A Few Favourites


So it’s time for me to show you a few favourites. Let’s face it, in earlier sections you’ve already seen some. Baby Get Bach is one. The Cash is Under the Floorboards is another. I loved almost all of the pictures I drew for the School Bus Adventure – especially the space capsule fly-by and Jace’s first day – that one because it really did look like that. I loved Julia’s Pre-Trip and The Well-Groomed Horse, KerDoodle Farms and… the list goes on and on. I know which ones I loved, and which ones felt a little forced, even as I drew them.

But there are more! This one, for example, which was remarkably complex considering it was actually an Early Work.

It was drawn for Halloween of 2018 – a stagecoach for KerDoodle ghosts, screaming across the desert toward nowhere. There’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing an outcome in my mind and then actually bringing it to life, and that’s what happened here. Somehow, even with my decided lack of experience, the hand – the wrist – got the lines and the colours right in this one.

Covid was a very difficult time, but that didn’t mean it was immune to the KerDoodle treatment. In fact, if there was anything that cried out for mirth and hilarity, it was the COVID pandemic. I drew about a dozen COVID-themed pieces in all, but to save you from having to revisit that dark time I’ll just include a couple here.

It’s not funny – it wasn’t meant to be. It was meant as an homage to the medical people who were fighting that terrible pestilence on the front lines. The doctors, the nurses, the cleaning staff – all were crucial to the system which looks after us – and all greatly deserved our appreciation. There was a lot of crazy rhetoric and behaviour through that time. In this piece I particularly liked how wonderfully clean the reflections made everything look.

Here’s another COVID piece.

I’m not particularly religious myself, but I recognize the reverence which can and should come from devoting a portion of your mind to quiet ministrations, and the religious arena often facilitates this. At the same time I have concerns over the many fundamentalists who turned the fight to control COVID into some kind of faux religious crusade – how they looked on mandates on gatherings as attacks on the right to worship. In my view nothing could be further from the truth. Religion continues to exist. The right to worship if you want to is still held sacrosanct. Nothing has changed except that people were just asked to do things a little differently for a while as a horrible disease ravaged the population. The KerDoodles are not political in the slightest, but as a human being I believe I do sometimes have the right to have my say. So, worship as you choose, but don’t let paranoia make you crazy.

Anyway, that’s just about enough of that! Take a quiet moment to remember those who lost their lives to COVID, and then we’ll move on… to yet another COVID-inspired presentation.

Remember the early days of COVID when everyone suddenly had to figure out how to communicate without being together? The ZOOM® phenomenon took the world by storm! Suddenly everyone had to get online if they wanted to learn, work, or just not go stir-crazy. I did it. You did it. We all did it!

So what do we have here? Eating, crying, showing off family pics. Happy, yakky, bemused, cool, angry, kid-interrupted, determined, attentive, coffee-drinking, my dog, me, sleepy, nose-picking, dog at night – there’s so much! And so many situations to which I think we can all relate. Yes, that’s little me in the picture in the middle, fourth row down. Looking very important, if I do say so myself. This one definitely came from the inspired list.

I then went through a period of doing some underwater work – not for any specific reason or purpose but to learn and apply new techniques.

This is one of the drawings I came up with. To give you an idea of the complexity of these works, each one employs probably twenty or thirty separate layers – for objects, critters, and for all the colours involved. There’s also a layer for the effect which makes the image slightly translucent. Each one of these underwater images took about a week to draw. I did have fun with them, though – I always love to learn new things and a great deal of learning came from these offerings.

This one really got my comedy juices flowing.

If you’re paying attention you’ll discern my subtle English sense of humour here. I don’t believe I need to lay it out specifically and in detail for you, but when I drew it I really got a kick out of it.

Same with this one.

The carrot fridge is empty and as a result he is one hot, cross bunny. The reflections were something I learned to do with the COVID offering above and I’ve used them again here. They add a certain sumpin-sumpin, I think. They give the work real depth and character – and even realism. I like it.

How about a little hair on your chest?

Yes, I know. The shameless use of a simple aphorism for the purposes of a laugh. Unbelievable! There oughta be a law.

“So why don’t you draw people?” I was once asked. Well, as you’ve seen before, very occasionally I do.

So here we have newly-elected President Biden responding to a crisis. And boy, are they in trouble! The real joke here is the idea of unity in a crisis.

Then there’s this one.

It’s along the lines of the earlier skydiving offering, but a little more KerDoodley. The KerDoodles are far more assured by this time – more comfortable in their own skin, if you will. The earthscape is all mine. It’s still simple, but it also has some complexities. I like this one mostly because it came out exactly the way I envisioned it, and there’s always a supreme satisfaction in that.

Finally, this one was born in my subconscious while I was watching TV one night. I believe one of the characters in the show used these very words, and this image popped into my head completely unbidden.

It had to be drawn. No ifs, ands, or hanging KerDoodle buts about it.

A final homage, perhaps, because it is one of my favourites. Along with Charles M. Schulz, one of my artistic idols was Berkeley Breathed, the creator of – as he references him – the ‘existentialist penguin’, Opus. I felt constrained to do some kind of honorific for him too.

So here we are, in the Antarctic, on a cruise, with Opus and his family. Yes, there’s a KerDoodle here. There are actually three, if you look on the bow of the ship in the background. They’re enjoying this little penguin family portrait moment. I actually emailed Mr Breathed through his website with a copy of this, seeking permission, or making apologies, I’m not sure which, but I didn’t hear back. I therefore invoke ‘fair use’ for the purposes of showing it here, and hope, hope, hope that he doesn’t hate me.

Oh man, look at how complex the KerDoodles have become!

For some reason this fellow is wandering around a cemetery in the dark. Evidently, he’s doing some ghost hunting, but it’s pretty clear that he’s having second thoughts as he’s figured out that he’s not as alone as he thought. I love the light in this one. The torchlight on his face, the mistiness, the bounce of the glow off the headstones, and the high-tech ghost hunting gadgetry hanging from his belt. Can you see the ghost KerDoodle who’s with him, peering out from behind the closest headstone? He’s very faint, but he’s there. Is that the ghost of Garth, I wonder, mentioned on the next marker over? I just don’t know.

Once I started drawing aliens I started seeing them everywhere.

I mean, surely they are at least as socially well-organized as we are, right? They don’t just fly around up there for nothing, right? They get paid, like we do (probably better), they raise little aliennettes, pay off loans on their family space ships, they hunt, and gather, and provide, right? So, one day I was thinking about all this important stuff when I suddenly pictured how it would look with an alien at the bank, cashing his cheque. Yup, no clothes. Shameless! I enjoyed drawing the bank in this one, and for some reason I was surprised at how well the trees outside of the windows turned out. I’m not exactly sure why. They look quite real!

Truly one my favourites ever is Marshmallow Dance.

I was working the mountain bus job when I conceived this one. All those campers, dancing in the dark around a warm and welcoming campfire. The marshmallows on forks, the curious, deep-green trees looking on. All invoking smiles such as are usually remembered best only in childhood! Definitely an ‘Ah yes, I remember when’ sort of thing.

I was, and still am, very satisfied with the colours in this one – the deep black of night, the red and orange glow of the fire, the bright red flecks of cinder and ash headed inexorably for the sky. I was very pleased, too, at the effect I created when I shadowed the fireward surfaces of each happy KerDoodle with a bright orange, but very, very thin line because it truly helped define the character and to tether him or her corporeally to the naturalness all around. It’s almost as if they are emerging – evolving – from the darkness which surrounds them.

It’s so simple, yet so joyous. And that’s what truly defines the KerDoodles. The joy. The innocence. The inherent kindness. The idea that to do nasty, vicious, or violent things to anyone for any reason is simply anathema to what they are – to what we are supposed to be. It just does not compute. Is it my most complex work ever? It is very busy indeed, but probably not. But I love it – because it has a delicious kind of exuberance about it that is really appealing.

After such a sublime state of affairs, here are a few random favourites for your enjoyment and edification before we move on.

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