy Hunt (1) Antonio Lupatelli (1) Arnold (1) Arthur Mansbridge (1) Arthur Martin (2) Barrie Appleby (3) Barry Glennard (2) Basil Reynolds (3) Beano books (3) Beano comic libraries 1-100 (3) BEEB Magazine (3) Bert Felstead (2) Bill Hill (3) Bill Holroyd (9) Bill Lacey (2) Bill Ritchie (30) Bill Titcombe (5) Bob Dewar (4) Bob Hill (4) Bob McGrath (8) Brian Lewis (2) Brian Walker. (12) Brian White (1) Bunty comic (3) Buster comic (49) Buster comic covers 1987 (1) Buster comic covers 1988 (2) Buster comic covers 1990 (1) Buster Holiday Specials covers 1969-74 (1) Buzz comic (1) Carlos Cruz (2) Charles Griggs (9) Chas (1) Cheeky (2) Cheeky Weekly (11) Cheeky Weekly inside (2) Classics from the comics (3) Cliff Brown (2) Colin Whittock. (3) Comic fun mastheads (6) Comic fun page layouts (1) comicsuk forum great posts (2) Cor comic (7) Crackers comic (1) Cyril Price (2) Dave Jenner (2) David Gudgeon (1) David Mostyn (12) David Myers (1) David Parkins (1) David Sell (2) David Sutherland (11) Davy Law (9) Denis Grifford (2) Dick Millington (5) Dicky Howett (3) drawn adverts (10) drawn. covers. (7) Dudley D Watkins (13) Ed McHenry (2) Eric Bradbury (5) Eric Roberts (11) Evi de Bono (1) Fast Forward comic (1) Frank Mc Diarmid (33) Frankie Stein Book (2) Fred Robinson (1) free gifts in comics (1) Funny Fortnightly (1) George Drysdale (2) George Martin (16) George Parlett (1) George Wakefield (2) Gilbert Wilkinson (1) Giles (1) Gordon Bell (14) Gordon Hill (2) Gordon Hogg (3) Gordon Hutchings (1) Graham Allen (2) Graham Exton (1) Graham Webb (1) Happy Days (1) Harold Hare's own paper (2) Harry North (1) Hoot! comic (1) Howard McWilliam (1) Hugh McNeill (7) Hunt Emerson (3) Ian Kennedy (1) Ian Knox (9) ISPYSHHHGUY (Rab Smith) (3) Jack and Jill (4) Jack Clayton. (4) Jack Glass (1) Jack Prout (9) Jack.Edward Oliver (10) Jackpot (6) Jackpot. artists. (1) Jackpot. competitons (2) Jackpot. covers. (1) James Crighton (2) Jamie Smart (2) Jesus Blasco (1) Jim Baikie (1) Jim Hanson (4) Jim Petrie (15) Jim Watson (1) Jimmy Glen. (3) Jimmy Hughes (3) Jimmy Thompson (1) Joe Colquhoun (2) Joe McCaffrey (2) John Dallas (1) John Donnelly (1) John Geering (10) John M Burns (1) John Nichol (1) John Richardson (1) John Stokes (1) Juan Rafart (1) Judy comic (2) Julius Stafford Baker (1) Keith Reynolds (2) Keith Robson (1) Ken Harrison (5) Ken Hunter (13) Ken Reid (31) Ken Reid's Creepy Creations (2) Ken Reid's Creepy Creations 1-30 (1) Ken Reid's Creepy Creations 31-60 (1) Ken Reid's Creepy Creations 61-79 (1) Ken Reid's Wanted Posters (1) Knockout comic 70's (1) Krazy comic inside (8) Krazy covers. (1) Leo Baxendale (26) Les Barton. (8) Lew Stringer (6) Lion comic (1) Magic Comic 1930's (1) Malcolm Judge (2) Mark Bennington (1) Mark Rogers (1) Martin Baxendale (2) Mervyn Johnston (1) Michael (T) Green. (3) Mickey Mouse Weekly (1) Mike Brown (1) Mike Higgs (1) Mike Lacey. (31) Mike Western (5) Mike White (1) Millar-Watt (1) Mitch (2) Monster Fun comic (1) Monster Fun number 1 artists names (1) Murray Ball (2) Nadal (3) Nick Baker (3) Nick Brennan (1) Nigel Parkinson (5) Norman Mansbridge (3) Nutty (6) Oliver Passingham (1) Once Upon a Time comic (1) Original comic art (5) Paddy Brennan (11) Paul Ailey (2) Pete Dredge (1) Peter Davidson (1) Peter Ford (1) Peter Gray's Animal art (28) Peter Gray's Cartoons (27) Peter Maddock (1) Peter Woolcock (4) PG Tips my art thoughts (2) Phil Millar (1) Phillip Mendoza (3) Playhour comic (3) Princess Tina (1) Printing comics before computers. (1) Purita Campos (1) Puzzle page (1) Radio Fun (1) Reg Parlett (38) Reg Perrott (1) Rob Lee (4) Robert MacGillivray (1) Robert Nixon (21) Robin Gray my Dado (3) Roger Hargreaves...Mr Men... (7) Ron Smith (10) Ron Spencer (8) Roy Davis (1) Roy Wilson (5) Russell Brooke (2) School Fun (4) Scorcher comic (1) Score and Roar (1) Shamus O'Doherty (1) shiver and shake. (4) shiver and shake. covers. (6) Sid Burgon (11) Smash comic (1) Solano Lopez (5) Sparky (8) Sparky. numbering. (1) Stan McMurty (3) Steve Bell (2) Steve Bright (2) Steve Horrocks (1) Steve Munro (1) Studying comic art (19) Styx (Leslie Harding) (2) Terry Bave (12) Text stories in comics (1) The Beano (36) The Beezer (14) The Contents page (1) The Dandy (39) The Dandy artists and writers Oct 2010- (1) The Rover (2) The Topper (9) The Wizard (1) Tim Quinn (2) Tom Bannister (3) Tom Paterson. (24) Tom Williams (4) Tony Goffe (2) Tony Speer (1) Trevor Metcalfe (2) Triffik 1992. comic (2) TV Comic (4) Tv Help.1987. (1) Valiant (6) Vic Neill (4) W. H. Booth (1) welcome (1) Wham comic (2) Whizzer and chips (20) Whoopee Christmas covers (1) Whoopee!! (37) Whoopee. number. 1. (4) Wilfred Haughton (1) World Wide Weirdies 1974 (1) World Wide Weirdies 1975 (1) World Wide Weirdies 1976 (1) World Wide Weirdies 1977 (2) World Wide Weirdies 1978 (2) Wow comic (3) writers for comics (2)
- Peter Gray
- I'm a free-lance Pet Artist, Cartoonist and Big UK humour comic fan My main website https://www.facebook.com/petergrayart If you would like me to draw your pet please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I use your photo and will draw it on High Quality The Langton watercolour A4 paper and using Faber Castell black pencil. Commissions in black and white I like to draw close ups of the pets face and body rather than drawing the whole pet. Postage and Packaging £5 It was be presented mounted. For other sizes or you want it in colour using acrylics please email me.