There be Monsters

In the spirit of evolution my mind naturally turned toward monsters. Don’t ask. There was a brush with the monster idiom early on – an offering that embarrasses me to this day involving a cardboard box type thing with eyes, hiding under the bed. After that attempt I was happy enough to acknowledge my weaknesses and stick to learning how to draw KerDoodles.

But by 2021 I figured I’d come far enough to touch on the idea again. After all, they’re everywhere aren’t they? They are an endemic part of our culture – of every culture. They are the bi to the polar. They are the yin to the yang. And as an important part of our understanding they really needed to be included in The Village landscape. I like to think of the Village occupants as pretty nice guys – as sweet and light and loving, but even they need their monsters to keep things in perspective. That said, these monsters probably won’t frighten you very much.

This was the first monster, and what could be more threatening than a monster liking your hair? It’s a personal space thing. Notice something? The likee is one of my human representations. But don’t worry, all is well. Our KerDoodle heritage is teased out by an über-amused Kerdoolian, smiling at the situation. Everybody looks happy enough. Even the subject of the hair-tickling seems bemused rather than offended. And isn’t that just the way it should be?

The next monster to exit the cranium was this one.

The question occurred to me: what does a monster do at home after a long, hard day of monstering? What does he do with his time off? This fellow suggests that a nice horror movie is apropos, with a wobbly pop and a bowl of popcorn. The cemetery picture on the wall was a nice touch, I thought, as was the KerDoodle night light. Tacky armchair, though. What on earth was I thinking! I guess monsters are human, too.

Next we happen on a sad scene.

A monster’s traditional job, of course, is to frighten the children, and that’s okay. As the kidoodles found out from Clive and Connie, sometimes we learn from our fear. But what happens when that child goes away? Gramma visits, school trips – sometimes the kids leave their monsters behind. Why do you think we enjoy vacations so much? Because we leave our monsters behind.

So I wonder, did anyone ever stop to think how the monster feels? I do. The kids do. And here he is. He’s not a happy camper, is he? Sure, it’s only one day, and I suppose he can survive that, but it’s hard for a monster to be away from his attachment for too long.

Of course, there’s also the other side of that coin. Sometimes we have to put the monster in its place. I mean, once in a while your monster just gets out of order. That’s when it’s critical to correct him as this little kidoodle is doing now.

Did you ever have that experience where you put something down somewhere, then when you went back for it it was gone? I think everyone has gone through that at some time or other. Some people think that’s evidence of a ghost – a perfect purloining prestidigitatory poltergeist. But I think it’s the monster. Remembering that we all have one, it’s pretty reasonable to suppose that when we’re too good, too kind, too sweet, he just might feel the need to act up a little – to shake us up.

It’s only boredom when he takes our keys from the table and hides them in the desk. It’s only pique when he spills milk, when he bunches that rug up in the corner, when he throws the dog’s toys all over the floor. It’s only an impish devotion to his nature when he leaves the fridge door open or the toilet seat up. And you can’t blame him for being true to his nature.

A few quick bursts before we head to our final monster thoughts. This fellow is clearly very well organized.

Let’s see, neatly compartmentalized he has cake, hamburgers, movies, badges, puppies, popcorn, toys, candies, money, perfumes, a mask and…. These are not tools of evil – they are tools of acknowledgment. Remembering that everyone has a monster, you can appreciate that these toys symbolize the things that attract us all. Several of the ‘deadly sins’ are represented here, so hey, this is serious stuff. But we can at least be assured that the monster has them well organized. You’re not going to be very good at nastiness if you aren’t well organized.

I watched a video of a song on the infamous tube site one day, and it gave me the idea for this one.

Monster Mash. Mashed potatoes. Get it? Sorry.

This one will have meaning if you think about King Kong.

I’m sure you’ve seen the iconic image showing the enormous gorilla scaling the side of the Empire State Building. If you haven’t, I’m sure you can look it up online. Well, here we have a KerDoodle monster standing in the street in front of a fully occupied skyscraper, looking up, and contemplating on whether or not he wants to attempt it. You can see the answer.

Of course, there’s something to consider when you think about your monster. I’ve long lived with the idea that “wherever you go, that’s where you are.” Well, it’s true for your monster, too. Wherever you go, in theory, he (or she) goes with you. Our job as KerDoodles, or as humans, is to control the monster, to give it voice without giving it control. Everybody’s monster is different – so it’s not the same issue for everyone. But whatever issue it is, the monster must be controlled.

This fellow seems to understand this. His monster has one hand on his head – oh, he’s up there – but they are still distinct entities and can remain that way as required.

Suffice it to say, KerDoodle monsters aren’t your run-of-the-mill mean and nasty fellows. They aren’t set on destruction or horrific acts. They are, rather, an indispensable part of our ego, our id, and our very selves as we function, day-to-day. KerDoodle monsters are polite, unimposing. Their aim is not to trouble, but to support. I hope you at least can find them funny, even lovable. In fact, if you do, why not take a moment to look behind you right now and say, out loud, “hello, dear Mister/Miss/Mrs monster… let’s get along, eh?”

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.