Anniversary Edition – You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

As Porl celebrates his ninth year flitting from imagination to imagination, from pen to paper, from scanner to book, from computer to blog, we’d like to invite you back for a little retrospective.

From humble beginnings etched onto lined paper in a highschool drama changing room to an idea reimagined more than 1000 times over 55 different countries, Porl has touched many people right in the soul. As an existential thought experiment he was quirky and inspiring, now as a character that is never the same twice he represents to us the spark of creativity that’s in everyone, their interpretations making him so much more than he could be if we’d never shared him or encouraged others to ask what or who they think he is. When we repeatedly see him depicted in ways that we just never would have thought of, it forces us to ask, can anything be pinned down and defined? Do we take our own ideas and perceptions for granted and think them not unique or  special? Do we forget how different another’s perception could be, when we think we have it all worked out?

So on this note, I invite you, dear reader, to perceive these. These are the first two drawings of our friend Porl, scribbled by his loving creators all those years ago in Karen’s daybook, not knowing at the time what he was to become. Perhaps you imagine they will be wild and creative images, artfully fashioned into the very essence of an intangible dream that no other being could perceive? Let’s take a look.Porl IHmmm. This would be more one of those dreams in which a strange being who insists that you spell his name P-o-r-l appears licking jam off a manhole cover being carried by bearded hawks and then turns to smile benignly at you just as you wake up craving toast and unsure if you’ll ever look at a horse the same way again.

But this is unquestionably an adorable image. Porl has just sprung into visual existence and seems to be loving every minute of it! And why wouldn’t he? Let’s move on then, to this:

Porl II

Convinced that what this creature is decidedly lacking is a big horsey neck, a second attempt is made to capture him, his lizard’s head now perched at the top of a long neck complete with mane. However, I can’t help but feel that this might have been at the expense of more attention being paid elsewhere.

He appears with an intriguing inscription, could that be “Porl?” or “Porl’s”? And if the latter, does it continue just under where he’s been cut out to say “got four of the funkiest legs I’ve ever seen on an animal and a tongue so big a chameleon wouldn’t touch it with yours”? I guess we’ll never know. But Porl has come a long way since then, a long long way indeed.  Witness:Porl by GrahamAnd just to echo a sentiment that has come up a few times, “If I’d known it was going to turn into something like this, I’d have drawn it better!!”

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Porl by Kevin Artists: Karen and Rachel, February 5th, 2001. Graham, Kev.

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