A woman walks into the room to find her Russian Blue cat sitting on an irregularly shaped cartoon border. She promptly phones the panel beaters for a repair estimate.

The original of this one just showed a guy standing in a room by a bench, looking at the non-square border and phoning for panel beaters (on a landline – yes it’s that old; worse still, it was a rotary phone). I thought it would be nice to jazz it up a little with a few items around the room and I opted for an older woman to replace the original guy. Then I thought it would be nice to have someone or something interacting with the cartoon panel.

One idea was to have part of the panel broken and show a cat wandering through it and out of frame. Ultimately though, I wanted to keep the panel whole and not broken. Everything should therefore be remaining within the panel and not escaping to the outside world so to speak.

Then it occurred to me that the lines could have angles such that a ledge is formed for a cat to sit upon. Obviously there were several conditions that had to be met before the cat could be included:

  1. The line ledge would need to be fairly high up so that the cat could look down on everyone and everything (with contempt if it could be bothered).
  2. The coefficient of friction between the cat and the (angled) ledge should be high enough to prevent the cat from sliding off.
  3. The cat should be washing itself.
  4. The cat  should have its back turned to anything that may be happening that doesn’t interest it.
  5. The cat should be the centre of attention (so as to maximise its ignorance).

I have only recently found out that the term ‘panel beaters’ may only be relevant to some Commonwealth countries such as Australia, so I should probably provide a definition here or the cartoon won’t make a lot of sense to anyone not familiar with panel beaters.

In the USA, the equivalent of the panel beaters would be an auto body mechanic. It’s anyone repairing cars to factory condition after collision damage has occurred.

Oddly enough, if the title or caption were changed to reference anything other than panels, the comparison to the cartoon frame (also known as a panel) would be lost.