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Postman Pat

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My mum will tell you: I know about Postman Pat. Not so much any more, they've introduced new characters since my day, but at the heart of it I know who Pat is. I obsessed over this chap when I was a toddler, and was surprised to find shelved memories completely unrelated to Postman Pat suddenly triggered by nothing more than picking the right shade of blue for his uniform while I was colouring this picture. Pat evidently had a very strong presence in my life back then.

So naturally when I was looking for a childrens' character to draw for a portfolio, I thought of Pat first.

I'm quite particular about the way childrens TV characters are drawn in their merchandise and licensed magazines. What I don't like is when a character who is, on TV, a puppet or figure of some sort (such as stop-frame classic Pat here), finds himself drawn as a puppet on paper. That looks ugly, and I thought as much back when I was in the target demographic. The way I saw it, the puppet is the character, but it's in a puppet show. In a drawing, he should be drawn on-model, but as a free-moving person, not as a stiff wooden doll.

I attended at least one Postman Pat stage show when I was a youngster, and to my mind they got it just right. The actor playing Pat, whose name I have no record of here, was perfect. He wasn't wearing a huge nose, nor was he cast for already having one particularly, he was just a man of nonspecific age who had a sort of rural village friendliness to him. Just right. Or at least that's how I remember him, it's possible I layered my existing impression of Pat onto him, of course.

Part of what triggered me to draw this was when I saw a newly released DVD of a recent Fireman Sam stage show. Again, I went to the Fireman Sam show that was running when the programme was new, and again it was cast very well. However, this time round, they seem to be using large puppets that presumably jiggle around the stage operated from beneath. I'm sure the puppeteers are very skilled, but it strikes me as needless and derivative. Why use puppets on stage, when the puppets are meant to look like people? I didn't hear any complaints from the children in the all-human versions of the shows, we were entranced at the thought of seeing the REAL Postman Pat, Fireman Sam etc.

Anyway, all this is in aid of explaining why I decided not to slavishly reproduce the Pat figurine, and instead employ a subtle amount of cartooning in drawing this picture. It's just how I think people should be doing it.

So here is Pat, roughly as I'd like to see him drawn. He's on-model and the shape of him is there (including a few details others often miss out, like his chin and wide, rumpled trouser legs), but at the same time his face can move like any other cartoon character's, albeit in a more subdued way.

I've a background in mind for this, so I might be adding that soon.


Pat's design is by Ivor Wood, but Pat himself is by Ken Barrie and mustn't be overlooked.

Mind how you go.
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GlaswegianArt1985's avatar

Nice One. Still like to watch the Older Series, since it is much better.