You’re Such An Animal

So it’s true: animals are a large part of our lives, and over time they’ve become a significant part of the KerDoodle world. The most I can say about my first animals is that they were valiant efforts. My heart was in the right place. In a previous iteration I would be too embarrassed to show them to you, but not here. You can’t know the evolution of the KerDoodle animal unless you can see where they started. So, here they are. In all their glory.

The first, strangely enough, was this cat.

I say, ‘strangely’, because as it turned out I didn’t draw cats all that often. That’s probably because of the antipathy I have toward them as selfish, demanding, unfriendly, suspicious-minded creatures. I think a cat would just as soon push you under a bus as let you touch it, and in my mind any creature who abhors contact is a nasty thing indeed. As the old saying goes, ‘dogs like to go for a ride, cats like to drive’.

Anyway, this cat… the ‘CaDoodle’. He’s awful. Truly. Bad lines. Awful colour. A one-line tail – really? Those two front legs? They disappear right at the butt line! And guess what – no rear legs at all! Oy vey! What was I thinking?! The movles are exciting, though. First try, kindness to self. E for effort and all that noise. No, make it a D-minus for trying to add a mouse.

The first dog wasn’t much better.

Labelled, ‘DoDoodle’, he looks pretty much just like the first cat. Sitting up, looking down and to the right – apparently at the same mouse, wagging his three-dimensional tail (movles and all). There’s a valiant attempt at rear legs, here – I even have the tail going behind the left rear leg, as it should be. The ears, you’ll note, hang straight down like a regular KerDoodle. Remember, “they look like dogs”, (page 29)? Well, this is likely proof positive that that diminutive person was correct. Except for the nose structure it’s practically a dead ringer.

Darn it all, animals aren’t easy to draw! Their lines go in all sorts of strange directions – you really have to understand the skeletal structure of the animal you’re involved with. It’s worth the work, though. These humble beginnings actually did ultimately evolve into real and consistent, cartoony animal characters. So, if you also draw, just remember not to get frustrated at your first attempts. I include these dreadful, unsure, shaky examples here in order to reinforce the notion that, if you keep at it, your efforts will be rewarded.

Cat, dog, mouse. What else is there? How about a bird or two?

Birds aren’t particularly taxing to draw – even for a newbie. A fat little body, smaller head (no ears), wings off the side, all atop two spindly-ass little legs, with a pointy beak of some kind to enable communication. Here are a couple of early efforts. They’re a little bit cheaty, in that I didn’t draw them from roll-the-dice, eyes-closed rumination but from a picture. But that’s okay. That’s how you get the lines in your hand. That’s how you develop muscle memory. I was taught from a young age, from my earliest piano lessons, that in anything you want to learn, consistency and proficiency come from practice. The way my teacher put it, as I recall, was… “practice, practice, practice.”

Here, in Scarekerdoodle, a totally indecent KerDoodle fellow is acting as a scarecrow above the crop.

He’s not very good at it, though, is he? The crow is laughing at him, and singing away atop the wheat. I like the interaction between them. There’s disdain in the crow, and a certain sadness in the failure of the KerDoodle to which I think we can all relate.

I used a picture to model this second birdy ‘toon – primarily because I was portraying a dodo.

The joke itself was just an attempt to be corny – some of my best jokes are corny, some of my worst jokes too. I might even have ‘traced’ this dodo bird rather than just copying him by eye. He looks a tad too strong for me to have drawn him, um, freebird – especially given how early the drawing was. Carbon dating suggests the first quarter of 2018 – about three months after “Don’t Get Scared Now” (page 4).

I hesitate to include this next one because technically it’s not an animal. Rather, it’s my first attempt at a monster.

As I recall, Halloween was coming, and I needed to do something scary for a blog post. This was not in the ‘inspired’ column. For this one I sat down at a blank page and just started drawing lines. Tree trunks, a big, scary animal juxtaposed with a diminutive, very early version KerDoodle, approaching menacingly. He looks very hungry, doesn’t he? He looks in some ways like an enormous, vicious dog, but with narrow, slitted, red eyes. Evil. Vicious. Not particularly scary, but it was early. I got better at scary later on. In my totally KerDoodlesque way.

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