Horses and Such


My sister is an equestrienne extraordinaire (she told me to add the extraordinaire) so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was trying to draw a horse. But my first ever drawings involving horses used photos I’d taken. Long before “hoarse” (somewhere above), I drew these fellows.

That’s Bear (the horse) and my sister, practicing their rising trot or their off-leg canter or some such thing. Little did they know that they were not as alone as they thought. They were accompanied by a shy, scared, little KerDoodle friend. You can just make him out – holding on for dear life. He’s got very short legs, but he makes up for it with very long arms. No pants. Yada-yada.

This was especially early on. At that time I was in the habit of naming the piece right on it, initialling it and indicating the year. This was before the days of the copyright notice.

This was 2017 – right about the same time as “Don’t Get Scared Now”, from page four, but shortly after I learned about layers. It’s the same for this one – “Don’t Forget Me”. It was extremely early on, before I’d even dreamt about clothes, hand-drawn trees, real KerDoodle horses and all that. It was pre-just-about-everything, evolutionwise, but I think it demonstrates the essence of the initial KerDoodle thrust: that they were everywhere, that I could see them, and that I was constrained, almost physically, to draw them even before I had a sense of what they were.

Here they are again as sis and friends ambled off into the woods, two on-board, one leg-bound as he fights to not be left behind. Second verse, same as the first – the message here is that they’re everywhere – if you but open your eyes and see.

These early horse things must have been filed subconsciously within me. Perhaps I ruminated in the interim on the possibility of drawing actual horses. Probably, because it was more than a year before I actually started to draw horse KerDoodles. I don’t remember which was the first, but I do remember getting a whole bunch of ideas at around the same time. Like the hare phenomenon, the horse thing just seemed to spring organically from my mind, as though from the earth of a horse farm, or something silly like that.

Yes: in rows they grew, neither photographic nor Thelwellian renditions of the equine form. An crude assemblage of circles, ovals and other highly apropos pointy bits, the KerDoodle horse was my unique, rib-poking take on one of the most glorious animals on the great good green earth of Gosh.

In much the same way as the rabbits, the excuse for many of the horse drawings was a saying of some kind. “You can lead a horse to water…” is one that sprang to mind.

Here, it’s bath day, and in full view of his pony-cronies this equine fellow is resisting. It’s all there. Fluffy, Doobey, Smiler and Amigito, a pile of hay, a bucket of apples, a bath with soap-frothed water, and a KerDoodle hand with a brush and a loofah sponge and a hard hat for his own self preservation. There’s trepidation in the air, and anger, and ambivalence, and mirth. Oh my!

Another horse-centric saying that demanded the KerDoodle treatment was Clothes Horse. For you youngsters out there who have never known ‘owt but the tumble dryer, a clothes horse is something your parents and grandparents used to hang small items of clothing on to let them dry, or de-wrinkle, or just chill. My take, however, just had to be a little different. By now I’m sure you expect no less.

Here he is. A well-dressed chap in a sweater, hat, bow tie, standing, fully fourth-wall-engaged in a nice and neat and tidy walk-in stable – I mean, closet.

Lordy, but this one took me a while to draw! About a week, as I recall. All those little details in there. Shirts, sweaters, pillows, bridles, reins, horse shoes, a wheelbarrow full of hay, shopping bags, a curry comb, a bucket of carrots, and a bucket of apples – what more could a distinguished-looking equine fellow in a purple sweater and a bow tie possibly need!? I had fun drawing this. It married well the very best parts of my imagination, my abilities, and the topic at hand. I hope you like it too.

In this next one I got just a little bit artsy-fartsy.

In KerDoodle Farms a reluctant, disdainful roan is being dragged (albeit with love) into a trailer for transportation to some event or other. I think I got the reluctance quite well, don’t you? The barn in the back is modelled on the barn at my sister’s farm – up to and including the motif above the door. There’s a suitable amount of excitement here, as the horse chappie looks back over his shoulder at the author of his discomfort, the unhappy-looking, jodhpur-clad, crop-holding boss. Bunny and chicken: we can’t forget them.

I remember being very pleased with how this all came together. No, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

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