To The Dogs

You’ve seen the first dog, well let’s see a few examples of what he ultimately became. With trial and error – backstage practice, if you will – he developed into a totally distinct creature, as capable of emotion, wit, and irony as any of the other village inhabitants. Here’s another early iteration.

In fact, I think this was the next time (2019) I attempted dogs after “DoDoodle”. It’s like a practice page – a tableau – of dogs in various lights, all being observed with interest by a solitary, anchoring KerDoodle. There’s posing, sitting (also no rear legs, dang it!) walking, pointing, playing, howling, scratching, and shaking paws in a most human way. Since there’s no punchline I’m pretty sure I just sat down and started drawing dogs. Sometimes I do that – especially if I’m trying to teach myself a new character.

The tableau gave me the courage to be corny – you know, the wishing well of wit I go to when I need inspiration. Here are a few examples that show the corn, and the evolution of the KerDoodle dog.

Once I got going, I drew a lot of the little pups, so you really are just getting a few of them here. I don’t need to describe them in detail. By now I think you know what’s happening, up there in my attic.

Here’s one that’s a little different.

I drew this one for my brother-in-law, to be printed onto his morning coffee mug. He walks the dogs at the end of every day, you see, so this seemed somewhat apropos. The dog, in case you can’t tell, is a rough collie. This looked really good on the mug. Want one?

As time went by the pen got stronger and stronger. I learned to help the critters emote. I learned how one little change in a line on the face can change the entire mood of the drawing. That’s an important lesson as I found that I could really plan ahead. The comics got more and more corny (sorry), and more and more ironic. I drew a lot of pups – like “Salty Dog”, and “Dog Tired”.

The term salty dog, refers, of course, to a pirate, or a seaman, but for our purposes the KerDoodle is sprinkling salt on a canine. Silly, I know. But whatcha gonna do?

Dog Tired is fairly self-explanatory so there’s not much to say here. It’s just the further shameless abuse of a time-worn phrase from the English language.

Beware of the Dog, however, is the result of a request from one of my fellow school bus drivers. “Here’s a pic of my dog,” quoth she. “Can you do something with him?” So I did. There’s nothing to beware of, of course, but I tried to make the KerDoodle at least look nervous.

Bus Stop is definitely in the inspired column. At the time I was driving the school bus, of course, so buses were front of mind. But specifically, I remember being in the bus one snowy morning, as I headed back to the yard after the route was done, when I pulled up to a red light. At a bus stop on the other side of the road, there was a long line-up of people. This little tableau instantly blipped into my mind, and when I got home after my post-trip inspection I started to draw it.

There’s a lot to unpack here! Deep breath: on a snowy winter’s day we see a real hodgepodge of characters. Is that a hockey team there in the background, or a bunch of fans headed to the game? I’m inclined toward the latter, because, well, I drew it and I know what I was thinking, and because it’s somewhat unlikely that a health-focused hockey squad would take to the can or the bottle on game day. That’s only logical. Fans, on the other hand… Well, I think there’s a law.

In the front row, left to right, what do we see? The padre (rather short, even for a man of the cloth – the bowler hat makes him taller) appears already to be at work as he offers a blessing to the man reading the newspaper. On the newspaper is a grey KerDoodle (because newspapers aren’t always printed in colour, are they?) advertising some product or other (Get It Now!). The man next to newspaper guy appears rather suave in his fancy beige overcoat with matching trilby, and dark, super-ventilated gloves. He looks a little vexed about something, doesn’t he – perhaps the bus is late, or maybe he overslept, or perhaps he’s discovered a stain on his coat which he is trying to cover with his hand. To his left, two fellows appear quite discombobulated by a commotion over their shoulders where we see a mother scolding her two unruly children who are poking each other. That’s okay, but a little further yet there’s even more consternation over the behaviour of a small pup (the reason for its appearance here with the animals) who is barking and fussing and pulling toward something out of frame as his rather diminutive and totally oblivious owner listens to his music. The other passengers are clearly not amused. All of this on a simple, but effective snowy backdrop – heck those wintry trees even make me feel cold!

This is from the much-vaunted pre-pants period, dating it as one of the more advanced of the early works. Additional carbon dating indicates that the drawing guy’s methods have definitely improved, and if this is the result of inspiration, well… I want more!

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