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James Petrie

D.O.B. 02/06/1932. He was born and raised in Kirriemuir, Angus. He attended Websters Seminary Primary and Secondary school. They then discuss where his artistic talents come from and he tells of how his granny encouraged him to draw his uncle, who was a paratrooper. His mother was a weaver in Kirriemuir. They also discuss his enrolment to the teachers training college, Park Place. He went there from 1955-1956.

He describes how he was "ganged" into art college and teaching. He tried other jobs such as printmaking at D & Browns before leaving to do Junior Secondary and Primary in Lanarkshire, where he was for two years 1956-1958. When he came back to Dundee he worked in Kirkton Highschool for 10 years. He discusses notable pupils, he names Ricky O'Neil, a renowned Dundee photographer.

Mr Petrie discusses his transition from teacher to freelance artist. He started work while teaching in 1961. He would prepare work during the summer when the school was off and, eventually, he got in touch with Ian Chisholm, at DC Thompson. There he began working on the Beano, shadowing Leo Blaxandale. Until 1968 he was still teaching, he transitioned to fulltime artist in 1969.

The interview moves into what it was like to work in the comic industry at the time, specifically at DC Thompson. They discuss the process of drawing and pencilling, as well as the relationship between editor, script writers and artists, such as himself. His most notable character was Minnie the Minx. He worked for Cracker, Tophat, the Beezer as well as other assorted scripts.

They reflect on the comic industry, what's changed and what was successful then. He notes a particular comic that he would no longer feel is deemed 'pc' by todays standards, Minnie dressed as a "Red Indian". Mr Petrie nominates Davie Sutherland as a hero of his, because of his transition from black and white straight before moving into comics and caricature.

Mr Petrie is asked about life now he is retired. When asked about what he thought of someone else drawing Minnie the MInx, he doesn't feel like they got the faces right. He has done one page for the Beano since retiring, Fatty Fudge in the 2011 Christmas Beano.

Now that he is retired, he is a partner with the Dundee art society and involved with the Perth society. He sells his paintings at their exhibitions. He uses a lot of acrylic and has been painting some self-portraits for fun. When asked about enjoying his time as a freelance artist he replies, very much so.

Helen Gill Parker (nee Irons)

  • UR-STU 19
  • Collection
  • 1915-1917
(1-7) Copies of "Magazine of the Dundee Training College" Vol.X 1,2,3 Vol.X1 1, 2 and 3 and Vol. X11 1. 1915-1917 (8) Large photograph 'Outgoing Students 1917' with pictures and names of the students and staff.

Helen Gill Parker (nee Irons)