More Early Stuff

Ok, all that said, how about some comic relief? A few more from the early works.

In brief, I think this was my first little sashay toward the fourth wall. You know the one. In theatrical speak, the fourth wall is the audience itself. In normal circumstances the fourth wall is ignored – the story plays out despite it, for it, not with it. This is a rule of sorts – the people in the play aren’t supposed to know the audience is there. Television and movie actors must never – ever – look into the camera. It’s a rule.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken, and in circumstances where the audience plays a part, or where the purpose of the story is inculcation, it is permissible to address the audience directly – to interact with the fourth wall. That’s what this KerDoodle is doing. “Hello, you there in the audience, wouldn’t it be nice if it was this easy to lose weight? Yes, you know what I’m saying.”

I believe it’s important to involve the audience, even if only obliquely, in the cartooning process. After all, the messages are for them. It’s the audience – the reader – who is to benefit from the laying out of ideas, so if they aren’t occasionally involved in a slightly more assertive way, isn’t something somewhere being missed?

This one is a joke for the sake of a joke. Sorry. It’s corny as heck, as all the best jokes are. It’s a play on words, as most of my actual jokes are. It’s quick, and it’s simple, like all the best cartoonists!

Next is an homage to Lady and the Tramp. Now, I talk about homages later on, but I’m dropping this one in now because there’s another issue that I feel needs to be addressed. Once upon a time, I drove school bus. One day after school while I was waiting for the junior cargo to climb aboard, I watched in the big mirror as some of the kids wandered up and down the bus looking at a few of my cartoons. (I’d turned the bus into something of an art gallery, for their benefit). One of them, in conversation with another, happened to say something that caught my ear: he said, “they look like dogs”.

Now I found this quite interesting. First, because of the Snoopy angle I mentioned previously, and second, because I had never actually considered that I was drawing dog-like creatures. But I was, really, wasn’t I? The more I look at them the more I realize that – facially at least – they do have the features of a dog. Big nose, often with a black tip, long, dangly ears. True, they walk upright and they don’t sport a tail, but in the face at least, there is a certain similarity. It was a truth I didn’t mind, too.

After all, I love dogs, and it’s true what they say – dogs are a man’s best friend. Loyal, kind, loving, (when taught to be that way), eager, and welcoming. So if the kids wanted to associate my little creations with canids, well, I was fine with that. Of course, it wasn’t my intention that they be dogs. They are, to me, people with long ears, big eyes, a relatively big nose, and a heart as big as Canada. They run their village in much the same way that we do, but with kindness and charity at the root, not avarice. They show many of the same characteristics as people. But not all. There is no hate in them. There is no intolerance – ever. There is confusion, occasionally. Puzzlement. Wonderment. Enthusiasm. But there is never hate. Even if there is distrust in any given situation, it comes from a position of understanding – or at least, of the desire to understand. And after all, isn’t that the way it should be? You know what? That’s the way it is for kids. Kids, when left to their own devices, don’t hate anyone. And we adults could learn a thing or two about that, couldn’t we?

Moving on!

This one was in the inspired category – I was inspired by the ability to cheat a little, by including a complete photographic background. Believe me, someone else did the jumping, I just did the drawing. The photo for this one I found online – I only ever looked for images that were listed as ‘free to use for any purpose’. I have occasionally used photos that I took personally, but not this time. For some reason I have always had a healthy respect for gravity and I’m pretty unlikely ever to go out of my way to check first-hand how it really works.

All the KerDoodles are original drawings, of course. This one I had a hard time with. “It’s just one line next to another,” I told myself. But it’s more than that. I was trying to get the perspective right – of his legs flying up behind him, but I think the head was so big there was no realistic way his legs would ever be visible, so his legs hang down, his ears flop up, and the movles show which direction he’s going. Silly me, though: I didn’t put goggles on him. Lord knows how many flies he hit on the way down, but I forgot to protect those big, big eyes.

2 thoughts on “More Early Stuff

  1. That’s a humorous note about having forgotten to give him goggles for the jump. Speaking of the “fourth wall” like you did earlier, I can imagine a follow-up to this sky jumping with the Kerdoodle having landed on the ground, some little mess around his eyes and face, looking up somewhere and asking his artist to remember goggles for him next time. 😎

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