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Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 06:45
David Sutherland was born in Invergordon on 26/10/33. His mother died when he was two and he has a brother and a sister. He went to school in Lenzie. He never realised at first that he had any particular talent for art. His brother was a good artist, he had an influential teacher at school, Mr Allison. David's father was carpenter and would do little carvings and little paintings. He took a keen interest in art at school. His teacher would help him with portraits. He left school at age fifteen. His father did not think an artist was a proper job. He went for an appointment with an art agency in Glasgow, Rex Publicity Service, in 1948 and got a job.
06:45 - 09:28
There were six apprentices and everyone was given an artist. You became the artist's 'boy'. He got the foreman artist. He mixed the paint, swept, cleared the artist's desk and lit the fires. He went to Glasgow School of Art in the evenings. He was there for five years, his time at the studio was his first time meeting professional artists. He would go home and try and copy their work. He enjoyed working in the studio.
09:28 - 11:20
During World War II his father was called up in 1941. David went to go live with two aunts. When his father came back from war he got a house and wanted David to live with him but David wanted to stay with his aunt.
11:20 - 22:42
Whilst in the studio, he would copy covers of magazines which would be displayed on Buchanan Street. He would also do cinema advertising. He would fill in letters for cinema adverts. He would also paint boards for cinema adverts but these were later destroyed. He later moved to the illustration department. The government later introduced a tax on cinema advertising. He also did posters for travel agents. He also did work on chocolate boxes, whiskey labels and fruit labels where he would use techniques such as airbrushing. He also did some work for a thread company. There were also some trademarks which he had to design. He was once asked to go to a hospital to draw pictures of surgeries but he refused.
22:42 - 22:58
He did his National Service 1952-1954 in Egypt. He and his friend, Ronnie, started a little company, Scope Studios. He then worked for Phoenix Art where he did his labelling. His mother-in-law printed out a competition in the Sunday Post for young artists. He submitted some work and got a prize. He was then contacted and got a job doing comics.
22:58 - 39:25
He really enjoyed doing comics, he enjoyed the freedom. He started doing freelance work for DC Thomson but was also a commercial artist in Glasgow. While in Glasgow he would do jobs such as painting in a restaurant. After about a year of doing both jobs he moved through to Dundee in 1959. "Danny and a Dolphin" was his first picture story. "Great Flood of London" was another one of his works. Harry Crammond was the script writer for his comic, he was a friend as well as his boss. He had to do lots of research for "Great Flood of London". It is a story about the North Pole melting and London being flooded under fifty feet of water. He needed to know what things would be seen if London was submerged under fifty feet of water, a lot of research goes into drawing. "Great Flood of London" appeared in the Beano. He had done a job before where he worked with Harry Crammond. Polls at the time showed that picture stories were down but cartoons remained high.
39:25 - 48:50
He used to copy Walt Disney cartoons. While at DC Thomson the artist who was drawing Dennis the Menace, David Law, was not well. He was asked to take over some of the drawing to help him out. David Law died and he continued to draw Dennis the Menace for twenty-eight years, he also took on the Backstreet Kids. He has drawn 2111 editions of the Backstreet Kids. He is given scripts but also has some freedom. The early scripts he was given were very detailed but later on he was given much more freedom to draw. He says that a good working relationship with the script writer is very important. There were about eight different script writers. He enjoys drawing animals, and feels that a sense of humour is a pre-requisite for being an illustrator. He has been with the Beano for fifty years.
48:50 - 50:09
When he started at the Beano they sold two million copies a week and it only cost 2p. He used to read the Beano himself when he was young, however, he was not allowed to read it until his dad came home.
50:09 - 51:16
He says that Dudley Watkins is among the greats. Watkins created many characters such as "Oor Wullie" and "The Broons". David also says that Paddy Brennan is a great illustrator and Leo Baxendale is a great cartoonist.
51:16 - 52:36
David continues to draw on a board and would never draw on a computer. He recalls a time when he once mentioned that he did not enjoy drawing bicycles and the script writer put many in the comic.
52:36 - 59:23
Dudley Watkins, who David regards as among the greats, died on the job. David had to carry on the drawing he had started. He also took over the Biffo from him. David mentions how having to work to deadlines was a crucial part of the job. He also mentions that it can be difficult to swap styles between the different cartoons.
