Jim Eldridge is an artist who drew the long running serial “The Four Marys” in it’s final years (along with some other stories). He has kindly answered some questions on his timeworking for DCT and other comics.
Jim got his first work with DCT through LINK studios, under the agent Doris White. Another well known artist, Barrie Mitchell, also started his career in the same studio and both of them drew Roy of the Rovers strips at different times and have a similar style. This has led to some confusion of their work, but Barrie Mitchell did not draw The Four Marys, that was all Jim’s work. While Jim did draw other stories, it being so long ago, he can’t remember all the jobs he worked on then, and certainly none were as long as the time he spent on The Four Marys.
“When I joined LINK studios I had already has my first strip “Tarzan” printed for the TV Comic. I did various artwork jobs for DCT while with LINK studios but none for IPC. I wasn’t with them very long, I then moved to another agent “Roger & Co.” run by Jack Wall and Kate Woolley, while there I did draw a few “Wee Sue” for Tammy and also got my first strip for the Bunty comic “The Three Imps” and I also did “football libraries” for DCT. That agency was taken over by Temple Art Agency run by Patrick Kelleher, it was while there I was offered “The Four Marys” for Bunty, and I also did Roy of the Rovers on a few occasions. I was with Temple for about 20 years. When Bunty ended I moved again to SGA agency for a few years and then to Linda Rogers agency for a while. I have been with my current agent Paul Beebee of Beehive Illustration for the last 16 years and illustrated many hundreds of Educational Books for most of the main publishers.” [You can see some of Jim Edridge’s more recent work here: www.beehiveillustration.co.uk]
Jim got to know some other artists in the business; Barrie Mitchell, Mike White (Roy of the Rovers artist) and Mike Lacy, but there was no collaboration for Jim with the writers of the stories he drew for. He was just given the script, so he would just illustrate straight from script to final art. He only met with the Bunty editor Jim Davie, whom he got on very well with and he passed on the readers’ fan mail for The Four Marys to Jim. The Four Marys was a favourite with readers and many praised his artwork, the story was increased from 3 pages to 4 pages, keeping Jim busy as he had to produce this every week. He did have time for some other jobs but mostly The Four Marys kept him occupied enough, he had no idea it would run for 12 years and as a freelancer he was grateful for the steady work.
“With regard to The Four Marys. That was my favourite story to draw. I had no idea I would be drawing this story for 12 years [..] I also did Four Marys picture library’s and summer specials as well as the Four Marys weekly pages and it was my artwork that modernised them and in colour. It was an amazing long run to draw this story and I was thankful for the regular work. Being freelance. Looking back it was good to have drawn Bunty’s top story for 12 years.”
Of course sadly Bunty came to an end, but Jim has made his mark on the comic and is happily still working these days illustrating children’s books. “When Bunty finished it was a shock at the time, but I then moved on to Children’s book illustration”
List of Work:
- Beehive Illustration
- Football Picture Story Monthly
- Mike’s Mini-Men (Roy of the Rovers)
- Roy of the Rovers
- Tarzan (TV Comic)
- The Four Marys (Bunty)
- The Three Imps (Bunty)
- Wee Sue (Tammy)