Cartoonist draws on reserves after cruel double blow
Malky McCormick loses wife just months after dementia diagnosis
DRAWING has been his life and, after a devastating diagnosis, Malky McCormick is still finding comfort in putting pen to paper.
One of Scotland’s best known cartoonists, Malky, 74, was told he had vascular dementia six months ago.
He endured another heartbreaking blow last month when his wife, Ann, died after a long battle with cancer. They had been married for 40 years.
Malky continues to draw, however, and lends an expert hand at a weekly art class at Kilmarnock’s dementia resource centre.
His daughter Jane, who lives in Manchester, comes back to Ayrshire as often as possible to be with her dad.
“He’s only been in respite care for a few weeks,” said Jane.
“Some days he is brilliant. But then there are others when he’s really confused.
“Although he was only diagnosed six months ago, we think he’s had it for two or three years.
“My dad’s like a cartoon, full of fun, so maybe that’s why it took so long for him to be diagnosed.”
Ann did everything for Malky, even when she was sick, so Jane knew her dad would go downhill when her mum passed away.
“He does know she’s dead, but it’s like he can’t put all the parts together and doesn’t realise it’s his wife,” she continued.
“I try not to upset him, so sometimes I’ll just say she’s gone to the shops.”
Malky, who also has two sons, Dominic and Sean, drew from an early age and was always a skilled caricaturist.
He worked for DC Thomson, drawing Biffo the Bear for The Beano, and contributed to a number of national newspapers.
He was also resident cartoonist on long-running STV game show, Win, Lose Or Draw. But Jane has her own special memories of her dad’s talents.
“When I was in primary one I had a lazy eye and had to wear an eye patch. “That’s the sort of thing that would get you bullied, but he would draw a different cartoon on it every week – a flower, Mickey Mouse – and instead it made me really cool.”
Malky’s friendship with Billy Connolly dates back to the ’70s. They collaborated on a comic strip for a Sunday newspaper as Billy’s comedic star rose.
Jane said: “He and Billy were as thick as thieves.” Malky revealed: “I met Billy through my band, The Vindscreen Vipers, and
we became friends. We ended up doing a collection of cartoons called The Big Yin, which I’m proud of.”
Other work he’s particularly fond of is a Rolling Stones drawing that the band autographed in 1966, a cartoon for the Celtic Opus book and a sketch of the Kilmarnock Scottish Cup-winning team of 1997.
It’s important for grandfatherof-five Malky’s family that he continues to attend the art class at the bustling resource centre.
The class is open to everyone and Malky is currently working with volunteer Liz Reid on a possible book.
Jane said: “Often he comes back from the art group and is in really high spirits. I love to hear him when he sounds like that.”
Malky added: “All of the places I worked in my career valued me as an artist. I’m enjoying working with Liz in the art class on a new project.”
Malky McCormick draws Sunday Post writer Murray at the dementia resource centre.
Malky’s Big Yin cartoon.
The caricaturist with daughter Jane and grandson Archie.