A Little Secret


Ok, time to let you in on a little secret.

One of the greatest difficulties I have had throughout my time drawing the KerDoodles is duplication. Let’s face it: I can’t draw the same character twice. I just can’t do it. No matter how hard I try, the ‘pen’ just won’t glide the same way again. Heck, quite often I can’t even draw matching feet, such is my handicap, so you can imagine my consternation at trying to draw the same complete character over and over again, in an actual comic strip.

This cartoon would seem to belie this, but I owe it almost entirely to copy-and-paste. As with layers, the day I discovered copy-and-paste was liberating, for me and for the KerDoodles. That tidy little function has allowed for consistencies which my rotten hand would otherwise have denied me. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have a cartoonist’s eye, but the hand doesn’t always follow the brain – mostly, the hand goes its own way.

The day I discovered the power of copy-and-paste, I decided to put it to the test on a little positive affirmation. All I changed with each version of this KerDoodle was the limbs and the face. The rest was layers, and copy-and-paste.

There’s a little bit of copy and paste in this one, too. I built myself a few different kinds of strip boxes – from one window to four in a square, and four, side-by-side. These gave me the option to do different kinds of cartoons. Here, the male KerDoodle (dad) is clearly C&P’d in all three windows, the son (the Kidoodle) is also copied, though slightly modified, and the mother is different in the first window, but copied and modified in the last two. Nope. I just can’t do it. I can’t draw the same character twice without cheating. (No, James, it’s not cheating. It’s being solutions-oriented. It’s pushing for the best possible result, using the tools at hand.)

I hope this knowledge doesn’t lower your opinion of me, or of the KerDoodles. But if it does, all I can say is, oh well. I work with the tools that Gosh gave me, and one of those tools is Copy and Paste. Another is tracing, but that’s a story still to come. So what’s new in these three images? Confidence? Sure. Imagination? Absolutely. But if you said clothing then you get the silver fig leaf.

The discovery of layers brought the ability to put clothes on the little blighters, and boy were they grateful! On cold days, you gotta have clothes – even if you’re a KerDoodle. In public spaces? An absolute must – for propriety’s sake alone! Androgynous they may be, but sexless they aren’t, and they suffer all the same shame and shyness that people do, and more. More, because they are sweet and light and kind, and without guile (for the most part) and because they are reflective of we human beings, whilst also above and beyond us. The early ladies, well, they didn’t know any better. But with progress comes responsibility so they soon started wearing dresses. The men? The purple ones? Today they wear pants, but it wasn’t always thus.

And look at those movles! I learned that from every cartoon I ever read, growing up. When you want to portray motion in a drawing, you add ‘invisible’ lines that signify direction and vigour. So look at our young lady dancer go, as she shakes her booty round and round. This one is so very simple, but it definitely goes in the ‘inspired’ list. I saw her in my mind before I ever picked up the iPad. The smile, the wiggle, the movles. It was all there before it was there. No background, just a picture frame with a matte, and a happy, jittery young lady.

Around this time I started to appreciate the role photos could play in my work. The little table I drew, freehand, in the kickboxing strip should tell you how desperately I need such crutches. I make no apology. I think everyone should learn from this – use the tools at hand to get the results you want.

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