New auction of artworks by “Misty” and “Tammy” artist John Armstrong opens

A further selection of artwork by Misty and Tammy comic artist John Armstrong is being sold on eBay by the downthetubes team, on behalf of his estate.

Most of the artworks on offer – some larger pieces on cartridge paper – are work he created during his college days, before he began his long career in book illustration and comic strip work, but reflect his obvious skills as a draughtsman.

Among the items is a Robinson Crusoe artwork measuring roughly 27cm x 38cm on board, that, while undated and unsigned, may have been an illustration considered for inclusion in one of several “classic adventure” books commissioned by British publisher Nelson. John both created the covers and interior art for these titles, which retold the stories such as Robin Hood, The Pilgrim’s Progress and Don Quixote.

Robinson Crusoe art by John Armstrong, possibly unpublished
Robinson Crusoe art by John Armstrong, possibly unpublished

John’s daughter, Sue, has a copy of the published book, but this art for sale here isn’t included. The dog is believed to be the family pet, which may have been called Ned.

Comic artist John Armstrong at the Raptus convention in 2003. Photo courtesy Jenni Scott
Comic artist John Armstrong at the Raptus convention in 2003. Photo courtesy Jenni Scott

John Armstrong, who passed in 2018 aged 94, took to drawing at an early age, and started as a commercial artist for a Newcastle advertising agency, eventually taking samples of his work to London and, first drawing comics in the 1950s, initially a ballet story, “The Mystery Ballerina“, for Girl’s Crystal, as well as other work for the title, followed by “Cherry and the Children“, which continued in School Friend.

John is best known for his work in Misty and Tammy, especially for “Bella at the Bar”, the character’s initial stories written by Jenny McDade recently republished by Rebellion, but his work also includes “Moonchild” for Misty, written by Pat Mills and also re-published by Rebellion, and “Grange Hill” for Beeb.

Toward the end of his comics career he worked for DC Thomson, on strips such as “The Secret Gymnast” for Bunty (he worked in colour for the first time since creating some covers for the Girl’s Crystal annuals in the 1950s, on Bunty covers and annuals).

All his work was based on people he knew. Bella, for example, was based on his girlfriend’s niece, so he drew her from life and Bella herself aged in the strip.

Outside of comics, he was known for his love of horses and ice skating, and drew promotional art for local rinks until illness prevented him from drawing on a regular basis.

All the artworks by John Armstrong in this latest “John Armstrong Life Studies” set, being sold by downthetubes on behalf of his estate, are offered on eBay here

• You can read our tribute to John here on downthetubes; a celebration of his life here; and John himself also wrote his own article about his life as an artist in 2003, which you can read here

• Join “The Art of John Armstrong” Facebook Group

Categories: Art and Illustration, Books, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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