For this next one I recall there was a background conversation going on about how horses are looked after. How some live in the field, some in a stable. Some, it seemed to me, had top-drawer accommodations while others seemed to live under a tree. Not so very different, if you think about it, from how we human beings exist, but that’s another story.

For our purposes, here, it got me thinking about Shangri-La, and some kind of equine utopia. I mean, look at these guys! Yes, they’re outstanding in their field, but they are not doing as others do. These guys have found just a few trappings of the luxury life. Carrots in a bucket, a trough of water where they can bob for crisp, fresh apples, a nice bucket of clean, cool water, a tent (with a horsey weather vane, no less) where they sleep. A few personal items adorn their abode – a white board for keeping notes, a snack-rack full of hay, a carpet for greater comfort, and all in a sweet, flowery field just loaded with green, green grass and happy, sheltering trees. I mean, for a horse, does it get any better than this?

By the time 2020 rolled around I was pretty sure of my audience. That is to say, I want to make my cartoons innocent in their fun, but at the same time they need to make people think. Being English in upbringing I don’t hold with the face-slap, on-the-nose style of comedy that is popular in my home country. Oh, I know it has its place, but I believe that people should occasionally have to exercise their brains in order to understand what I’m saying. Sometimes it’s more rewarding, and therefore a more satisfying experience, if the reader has to do some mental gymnastics to get to the punchline.

In this horsecapade, I’m using the word (you know which one) without actually using it. This is safe for the kiddies, who would never, ever know the word being referenced, and it’s interesting for adults, who enjoy a laugh and appreciate having a little inside knowledge. There’s another one along these lines that’s something of a triple-entendre. We’ll see if I can include it in another section a bit later.

Now, who on earth is this handsome fellow?

A dapper Dan if ever I saw one. And doesn’t he just know it! Well-groomed, and obviously very happy about it. The reflection came about because of another technical tool. Remember, I can’t draw the same thing twice, so there’s no way I’d be able to duplicate it in reverse were it not for technology. Let’s see – how does it go? Copy, Paste, Flip horizontal, Tilt, and occasionally, for the convex effect, a little warp in the middle.

The Sketches app, I must advise, does not include all of these tools. So sometime in 2020 I purchased another platform called Procreate and started getting a bit more jiggy with things. Because I was used to drawing with the pens in the Sketches app, I kept drawing there, but where there were special processes to apply, I copied and pasted the element into the Procreate app. Confused? Let’s elucidate.

Let’s say I’ve drawn a character in Sketches, but I’m not really happy with him. It’s possible. It’s been done. Frankly, there’s a good chance of it.

Now, this KerDoodle human is inoffensive enough, isn’t he? But maybe he’s a little bit too… rotund. In the middle. Ok, fine, he’s got a paunch. Perhaps my own failings make me feel bad for him, (Lord, is he a self-portrait?!) so I decide to slim him down a bit. The Procreate app allows me to move lines seamlessly so that happy chappy can instantly lose some weight. See how happy it makes him? It makes me happy, too, because I don’t have to crumple up the paper and start from scratch!

There’s one thing you should notice about this happy chappy. He’s not one of them, he’s one of us. He’s a human KerDoodle. He and his ilk are currently in development. But don’t worry, the purple fellows are not gone. They will always be a crucial part of the tapestry which is…

Life. In the Village.

Speaking of spoiled horses living in Utopia, check out these offerings. The first is a highly stylized rendition of another horse which is absolutely outstanding in his field. Well, technically, out-sitting, because he’s treating himself pretty well at the moment.

The KerDoodle fellow in the background has a T-shirt on which suggests he take a day off – good advice for us all, from time to time. The horse, having stripped off all the paraphernalia of horsedom (bridle, saddle, shoes), is propped up against the tree – cushioned by a pillow – enjoying some sunshine on this lovely summer afternoon. Look! Even the tree is happy! I used some watercolour brushes for the background, and some fuzzing effects, including using the fill tool in some areas which had already been filled, which has the effect of splotching up an area to give it character. He’s a happy fellow, isn’t he, as he settles in for a wonderful afternoon of sunbathing and the scarfing of carrots? What’s not to love!

One of our final reviews of horsedom here explores the word hors d’oeuvre…. This is not, of course, an equestrian term by any means, but is a food term defined in the Merryam Oxferd Dictionary of Irreducible Facts and Fictions as, ‘snackables which help broaden your waistline’. The auditory proximity, however, to the word ‘horse’, and the treatment I read into it when I drew this allow it to be presented here.

Behold a great hall, horsulated with a multitude of fine – and highly spoiled (expectationswise) horse types, all quite moved at the prospect of a treat as delivered by the butler. It doesn’t really need much more explication than that, except to say that I remember the satisfaction I felt when it was done. Twelve different and unique equines in an ornate and impressive space were taxing indeed on my brain and my pen, so when it turned out as well as it did I was quite genuinely pleased. It’s always pleasant when a result passes from potential to realized.

Here’s a little more horse corn to spur us into the next section.

War Horse

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