This is a logo-doodle…wouldn’t that make an excellent name for an alien science fiction character? Logodoodle, Prince of the Black Hole Kingdom.
I have been so obsessed with all the terrible details of the new orange monkey that has taken over our government that I completely forgot about an idea I had for a logo using my family name. That is, until I began doodling while binging on Penny Dreadful on Netflix. (Gawd, I have to talk about that show in a post too… horribly wonderful stuff!) Yes the name-plate art you see above, not inspired by Trump’s gold letter fetish, no, not at all, is merely a doodle. No rulers were used. I eyeballed everything and let it flow. I do admit to going over the pencil drawing in ink and editing at that point.
My family name, you see, is a very old and common German name. Beyer means “a man from Bavaria” or auf Deutsch, “ein Mann aus Bayern”. We were originally peasant farmers, but achieved nobility and a coat of arms in the middle ages. I know this because in 1990 I was invited the to world-wide Beyer family reunion in Munich due to the genealogical research Uncle Skip did into the family name. They sent me a book and I paid for the book, but did not attend. (On a teacher’s salary? Are you kidding me?)
But I was thinking about my brand. It does have a meaning, and it does stand for something. I underlined the illuminated letters of the name with a broken sword. My ancestors were once warlike. My great uncle died in the US Navy during World War II. My dad was in the Navy during the Korean Conflict. But having been a school teacher for so many years, I am dedicated to the belief that conflict is best resolved through wit and negotiation. I would sooner be killed than have to shoot at another human being. Of course, that part of the Beyer brand only applies to me. Both my son the Marine, and my brother the retired Texas prison guard, are gun nuts. And they are both very good shots. I don’t recommend getting into serious arguments with them.
My family name also stands for farming and farmer’s values. We were once stewards of the land. Both my mother and my father grew up on farms. I was raised in a small farm town less than five miles from the Aldrich family farms of my grandparents and uncles. I have worked on farms. I have shoveled cow poop… a unique thing to look upon as a badge of honor. My octogenarian parents are living now in my grandparents’ farm house on land that has been in my family for more than 100 years.
My family name also stands for service. I am not the only teacher in the clan. My mother and two of my cousins are long-time registered nurses and all have seen the craziness of the ER. (And I don’t mean by watching the television show with Clooney in it.) I have a brother who was a prison guard and a sister who is a county health inspector. We put the welfare of others before our own. Our success in life has been measured by the success of the communities we serve.
While it is true that I could never make money off the Beyer brand the way gold-letter-using Mr. Trump has, I think it is safe to say, “My brand is priceless.”
Today, being ill, I resorted to doodling in bed to make myself feel better. No, I said doodling, meaning drawing things without a plan for where the pencil goes next. Get your mind on better things. I ended up with a nightmare of a school bus. And I inked it, scanned it in four pieces, puzzled it together, and posted it, cussing at the computer for every glitch that interrupted my work. And now I give you Dullwhittler’s Skool Bus. I hope it doesn’t disgust you to the point that you have to scour your eyeballs with unwashed sweat socks to get the offensiveness out of your mind’s eye. But I acknowledge that it might. Forgive me, but I have ridden on school buses with students who were very similar to these.
This is a 4-minute free-hand doodle in pen and ink on white drawing paper. I drew it fast. I actually put less planning and thought into creating it than the clown president has put into tariffs and trade wars.
I confess to rarely doing things without a plan and considerable preparation. It is as much a teacher thing as it is an artist thing. But it is not really a clown thing. Clown things tend to be spontaneous, unrehearsed, improvised, and free-flowing.
I think, though, that my doodle, though done fast and directly from the idea machine to paper, shows how my constant preparing and work on careful planning leads to certain features of talent and skill showing through.
I believe I have revealed before that as a writer and an artist I am a formalist. I believe in the rules and proper forms. I know the proper forms and the rules very well. And therefore, I feel qualified to break the rules whenever necessary.
And clowns must break the rules. You have push outside the borders. You have to twist things at unnatural angles. You have to turn things upside down. You have to portray a clown with only the face and hands.
Of course you can see a definite difference in quality between clowns. The Cheeto-head who runs our country does not exhibit practiced skill when he free-hands it and tweets his comedy on Twitter. He creates mainly chaos. Robin Williams, on the other hand, rapid fires incredible lines off the top of his head. But he can do that because he has practiced brewing gallons of funny foam up in his insane brain and grabbing off the amazing lines that fizz out of his brain and tosses them out to create comedy.
Chaos is easy to create. Comedy, especially thoughtful comedy, is hard.
So, I will continue to do clown stuff. And I will continue to doodle. But I will also continue to plan and practice, because clown stuff is seriously important, and has to be done correctly.
I joined an art challenge Facebook group that regularly pits doodlers against each other with four minutes to doodle in and a place to post the results. And we do it for absolutely no prizes or titles or even ranking, just for the love of doodling. So here is a recent 4-minute doodle by Mickey posted on that selfsame super-silly group;
If you are having trouble believing that I dragon-doodled this in only 4 minutes, please notice that that the left side of the dragon’s face is clearly the area I was rushing to complete as the time was running out. I doodled this in black ink with a ballpoint pen. I timed it. And I have drawn numerous dragons before. So you could rationalize that I really worked for hours upon hours to be able to do this four minute doodle.
