BOB Nixon was a member of that select group of artists who toiled 52 weeks a year producing strips for comic weeklies. His ability with a pen was such that Euan Kerr, editor of the Beano, recalls: ''He could draw something out of the phone book and make it funny''.

In Nixon's heyday the two main comic publishers, Fleetway and D C Thomson, printed a dozen comic titles every week. Nixon worked on strips for Whoopee!, Whizzer And Chips, and Cor!!, following time with the Beezer, the Topper, Sparky, the Beano, and the Dandy. Latterly he drew just for the Beano. This work represented, however, only part of a colossal output.

Robert's pen created his trademark style of a clear sharp storyline in which characters assumed their own identities. When he took over Little Plum in 1964 the character danced over the red, white, and black pages, for Nixon added characterisation to a walk, a stance, an inclination of the head.

One of a family of six born to a Middlesbrough steelworker, Bob's artistic abilities quickly showed at school, and he won a scholarship to Middlesbrough Art College at 15. But, disillusioned, he dropped out to start an apprenticeship as a litho artist and photo-retoucher. When, later, he became encouraged enough to try comic drawing, he started submitting work to the Beano in Dundee.

Impressed with his work, D C Thomson increasingly commissioned him for full-colour work, and he moved into the Topper and the Beezer. When Ken Reid, original artist of Roger The Dodger departed, it was Bob who continued the strip. By 1965, his comic work became his full-time job, and from his studio at his home in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, went the weekly packet to Dundee.

Comic thought blossomed in the 1960s, and the Dundee offices of the Beano, situated in DC Thomson's red sandstone headquarters in Meadowside, swarmed with originality. Dudley D Watkins, (originator of Oor Wullie, The Broons, Desperate Dan, and Lord Snooty (And His Pals), in his striking waistcoat set off by a bowler hat was still alive then, contributing his almost surrealist work.

It was no coincidence that the back windows of Meadowside overlooked Dundee High School, model for The Bash Street Kids.

In 1972 Nixon moved camps to the rival Fleetway group (later IPC) in London. The Fleetway period saw Robert's already formidable work rate really take off. At his peak he was relentlessly producing some nine pages of strips a week for titles such as Whoopee!, Cor!!, and Whizzer and Chips. Because Fleetway allowed contributors to sign their work, he also became one of their high-profile artists.

The 1970s saw him adding to his weekly commitments with a daily strip called The Gems in the Sun. Produced over an 18-month period, it had reached the point where regular fan mail was received and worldwide syndication was being talked of when editor Larry Lamb (later Sir Larry) axed it.

One of Euan Kerr's missions when he took over as Beano editor in 1984 was to lure Nixon back, but Bob refused. Later that same week, a series of IPC cutbacks saw Fleetway comics close. When Bob phoned back to Dundee, he was immediately welcomed and within a short time had become one of the publisher's senior artists.

Later that year he began what he himself considered his best creation: Ivy The Terrible, based on scriptwriter Alan Digby's daughter, and a few years later worked on Korky The Cat for the Dandy.

His workload only ever increased, including illustrations for jigsaw puzzles, greetings cards, and joke books by Giles Brandreth. Yet he still found time to paint in oils, pastels, and watercolours.

A stroke in 1995 robbed him of his peripheral vision, but he was quickly back at his beloved drawing board, continuing to produce at least four pages of strips a week.

Nor did he contemplate retirement; indeed his final work - the cover for the Beano Summer Special 2003 - arrived in Dundee the day before he died of a heart attack.

He is survived by his wife, Rita, and his four children .

Robert Nixon, cartoonist; born July 7, 1939, died October

22, 2002.