Borders artist Andy doing comic turn

The Word's comic artist-in-residence,  Andy Waugh.
The Word's comic artist-in-residence, Andy Waugh.

A Hawick-born artist is exploring the funny side of life in the north east of England.

Andy Waugh, 36, has been appointed as comic book artist-in-residence at South Tyneside’s newest cultural venue, the Word, the National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields Market Place.

He has been commissioned to produce an original comic based on his time in the building.

Andy, who attended Hawick High School and whose parents Katy and Alan still live in the town, said: “Hopefully the finished work will be both funny and engaging and will explore the different role libraries are having to take on now as cultural hubs.

“In that way, the Word is similar to the Heart of Hawick.”

The comic will be published in time for the first Write Festival, to be held at the South Tyneside venue from June 21 to 25.

Andy’s full-time job is as programme leader for digital arts at Newcastle College.

Now living in East Boldon, near Sunderland, he graduated from Northumbria University with a BA in media production before studying for an MA in illustration and design at Sunderland University.

He said: “I’ve always loved and been fascinated by comics.

“I started reading the Dandy, the Beano and Marvel comics as a boy and have just progressed from there.”

He has self-published his own work and has also produced work as a freelance artist.

Andy, originally from Wilton Hill, added: “I’m really excited to get started at the Word. I plan to do a lot of talking to the wide range of people who use the library and listen to the stories that they tell.

“Libraries have changed over the years and are now used for many different reasons, and I want to reflect that change in my work.

“I hope the comic I produce will be funny, but it will also have something to say.”

Andy’s residency is funded by Arts Council England as part of the Arts in Libraries project and is managed by South Tyneside Council in partnership with the nearby Customs House venue in South Shields.

Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “Comics are an interesting tool for storytelling.

“They are striking, easy to read and enjoyed by people of all ages thanks to their diverse content.”