After a while I started to think in terms of marketing. I know, incredibly optimistic, but whatcha gonna do? I had some mugs and calendars made up for friends and family, for Christmas, and darn it all if that didn’t actually lead to some orders! The response was quite positive (GET YOURS TODAY!!), so I drew this thing by way of seeing if the familial loyalty translated at all to the readership.

Sometimes I think my ironic mind is a little overpowering for the cartoon audience. I don’t know – I guess that’s up to you. All I know is that as the idea occurs to me so must it come out. This, of course, was a shameless, though subtle – and failed – attempt to drum up enthusiasm for a product. My ironic attempt to inspire confidence collapsed utterly. You can probably tell that I’m not a professional marketer. Heck, I’m not even a professional KerDoodler! But I am the only KerDoodler in the world, so that’s got to be worth something.

About this time I started thinking a little beyond the simple, KerDoodular moments of life – the pastiche, the montage elicited by the mundane. I started to think in terms of their lives. If, as the presumption goes, they are like us, surely this should be acknowledged in my little creations. Surely, all aspects of their temporality should be recognized – the good, and the bad. Life is life, after all. It comes with bumps and bruises, joys and pains, loves, challenges, urges – and ends. Surely all of that needs to be recognized. To me the KerDoodles are far more than mere cartoon characters. They are the best of us, they are our sweetest, softest centre – and I mean despite the pains they endure, or perhaps even because of them. They demonstrate who they are in all sorts of times, through all sorts of events. They show their kindness, no matter what. They cannot change who or what they are merely by being forced to endure adversity. On the contrary, adversity is what makes them who and what they are. And surely, that’s true of humans as well. We show what we are by how we respond to our experiences. We learn, and teach, and understand, and feel, and pass along our knowledge based on what we go through. We are all conflicted, irresolute, tenacious, frantic, limited, loving, caring KerDoodles. At least, I know I am.

In this one there’s been a death. There they are, outside the village walls, laying one of their number to rest. Do KerDoodles die? Perhaps it’s not the act or the fact of dying that matters, but the concept of ending. Ending and beginning. Give and take. Purpose. Function. Perhaps what’s important is the perspective we get – on life – when someone close to us dies. Perhaps, the act of understanding death is what’s truly important – not the emotions we feel when we go through it. The pain is real – I would never dream of trying to diminish it – but the observances are in aid of the living, not those who have passed.

All of these things and more passed through my mind when I contemplated drawing this one. It’s inexpert, as all the early ones were, but I think it shows, in a relatively sweet way, what I was thinking about at the time.

Inevitably, part of thinking about beginnings and endings is history, and pre-history. How long, I wondered one day, have the KerDoodles been around? Are they a recent discovery – coinciding with my desire to draw them – or have they always been there – through history, through time? The cave men expressed their creativity, and recorded their lives, by decorating their walls.

So I started wondering if at some point a cave KerDoodle hadn’t drawn caricatures of himself – if perhaps sketches of ancient, KerDoodle history, weren’t still to be found on the wall of some cave in some ancient country, somewhere near the village. I started to wonder. And to visualize. And then I started to draw. See the next page, then come right back.

This is definitely in the inspired column. I saw this, including the rough text of it, long before I drew it. Once I started drawing, it took only a few minutes because by their very nature as something crudely sketched on the wall of a cave they were allowed to be imperfect. I felt elated as I captured all the actions and emotions of these ancient KerDoodles. It’s a kind of KerDoodular version of a sacred text. I’m pleased with the results. I think it’s sweet, and subtle, and funny, and it gives context to a subject which might otherwise seem fundamentally anchorless.

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