Dave's own vision of his studio!
Dave Follows - the cartoonists' cartoonist
The characters drawn by Stafford-born Dave Follows are famous all over the world. And, when Dave died in 2003, his fellow cartoonists determined that the man himself should be remembered through tributes
See a cartoon on the page - laugh out loud, or even just smile - and you'll have made someone's day. And that person is - the person who drew that cartoon.
In North Staffordshire, many people laugh with and love "May un Mar Lady" - a comic strip written in Potteries dialect about a slob and his long-suffering wife.
BBC Radio Stoke listeners remember the cantankerous "Owd Grandad Piggott" - and it was Dave Follows who put a face to this character.
Dave also saw his "Creature Feature" syndicated in newspapers worldwide. He drew around 5,400 strips for this - an output admired by his colleagues.
Born in Stafford
Stafford-born cartoonist Dave Follows lost his fight for life in 2003, but his wonderful characters and his prolific work continue to raise even the most involuntary grin among those who see it.
Dave's working life began on the factory floor and he actually started working as a full-time cartoonist in the early 1970s.
Another vision of Dave in his studio
But it was not straightforward even then. Noel also remembers that Dave had to strat and do it the hard way: "Dave was due to do a strip cartoon about "The Last of the Summer Wine" for the Daily Star. But on his very first day working full-time as a cartoonist the paper rang and said the deal was off. Dave said he sat there and cried. And his wife Audrey came in and said: 'There's no use sitting moping, get on with it and be funny!'".
Tributes from his peers
The man who made North Staffordshire smile - in the words of his fellow cartoonists…
"Dave's contribution to the world of cartooning was signficant.
"He was a natural, but I'm sure he did work at it…you want to be seen as a 'cartoonist's cartoonist' - and that's what Dave was."
"He was modest. I don't think I know anyone more modest than Dave when it came to cartooning. That came to light when we did a trip to New York and one of the American cartoonists said: 'Is that Dave Follows? I just love your work!' Dave spluttered through it then came up to me and said 'That was really embarassing - he must've mistaken me for someone else'"
"Dave was one of the most unassuming and modest of craftsmen who was probably the only person on God's earth who genuinely had no idea as to why his work was held in such high esteem. He would giggle like a little kid and get all flustered when anybody paid him a compliment or gave him an award."
"The business of cartooning has radically altered in the last five years because of technology. We thought Dave would be a great luddite because he was a very matter-of-fact fella - but he took to it like a duck to water! Radio-controlled pens on a tablet, that's how we work now."
Dave joined four other cartoonists training future hopefuls in his art. Apparently, he was an inspiring teacher …
"Dave had more catchphrases than Bruce Forsyth.
"His kind, generous, modest and sensitive nature, love of a good pint and his pipe, and an obstinacy that could drive you nuts!"
"Dave was such an unassuming fella - he hadn't got an unkind bone in his body.
- but was not so fond of business meetings...
The cartoonists' cartoonist
The Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain is one organisation aimed at promoting their work - and, more importantly, boosting social contacts within what is often a rather solitary professional life. Dave was a very active member!
Dave lost his battle against cancer on October 17 2003.
"His last laugh on Noel was to get him to do the eulogy - 'cos Noel would rather stick his hand in the fire than stand up and speak in public." Steve Chadburn
"I rang up Dave asking for an interview for the Feco newsletter 'The Foghorn' and he said: 'Before I go, you mean?' And, when I rang him back about two or three weeks later he was very busy, but he said: 'No, no, I must do it because I may not be here next week'. I was amazed at his inner strength. He never really complained, Dave."
"You can't do better than remember somebody for being a genuine person - a good family man, a successful career as a cartoonist from a humble background - and modest with it - generous and popular socially and professionally."
Dave Follows (October 3 1941 - October 17 2003), left his wife of 38 years Audrey, and sons Darren, Steve and Chris.
Emma Carson (a fan and grateful pupil)
last updated: 23/12/2009 at 08:32
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