Car­toon­ist draws on re­serves af­ter cruel dou­ble blow

Malky McCormick loses wife just months af­ter de­men­tia di­ag­no­sis

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - Memory Walks - By Mur­ray Scougall mscougall@sun­day­post.com

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.

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