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Obituary: Brian Delaney, artist who illustrated Jackie magazine

Brian Delaney beside some of his art work.

Brian Delaney of Dundee, who illustrated some of the UK’s best-selling magazines, has died aged 82.

In the 1960s and 1970s he drew the celebrity stories for Jackie, the massively successful publication for teenage girls.

He was born in Dundee in 1939 and lived at Dundonald Street and then Kinghorne Road and was educated at Clepington Primary School and Harris Academy.

Brian gained an art degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art where one of his tutors was Alberto Morrocco, head of the school of painting.

Some of Brian’s work for Buddy magazine.

His son, Evan Delaney, said: “He spoke of his time at the art college often and it was clear that Alberto made a great impression on him.

“Dad also like to remind us that he paved the way for the Tavern Bar in Hawkhill becoming something of an art school institution in the 1960s and 1970s – his sister Marlene was married to Bert McIntosh, the landlord.”

In 1961 he began working as a freelance illustrator for publishers DC Thomson.

A cover of the hugely successful Jackie magazine.

He met his future wife, Sandra Marshall, at the Palais in Dundee and they married in 1965 living in Baxter Park Terrace where they raised their two sons, Lee and Evan.

In 1979, the family moved to Seaforth Road, West Ferry, and, in 2000 to Tayport Road, Newport.

When Jackie magazine was at the height of its popularity, Brian illustrated its celebrity stories, his strength being in recreating likenesses.

He illustrated for many magazines including Romeo, Mandy, Diana, Misty, Patches and Buddy.

In later years, he produced The Professionals and Starsky and Hutch drawings for DC Thomson’s Tops comic, before working on IPC’s Grange Hill magazine.

Brian’s Delaney’s art work in Grange Hill magazine.

Thereafter, he was the second and final artist behind the Swedish version of superhero character, Kerry Drake that featured in Serie comic book.

Lee Delaney said: “He loved to work and when we lived in Baxter Park Terrace, as we were young children, he worked the night shift, taking his seat in the lounge, sleeping by day.

“It was not uncommon for him to put in a 14-hour shift to meet a deadline.

Brian and Sandra Delaney.

“Moving to West Ferry allowed him a dedicated workspace although he preferred the peace of the night and continued to work late.

“He was an avid reader of fiction, especially crime and biographies. Thousands of books remain at home as a legacy.

“He was a speed reader and could easily finish a book in a day.”

This interest led Brian to write many of the scripts for the Kerry Drake characters stories as well as producing the illustrations during his time working for the Swedish publisher Semic AB.

An Oor Wullie strip created by Brian Delaney for his grandson, Calum.

Other interests were movies, music and a fascination for television – both in content and as an advancing technology, always wishing to keep up with the newest sets and video recorders.

One character missing from Brian’s resumé is Oor Wullie.

When his fellow DC Thomson artist Dudley D Watkins passed away, Brian was mooted as his replacement to be entrusted with Oor Wullie and The Broons.

An album covering created by Brian Delaney featuring his grandson, Calum, and Oor Wullie.

However, he was considered too valuable by his department and remained in position, said Brian’s son, Lee.

In later life, Brian created a custom Oor Wullie strip and annual cover as a keepsake featuring his grandson, Calum, now 18.

Lee said: “Calum grew up in the south of England and we always had Oor Wullie and The Broons in the house. Calum was charmed by them and learned the Dundee dialect from the script.”

Brian was also an accomplished painter, and, in later life, used his time to create many original works as well as reproductions of a wide range of art he admired, from Monet to Norman Rockwell.

“Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s gradually took hold, his intellect and abilities were gradually stolen away,” said Lee.

Brian is survived by his wife, Sandra, sons Lee and Evan, grandchildren Calum, Madeline and Matthew.

You can read the family’s announcement here.