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Parkinson is the official artist for Dennis the Menace and Minnie The Minx, until February 2016, in The Beano and monthly companion comic Dennis the Menace and Gnasher's epic mag. His career in comics began in 1980. Over the following twenty years he worked for many British publishers including for example Fleetway drawing Thunderbirds, Stingray, Scouse Mouse and others, BBC Magazines drawing strips based on TV shows like Grange Hill, Baywatch, and as a 'ghost' artist for many titles published by D.C. Thomson. His first work for The Dandy was in 1982; his first work for The Beano was in 1997. He started drawing Bea in October 1998. Parkinson also occasionally draws The Bash Street Kids, and was particularly active on that strip between 1999 and 2001. He also ghosted Mike Pearse's style for the spin-off strip Singled Out in BeanoMAX.
Parkinson credits his love of comics to his sister, Alison, who purchased his first comic for him at the age of 2.
In 1998, Parkinson started work on The Dandy's then-new football-mad character, Owen Goal, redefining the strip to put more emphasis on Owen's fat, lazy coach.
In 1999 Parkinson commenced drawing Dennis the Menace later alternating his interpretation of the character with other artists David Parkins, Jim Hansen and Tom Paterson. In 2012 he was commissioned by D.C. Thomson to become the sole official Dennis artist.
In 2003, The Dandy asked Parkinson to freshen up the look of the terrible toddlers Cuddles and Dimples, taking over from the original artist, Barrie Appleby and changing the appearance of the characters and the personalities of their parents. His foxy version of Cuddles and Dimples' mum has become a fan favourite.
Since 2005 Nigel Parkinson has also illustrated all of the Beano Jigsaw Puzzles and much of Dennis the Menace merchandise.
In 2010 he wrote and drew a comic strip based on comedian Harry Hill's TV Burp for The Dandy (with co-writers including Harry Hill, Sean Baldwin, David Quantick and Duncan Scott) and in 2012 a 12-week run of The Banana Bunch.
In late 2012 he asked fellow Liverpudlian Sir Paul McCartney if he would appear in the final print edition of The Dandy, as he had once said his ambition was to have his picture in the comic. McCartney did, and later claimed some of his friends and family thought it was a highlight of his career!
He has also drawn adverts for Milky Way, Wenlock & Mandeville, Lego, Nesquik, and Real Construction. He drew the record sleeve for Kaiser Chiefs's single "The Angry Mob" and Count Arthur Strong's Christmas CD.
He is one of the few commercial cartoonists in the UK to operate a studio system with assistants.
The main strips that Nigel has drawn are:
|Comic Strip||Dates||Comic drawn for||Notes|
|The Banana Bunch||2000–2004, 2012||The Dandy/Dandy Xtreme|
|The Bash Street Kids||1998–present||The Beano/BeanoMAX||Drawn regularly between 1999 and 2001, and occasionally since then, filling in for David Sutherland|
|Bash Street Kids - Singled Out||2007 - 2013||BeanoMAX|
|Cuddles and Dimples||2004–2010, 2012–present||The Dandy, Dandy Xtreme||Took over from Barrie Appleby when The Dandy relaunched in 2004. Axed when Dandy revamped in October 2010. Returned in January 2012, as reprints|
|Dennis the Menace||1999–present||The Beano, the Beano max, Dennis the menace and Gnasher's epic mag||Drew about half of all Dennis's between 1999 and 2009, became Official Dennis artist from 2012.|
|Lord Snooty the Third||2008–2011||The Beano||Lord Snooty's grandson|
|Marvo the Wonder Chicken||2008–2012||Dandy Xtreme, The Dandy||Returned in August 2008. Casualty of 2010 Dandy revamp. Returned again in issue 3515.|
|Owen Goal||1998–2009. 2014–present||The Dandy, Dandy Xtreme||Replaced reprints of Cannonball Kid|
|Minnie The Minx||2012–2016||Beano||Became regular Minnie artist|
|Harry Hill's Real Life Adventures in TV Land Featuring Knitted Character||2010–2012||The Dandy||Dennis the Menace and Gnasher Mag|
- "Mourinho can now truly claim to have Beano there, done that". Irish Independent. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2011.