An Angus artist proved as fleet of foot as his most famous characters before his latest exhibition.
Frank McDiarmid, 84, known as the “master of cheekery”, was left with a “stack of work and a petted lip” after getting his exhibition dates mixed up.
Mr McDiarmid, who drew the famous Roger the Dodger character in the Beano, put together an exhibition of work to be shown in May and June at Whitehills Hospital in Forfar, only to discover the booking was actually for May and June 2020.
The exhibition is now running over the next two months in The Pavilion @ Stracathro café with 20% of sales being used to enhance the environment for patients and visitors.
Originally from Glasgow, Mr McDiarmid, who now lives in Arbroath, trained as a cartoonist and illustrator with DC Thomson in Dundee, where he worked from 1955 to 1966.
He was known for his work on Roger the Dodger and on titles such as Whizzer and Chips, Cheeky Weekly, Krazy Comic, Whoopee!, Wow! and Monster Fun.
He is best remembered for his work on the Cheeky comic from the 1970s to the 1990s and he still receives fan mail at the age of 84.
“He was so anarchic and I was really given a free hand with Cheeky,” he said.
“Gordon Cook from Friockheim put together the script and I was allowed to be creative.
“I was able to have a lot of fun with the character and I think that was my happiest period in the comic scene.
“It was a real pleasure to draw it because of the freedom I was given.
“Even to this day I still get fan mail from people asking me to draw Cheeky for a special occasion and I’m always happy to oblige.”
After developing his fine art skills, Mr McDiarmid had his own art gallery in Arbroath when he started to work from home until 2000.
He now runs art classes in Montrose but still does caricatures at events and for special birthdays.
The exhibitions at the café, which is in the grounds of Stracathro Hospital, are changed around every eight weeks and local artists are invited to display their work.
“This came about because I went to Whitehills hospital to say hello and I was told they’d book me in for May and June,” he said.
“I painted, painted and painted and got all my work in bubble wrap and loaded into the car.
“It was at this point that I realised I hadn’t heard anything from the organiser for a while and called her up.
“She told me it was actually booked for May and June 2020, so here I was with a stack of work and a petted lip and nowhere to exhibit.
“Stracathro offered me a place for eight weeks and I’m absolutely delighted because it’s a very good cause.”
The café is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 3.30pm.
The majority of the art on display at the gallery is for sale, with each participating artist donating 20% commission of sales to Stracathro Hospital.