Yes, I was doodling again. Doodling is the kind of thing doodlers always doo. I am not the only secret sinner who doodles. My children doodle too. Except, number one son does his best doodling on the piano. I don’t mean he draws on the actual pianoforte instrument. He makes meandering melody that sounds almost polished, almost professional. He amazes people with his musical fingers and his musical ear and, especially, his musical imagination. Number two son doodles music too. Except he’s in love with the guitar. Seriously. He’s doodling out chord progressions and sonorous soulful melodies right this minute. He can play Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 on guitar. It is so beautiful it makes me weep. And the Princess? She draws anime characters and doodles more like me. Except, as you can see, I draw doodle-dogs and doodle-cats and make you wonder if they have spats. Look at the paw, the paw with the claw. Is it the doodle-cat’s claw? Or the doodle-dog’s paw? One way’s peace, the other war.
And that is my wisdom for today. Doodling is natural. Churches should not call it a sin. Everybody does it, in one way or another. And though it doesn’t usually create high art from nothing, it does lead to the eventual birth of masterpieces.
Today’s Paffooney paffoon cartoon is a puzzler. I have this Rabbit People cartoon scene in my head with no punch line, no dialogue, and basically no idea. It just popped into my head doodle fashion, and then flowed down through my pencil and pen onto paper.
What is boy bunny Benjamin asking or saying to young buck about town Bernhopper Bunny? And what is Bernhopper’s answer?
Maybe like this;
But that’s bathroom humor. We all know the Easter Bunny lays chocolate eggs for Easter, so bunny bathroom humor gets you wondering about about chocolate chip cookies from the Easter Bunny. And that’s just gross.
Maybe it should be more like this;
Now that’s downright bad citizenship advice. Surely we can do better. And does the story have to be about the fireplug?
Okay, gotta squelch the sexual innuendo. When it comes to rabbits, that kind of humor leads to lots more rabbits. I’m not really sure how this comes out. Maybe the story should involve fat Barry Bunny who secretly prefers bananas to carrots. Or maybe it is about beautiful Bingolette Bunny who plays the bongos and writes monumentally horrible love songs in her spare time. I just can’t figure out rabbit humor! It is so frustrating! Maybe you have suggestions in the comments. (Is that a challenge to your creativity? Just a test to see if you really read this junk? Or am I just too lazy to write my own cartoons? I’ll never tell.)
I drew this face as a doodle while watching an episode of Iron Fist on Netflix. I don’t think it is anybody in the show I was watching, actor or character or comic book villain, but I can’t help but think that Doodleface is a great name for a Dick Tracy villain.
Of course, a doodle is a drawing done with only half-attention being paid. I was not ignoring Iron Fist as I drew this. I did not take time to plan it out with a pencil sketch. I started drawing the right eye, thinking it w ould probably become a girl’s face. When I tried to match the first eye with a second, it came out mismatched enough that she morphed into a villain. Bilateral symmetry equals beauty. Asymmetry equals comedy goofball or possibly villain. As I framed the eyes and developed the center of the face down to the chin, the chance to make a Natasha or an Olga Badenov sort of villain dissipated to the point of masculine villainy. That probably explains the curly hair, since the villain Bakuto in Iron Fist had curly hair. But curiously, this drawing-while- watching-TV fellow is not Bakuto. This guy has no beard. And in the episode I watched, Bakuto had a beard. And Bakuto also ended the episode with a knife sticking out of his general heart-area, not a good sign for his personal health and wellness, though in a comic book plot… well, who knows?
So, if Doodleface is a Dick Tracy villain, how did he get his name and what is his special thing? Pruneface was pruney in the face. Mumbles couldn’t talk so you could understand him. Flattop had a head that was flat on the top like a table. So Doodleface is obviously a master of disguise. He must possess a magic pen acquired in the mysterious Orient in the 1920’s, one that clearly allows him to redraw his features at any given time so he cannot be recognized. And hopefully, he draws well enough that coppers won’t just take one look and say, “Hey, dat guy over dere has a squiggle drawn all over his mug! Dat must be Doodleface!!!” (Of course it has to be three exclamation points because… well, cartoon exaggeration!!!)
And all of this is, of course, evidence that even when I am watching a fairly good show on TV (Iron Fist is not Daredevil or Luke Cage in its levels of amazing Marvel comics goodness) my mind and my drawing hand are both still busy doing their own thing as well. Doodling is an artsy-fartsy way to kill time and fill up empty spaces. My entire blog is basically the same in this purpose. But I am able to use the doodle imperative to create and be creative, to learn and to grow, and possibly make up something worth keeping.
While watching Netflix yesterday afternoon, a retirement activity that becomes the majority of my social life when the diabetes demons are eating me, I started doodling a fox. It was a pencil doodle at first. And I was not drawing from life. I was drawing the fox in my head. I suspect it was the fox from Antoine de Saint Exupery’s masterwork, The Little Prince.
Yes, that fox. The wise one that knows about taming little princes, and loving them, and being reminded of them in the color of wheat fields. I began to need that fox as my doodle pen uncovered him on the blank page. There he was. Surprised to see me. Either he was leaping towards me in the picture, or falling down on me from the sky above. I don’t know which. But I realized I had to tame him by drawing him and making him as real as ever an imaginary fox could ever be. You will notice he does not look like a real fox. I did not draw him from a photograph, but from the cartoon eye in my mind where all Paffoonies come from. And this was to be a profound Paffooney… a buffoony cartoony looney Paffooney. It simply had to be, because that is precisely what I always doodle-do.
And so he was a fox. He was my doodlefox. I had tamed him. And then I had to give him color. And, of course, the color had to be orange-red.
And so, there is my fox. Like the Little Prince’s fox he could tell me, “What is essential is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that we can see rightly.” And I put him in a post with lyrical and somewhat goofy words to give you a sense of what he means to me, in the same way one might explain what the thrill of the heart feels like when a butterfly’s wing brushes against the back of your hand. Yes, to share the unknowable knowledge and the unfeelable feeling of a doodlefox. A demonstration of precisely what a Paffooney is.