Joan Hickson (born 1929)
Joan Hickson was born on 16 January 1929, and grew up near to Rushmere, in the Suffolk countryside. Though she originally hoped to become a veterinary surgeon, she studied Fine Art at Brighton College of Art and returned to Suffolk to teach at Woodbridge School. An enthusiasm for scenic painting led her to work as a painter at the Ipswich Repertory Theatre – alongside such actors as Paul Eddington and Wendy Craig – and as a designer at Colchester Rep. After marrying John Hickson, the designer at Ipswich Rep, by whom she had two sets of twins, she moved to Putney and began to work as an illustrator. In collaboration with the writer Alison Prince, she set about improving BBC children’s television by producing an animated series about Joe, a little boy who lives in a transport café (from 1965) following it up with How Do You Do (from 1977). Her involvement with Postman Pat began in 1982, with the drawing and some writing of the strip that appeared in the BBC children’s comic, Buttons; she illustrated Postman Pat, for the first time in book form in 1985. She has since worked with John Cunliffe on Rosy and Jim and also Phil Showers, the weatherman. She now shares her studio with daughter, Jane Hickson, another of the illustrators of Postman Pat.