The grandson of a well-known illustrator has started a new brand to build on his grandfather’s legacy and encourage children to take part in arts activities.

Mike Howarth, grandson of Walt Howarth, an illustrator whose talents were discovered at age 4 and won a scholarship to Bolton Art School, has started WJ Heritage Clothing, which focuses on sustainable clothing featuring his granddad’s designs.

Walt was born on New Year’s Day 1928 in Bolton and began a career as an illustrator at age 16, designing cover art and comic strips for the Doctor Who annual, comic strips for James Bond, Batman, The A-Team, Laurel & Hardy, the Maverick TV series starring Roger Moore, and even The Beatles scrapbook.

He started off with a cover for the Bolton’s Salute to the Soldier week programme in 1946, followed by some work for Bolton Wanderers, drawing player caricatures for matchday programmes in 1950s.

His first commission was for the John Wayne Adventure Comics, for Industrial Art Services later becoming the title’s regular artist, for which he produced 77 covers.

Instead of just producing art for comic strips, Walt produced jigsaws for the Hope Jigsaw Company and the BBC.

Not just talented as an illustrator, Walt took over as the House Without A Name pub in Bradshaw after retiring in 1993 due to heart issues, which he ran for a number of years with his wife, Renee.

Mike is about to start a competition to encourage children to get into art, by sending in illustrations, with the prize for the best designs being a phone case or T-shirt featuring their work.

Mike reflected on his grandfather’s legacy and said: “I always loved going to his house when I was a boy.

“He was my hero and I set up this brand because I think he deserves to be more well known.

“I hope the competition will inspire young people to put down the iPad and get creative, just like my granddad.”

Later in his life, Walt was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys, which is a genetic disorder which causes fluid-filled cysts to grow on the kidneys, enlarging them, sometimes with life-threatening implications.

In 2008 he was admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital suffering from pneumonia, where he died two weeks later.

To find out more about Mike's clothing line or enter the competition, visit: