The Shepherd King

Tuesday, 24th August 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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Frank Bellamy, David, The Shepherd King

Link to full size image of this strip.

When I was compiling a page about my juvenile work the other day I came across an information picture strip on Living Fossils written by George Cansdale for the Eagle comic in the 1950s. It was loosely stuck to a page of my schoolboy Prehistoric Animals project. I gently peeled back the cutting to reveal, on the reverse side, this gem of a picture strip from David, The Shepherd King, one of the Eagle's regular back page Bible stories series.

Frank Bellamy by Jeremy Grayson, Radio Times, November 1975?
Frank Bellamy, photograph by Jeremy Grayson, Radio Times, November 1975?

Frank Bellamy (1917-1976), the artist, said in a Radio Times article: 'I'll never cheat at drawing. If I'm in doubt, I use myself as a model. I know I've occasionally caught myself snarling in the mirror.'

He was a huge influence on my work from school through to art college.


Saul, Frank Bellamy, c. 1958

The King's Apprentice

(in my dreams)

Cartimandua Venutius

I can hardly bring myself to include one of my Bellamy-influenced drawings alongside the real thing but here are a couple from around 1975, drawn towards the end of my time at the Royal College of Art. It's from the picture strip format local history section of my first book, A Sketchbook of the Natural History of the Country Round Wakefield.

The first shows Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes, the local Iron Age tribe, below Castle Hill, Huddersfield, handing over the rebel King Caratacus to the Romans.

The second shows Venutius, ex-husband of Cartimandua, making his last stand against the Roman IXth Legion at his stronghold in the Yorkshire Dales.

chariotUnlike Bellamy I did 'cheat': Cartimandua's chariot is from the set of Airfix Ancient Britons, one inch high figures which matched the scale of model railways. Did Airfix think that Stonehenge was a prototype for the monorail?

That's enough nostalgia for today.

If it looks like art it's probably someone else's art

I think the point about all this is that we've got to have heroes and absorb what we can of their work when we're developing as artists but if you try too literally to immitate an artist you admire your drawings will look mannered. Bellamy went off and scowled in a mirror to see how a drawing should work. He didn't, thank goodness, go to check out how Joseph Shuster drew Superman.

I'm not as good looking as Bellamy was, so I tend to avoid mirrors! Next Page

Related Links


Airfix Figures

Frank Bellamy

Richard Bell,

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