Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sixth Doctor

I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, so I thought I'd start a series of vector drawings of the eleven (!) different Doctors (so far).

Colin Baker (no relation to Tom Baker) played the Sixth Doctor from 1984 to 1987.

His Doctor was arrogant, impatient and overconfident, and maybe even a bit touched in the head. Immediately after his regeneration, he actually tried to strangle his companion Peri (although to be fair, he was suffering from post-regenerative trauma).

Some say he was a bit of a throwback to the grumpier First Doctor. His personality mellowed a bit toward the end of his run, but he always had an air of superiority about him, especially when interacting with his companions.

The show went through a lot of turmoil during his years. The BBC put the series on hiatus for 18 months and when it returned they even cut the number of episodes per season. Many fans feel Baker got a raw deal and never got the chance to prove himself in the role.

In recent years Colin Baker starred as the Sixth Doctor in a series of Doctor Who audio books. Many fans who initially didn't care for Baker's portrayal feel that he's redeemed himself in these audio performances.

The Sixth Doctor was put on trial (again) by his fellow Time Lords, accused of meddling in the natural course of the galaxy. The prosecutor at his trial was a Time Lord known as the Valeyard. It was implied that the Valeyard may be a future, evil version of the Doctor. That plot line seems to have been forgotten in the new series, and probably rightly so.

The Rani, yet another evil Time Lord, and sort of a female version of the Doctor's nemesis The Master, first appeared during the Sixth Doctor's tenure.

Now, about that outfit. The Sixth Doctor was saddled with the gaudiest, most butt-ugly and ridiculous costume ever created. Who thought that a predominantly pink patchwork coat with yellow striped slacks was a good idea? Baker himself reportedly hated it and wanted the Doctor to wear an all black costume. Too bad he didn't get his way.

Doctor #6 had a fondness for cats for some reason, and wore a different feline shaped pin on his gaudy lapel in every episode. Why an extraterrestrial Time Lord would have a supply of cat pins was not explained.

The Sixth Doctor continued the tradition of incorporating a question mark into his attire, something I always found cringe-worthy. Doctor Who is the name of the show, not the character's name. He's always been known simply as "The Doctor." Wearing a question mark as a nod to the show's title always seemed a little too cutesy to me, and every time I saw it it would yank me right out of the story.

The question marks continued all the way through the Seventh Doctor (who carried an umbrella with a question mark-shaped handle). Fortunately the creators of the revived series have seen the light, and Doctors Eight through Eleven have thankfully been question mark free.

Doctor #6 is a vector drawing, drawn all in InDesign. Originally I did my best to recreate every God-awful pattern in his costume, but it ended up looking like a blur of unappealing colors. I had to cheat and simplify his outfit somewhat in order to be able to tell what you were looking at.

Please forgive the ugly watermark on the illustration. I swore I would never add one to my art, because I know that 99.99% of my readers would never even think of stealing it. But earlier this year I had a run-in with an art thief who was not only stealing my work, but selling it as her own! Hence the watermarks. This is why we can't have nice things.

Stay tuned for Doctors #7 through #11!

Here's my digital sketch for the Sixth Doctor. I didn't change much in the final drawing.

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