59:24 - 1:06:34
He enjoyed the Great Flood of London immensely. He says that many things have come out well and has never had moments when his mind goes blank. He says that some artists reach a stage where they struggle to come up with ideas. He has been doing the Backstreet Kids for fifty years and says that his style has developed and improved over time and that things have a better flow.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
He was born in 1935 as an only child in Lochee, in a nursing home. When he was 6 he moved to 35 Boldoven Terrace which he recalls liking, especially the neighbours and the dog. His father worked in the Jute industry until he went to fight in the War and James went to live with his grandparents and aunts.
He began school at the age of 6, initially attending Cleblands and then attending The Morgan in 1947. While Teachers were sparse he believes the War had no impact on the quality of his education.
His loyal cinema was The Royalty, only a few minutes walk from where he lived. Mr Butcher was a projectionist there and used to give James small clippings of film. When he couldn't afford to watch a film, Mr Butcher would open a window to let him listen. The cinema was very popular with the kids and James recalls the worst punishment being not being allowed to go and watch the films. It used to cost 6 pence to sit downstairs and 9 pence to sit upstairs.
He felt special when he attended Clebland, as he was top 3 in his class and was very creative. However when he moved to The Morgans he became a "sheep" and was known by Smith, which made him feel like he was loosing his identity. He started writing and selling comics when he was young which he believed catapulted him into his love for printing. He left in year 7 and attended Art College for 4 years and then taught for 10. He didn't enjoy teaching much but it aided his lifestyle financially
He worked in the Dundee Rep Theatre with some friends from school. James notes his preference for the entertainment industry and specifically the level of presentation involved in this. He recalls the late nights and fish suppers he would get after the shows and how he felt almost in a daze
After teacher training he was given a trial run, doing 2 and a half days at 'Grove' and two and a half days at 'Logie'. He was employed at Broughty Eater Primary School, he didn't enjoy working here and he felt unwanted. He then worked in the 'Rainbow' Primary School.
26.40 - 31.10
To escape national service he moved to secondary teaching in St Michaels where he taught geography for two years before moving to art. Recalls Mr Moore, the head of his, department being a very kind man and the moment he knew teaching wasn't for him. He also reflects on corporal punishment and that many problems arose once this had been stopped.
He believes children today are being let down by todays education system. When he left teaching, he continued printing by renting two rooms on Form Street for 3 years. He printed for businesses and his church and became one of the biggest suppliers for youth and community services which later moved onto the council. He recalls his aunts experience with war work and her musical talent.
Aged 10 he took piano lessons and found playing to be very thereputic. However, when he moved to highschool he focused more on writing. He had played the organ at church after the organist suffered an injury but never stuck with it as he found it to be too intricate.
In college he started a film circle. While living in south Tay Street he made one of his rooms into a small cinema room. He set up a cinema at the foot of Roseangle and called it 'The New Electric Junction Picture Palace' before he was forced to move out. He found himself in partnership with someone "less than honest" years later he had to leave again. He described this as "jumping out the frying pan into the fire". He opened another on West Bell street and called it 'The Britannia'
In 1977 he married a "country lass", and moved from Eden street to live in Whitefield. Around 2008 he heard that Whitfield was getting a new building and wanted to turn one of the rooms into a cinema come lecture room with tiered seating. At first they didn't have a license and showed only public domain short films. When they got their license the first picture they showed was 'The Artist' (2011). People were not charged to see the film as company 'Link Up' funded it, however people were asked to make a small donation and food and drink was sold.
1.01.03 - 1.07.30
They had a children's club and James disliked it because the children wouldn't settle. He doesn't believe that big chain cinemas should be called cinemas because they lack the behind the scenes talent because everything its done digitally and no projectionists are needed now. He also recalls a film called 'The Smallest Show on Earth' about lower budget cinemas.
1.07.03 - 1.16.01
When asked about his favourite films he recalls 'Laxdale Hall' and talks about how its was the people's favourite, recalling how his friend would rent it over and over until the store sold him it. He was in a Dundee cinema society and loosely considered filming his own movie. He is a member of the Scottish Association of Movie Makers, an umbrella group of all camcorder groups in Scotland. He enjoys editing and appreciates modern editing and the fact that nothing is ever lost, unlike with old fashioned editing. His only ambition is death and credits cinema to one of the few reasons he's alive after his wife's death.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 02:45
She was born in 16/01/1951. She studied textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone starting in September 1968. Her mother was a knitwear designer and always had something on the go at home. Therefore Sheila was always using fabric from a young age, eg creating dresses for dollies. She went to Grove Academy in Broughty Ferry. When she started university she always knew that she would one day go into teaching.
