Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Fourth 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).

Tom Baker played the Fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981, the longest tenure of any actor so far. With his bug eyes, manic grin, curly mop of hair and trademark endless scarf, he's the Doctor best known to most Americans. Probably due to all those PBS fund-raiser marathons.

The Fourth Doctor tended to distract foes with his odd behavior. He could be befuddled, aloof and somber all at once.

He also had many interesting companions, including fan favorite Sarah Jane Smith (who actually debuted in a Third Doctor episode), Leela (sort of an alien cave woman), K-9 (his trusty robotic dog) and Romana, a fellow Time Lord (Time Lady?) from the Doctor's planet of Gallifrey.

According to legend, the Fourth Doctor's ridiculously long scarf came about by accident. The BBC sent a box full of various yarns to a local seamstress to knit into a scarf. She supposedly got carried away and used ALL the yarn, resulting in a 16 foot long scarf. The studio was about to cut it in half, but Baker reportedly saw it and liked it, and the rest is history.

Like Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor, the Fourth Doctor didn't limit himself to just one outfit. He had at least four different costumes during his time on the series. I drew him in the one I like best.

Near the end of Baker's run, the creators began incorporating a question mark into the Doctor's attire (on his shirt collar), 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 mark tradition continued all the way to 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 Nine through Eleven have thankfully been question mark free.

Doctor #4 is a vector drawing, drawn all in InDesign. Toward the end I was cursing that frakin' scarf and all its stripes. I did my best to make the stripes screen accurate, but I had to fudge a little to get them all to fit. That's a bag of the Doctor's trademark "jelly babies" that he's holding.

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 #5 through #11!

Here's one of many, many, MANY sketches I did of Tom Baker. Since he seems to be the most popular Doctor here in the States, I wanted to make sure I got him right. Although you'd think a face like his would be easy to capture, it took a ton of sketches to get it right in this simplified style. This one wasn't quite right, and I ended up changing it a lot in the final drawing.

When I need reference for the various Doctor's outfits, I just check out my Doctor Who action figure shelf. Some of them are hidden behind others in this photo, but all eleven of them are there.


  1. I know it sounds bandwagony but he really is my favorite Doctor.

  2. Everyone has their favorite, usually the one they were introduced to first.

    Tom Baker is my favorite from the old series, followed closely by Peter Davidson (Doctor #5).

    In the new series, David Tennant becamea my all time favorite, although the new guy, Matt Smith, is winning me over.


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