Alan Stuart Paterson (24 January 1902 - 16th June 1968)

A. S. Paterson (1955)

New Zealand cartoonist A.S. Paterson was born today in 1902. Paterson was the first staff artist for the national New Zealand paper The Dominion starting in 1925 and working until 1950 with a brief break during the war years. Paterson produced daily cartoons for the paper, often focused on wry observations of New Zealand life, rather than any deep political commentary. Paterson also produced book illustrations, advertisements, and work for magazines including the New Zealand Sports digest and The New Zealand Artist's annuals of the late 1920's and 1930's.

From Susan E. Foster's Profile at Te Ara,

 "Paterson worked his cartoons out in his mind at night, then drew them in the morning, usually taking 1½ to two hours. In his early drawings the influence of Phil May and a young David Low can be seen before he developed his own fluid, economical style."

Over the years Paterson also illustrated many books and publications for A. W. Reed depicting the life and times of New Zealand in the early twentieth century.

As well as his skill as a cartoonist Paterson was an accomplished water colourist with three books of watercolour work published posthumously that saw multiple printings with sales of over 100,000 copies.

From NZ Herald cartoonist G. E Minhinnick. O.B E. foreword to Paterson's book of watercolour puns, The Bull Pen,

"His friends will remember him as a gentle and whimsical philosopher, with a glorious sense of the absurd. They will remember him, too as an artist an illustrator of distinction and a quiet man."

Below: Collections of A.S. Paterson's Dominion strips.

Below: clippings of A. S. Paterson Dominion cartoons.

Below: Two collections of A. S. Paterson watercolour cartoons. Professor Paterson's Book of Engaging Birds was originally produced 'in an edition limited to one copy' for his friend June Opie at the time recuperating in hospital from serious injuries.


A.S. Paterson portrait from "Look Pleasant Please" published in 1932

O. N. Gillespie's introduction to "Look Pleasant Please":

"THIS is a book of one hundred cartoons by A. S. Paterson, taken from his daily morning drawings in the "Dominion." They have already brightened the breakfast tables, lightened train, tram and boat journeys, and brought chuckles from thousands of New Zealanders. To be statistical, they have made our folks of this Dominion forget the depression for some millions of minutes. There must be in A. S. Paterson some unfailing fairy spring of humour. There is simply no explanation but genius for the artist who can produce a good cartoon every week but Paterson does it every morning. I doubt whether in the world there exists an equal quantitative output with such qualities of impish observation, quaint outlook and perpetual surprise. We should accordingly be glad to think of him as a fellow New Zealander, and the time will come when he will be a source of national pride."

"In this Rugby-loving country, Little Eric of Berhampore has become a house-hold word, but for this writer, Gardiner and Mrs. Mahogany are the cats of all cats. These creations alone give Paterson his rank, but when it comes to discussion as to which of his cartoons most tickled your fancy, selections are as varied and wide as his work. The mere volume of it leads to "Do you remember the one about?" etc., and to recollections that go back for years. That is one real reason why this book should be so eagerly sought. It will serve to fix in permanent form, numbers of priceless bits of pictorial fun that are fading from our memories through the combined effect of Old Father Time, and the daily issue of splendid new ones. —0. N. GILLESPIE.

P.S.—Little Eric objected to much of this foreword, on the ground that it contained unnecessary adulation. However, it was the writer's privilege to insist that it went in as it was written."

A S Paterson illustrated map. Published by A. H & A. W. Reed circa 1940's.'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 6066'

Sources: A. S Paterson portrait at the top: Mr A S Paterson. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1955/1562-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.