02:45 - 03:46
She only ever considered going to DJCAD. People did not travel as much as they did back then it was not as easy to get funding. She was reliant on her parents still for financial support.
03:46 - 07:24
There was a two year general course before specialising. She always wanted to do printed textiles and embroidery but the general course forced her to do other things which she thinks was a good idea. She did things such as graphics, photography and sculpture. The tutors were mostly painters but they were all fantastic.
07:24 - 12:38
Her textiles teacher was Willie Watt who she describes as a very flamboyant character. His classes were great fun and they always had a laugh. Her embroidery teacher was Marion Stewart. She was a very strong character and was quite strict. Marion had been to Glasgow School of Art and taught at Aberdeen before coming to Dundee.
12:38 - 17:09
Needlework Development Scheme Collection (NDS Collection): She was aware of the collection but it was not brought out very often.
17:09 - 21:14
She remembers being influenced by Joseph ?'s book called [Book about Colour]? It was a book full of palates of different colours which could be taken out. She was also influenced by Bauhaus. She was also influenced by people such as Roy Guild, Bob Green and Ian Fern.
21:14 - 25:35
She remembers Roy Guild who always wore a white lab coat type thing and did lots of work with stained glass. She also remembers Bob Miller Smith who was a graphics tutor but later became principal. He was very open and approachable.
25:35 - 26:28
Chester Matthews was the principal at the time but they did not have any interaction with him.
26:28 - 28:58
One other student did embroidery but there were eight textile students in her year all of whom were girls. Three of them are still in Dundee and one of them now lives in Norway. This student married a Norwegian architect and consciously came to Dundee rather than Glasgow School of Art because her last name was Honeyman, the granddaughter of Tom Honeyman. There was also a mature student in her year from Elgin who had been a radiographer.
28:58 - 33:37
Students mixed together a lot even after you had chosen your specialism. The student canteen was a real hub. There was a Canteen Queen award for first year girls. There was also the Revels at Christmas time. They were always fancy dress and had a different them. Her final year had a cowboys and Indians theme which included a jail and a stagecoach. You got to know everyone . The college was much smaller. In her first year she remembers Pink Floyd performing at the college.
33:37 - 35:33
She stayed at home during her time as a student.
35:33 - 39:19
There was a huge pressure in the lead up to the show. They were given a project to do by Marion and had six weeks to do it. They also had to design a stitch panel for the newly built DUSA building at the time. She repeated her second year. She failed a bit of coursework. She was one of about twenty or thirty students who failed that year.
39:19 - 44:05
Many of the students at the time went on to do teaching after art college. There were very few other options, especially for those who had done textiles.
44:05 - 45:30
She remembers the old Overgate being built.
45:30 - 49:33
In her third year she went on a trip to Amsterdam. This involved getting a bus followed by a ferry. They were taken to the Van Gogh museum and the Reiches Museum where they saw work by Vermeer. While there one of her friends went to Utrechtwhere they found the Schröder House.
49:33 - 53:48
She did her teacher training in Aberdeen. She hated it at first and considered leaving after the first term. Her second placement however was to Fraserburgh Academy and she loved it. Her first job after finishing her training was at Banchory Academy where she taught general Art and Design.
53:48 - 01:01:00
She and former students of Marion Stewart formed the embroidery group Embryo in 1980. They formed the group so that they would always be able to produce work and hold exhibitions. At the time of forming the group they realised that often real life can get in the way of creating artwork. They had a full committee and put on exhibitions every eighteen months in places all over Scotland and in different parts of the UK. Around the time of the millennium they teamed up with groups from Edinburgh and Glasgow to form EDGE.
01:01:00 - 01:11:39
In the early 1990s she worked part-time at Dundee College. She then however got into behavioural support. The pupils she worked with were mostly boys and very disadvantaged. Connect 5.
James Hamilton Gray
British Association for the Advancement of Science: Tayside and Fife Branch
Ronald Paterson Doig
Mrs Jane Mercer
Dundee College Of Education
Kate Stewart Fraser
William Fraser Mitchell
Dundee Institute of Architects
Dundee University Students' Association
Dr. William Christie
Ashwell & Nesbit Ltd
The Association for Science Education (ASE)
Professor Robert Percival Cook
University of Dundee Archive Services