Russian Doll

First, a little rapid-fire…

A happy medium. Get it?
I drew this one somewhere around Halloween. Junior is a little scared, but mommy is concerned about her circadian rhythms.

Now, this one deserves a little bit of a closer look.

I notice for the first time that in completing and publishing it I forgot to specify the year. Does that mean that the copyright is eternal? I don’t know, but a lawyer might. I drew it in the summertime, when thunderstorms are top-of-mind. You can see the big black cloud bearing down as the passengers wait on the platform. The nearest guy has an umbrella in his hands. He’s looking up at the sky – he seems to be the only one who sees what’s coming. The second fellow – the one in the white shirt – is leaning up against the wall, looking at his watch. The fellow in yellow appears to be reading a pamphlet – perhaps he’s looking over the train schedule. The green-shirted dude is just taking a nap – I imagine there are bird noises and other soporific sounds lulling him to sleep. Finally, if you look closely, you’ll see another fine fellow in the shelter there, peering out. I’ve just noticed he isn’t wearing any clothes. Clothes were still new to me at the time (and therefore new to them) so don’t read anything into it. I probably just forgot to give him a shirt. I don’t know what he’s doing in there. He might be hiding from someone, I suppose, or he could be deathly afraid of storms. Heck, he could even be watching someone out there, wanting to stay out of sight. All I know is when I drew this piece, he was there. And he wanted to be included.

But for one little detail, that’s about it. The detail is the poster on the wall, which purports to be an advertisement for a movie, but which is actually a complete re-rendering of the scene before us. It gives the piece a sort of ‘Russian doll’ quality, I think, especially because there’s another poster inside that one, and so on, and so on, and so on.

I’ve found over the few years I’ve been drawing that the audience often doesn’t see details like that. I’m not sure why, unless it’s that they’re in too much of a hurry or they’re only viewing the image on their phone. But it’s disappointing to me because little details like that take a lot of consideration and thought and imagination, and if the viewer doesn’t notice them then it makes me sad that they’re missing things. That said, the notion that my audience might occasionally be inattentive never once made me want to stop drawing. The KerDoodles wanted to be drawn. They needed to be drawn. And I, amazingly enough, was the one chosen to get it done.

As I’ve said, a lot of times what oozed out of my stylus was a tableau that just needed to be expressed. It came unbidden. Unexpected. Sometimes though, humour was the goal. A punchline occurred to me, and I followed it through.

Here, for example. I was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for a scan of my knee after a slip-and-fall. Anyway, while sitting in the waiting room a vision of this one flitted up into my mind, perched, and squawked at me. What if I left, I thought, and didn’t go through with the test? How would that look to the nurses? Well, this is what I came up with.

You can see that the nurse has come to get “C.K.” (that’s Clive Kerdoo) – as it’s his turn to go through the test. He’s gone, though, having left her a note – this nurse of the Nuclear Medicine department – that says simply: “Sorry. Gone fission.”

This next one is a variation on a theme. Remember on page 48 when the KerDoodles were spotted by the ghost hunters? Well, this is the same idea but perhaps a little more cleverly expressed.

You can easily tell it’s from a year later. The clothes, of course, but mostly the confidence in the drawings – the certitude. The faces, too, were becoming more interesting. Here, a group of eight KerDoodles in the dark show significant surprise when the ghost Hunter takes a flash photograph. I like it. It’s minimalist, and it has textures in it which I hadn’t used before. It shows how quickly my efforts were maturing, and how I was growing in the role of ‘chief kerdoodlator’?

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