Monday, November 5, 2007

Blast from the past

Or: It's never too early in your career for a retrospective. Especially if the retrospective in question is based entirely on a folder of ancient drawings your parents found in a drawer when they were doing some home improvements recently. So, strap yourselves in and prepare to be dragged kicking and screaming back to the year 1988(ish) - when earrings were large, Ben Elton was relevant, Queen Maggie was still on the throne, and somewhere in Wolverhampton a twelve-year-old girl was doing this kind of thing instead of smashing up bus shelters and attempting to buy Woodpecker...

Alien beauty contests. According to The Folder, I drew quite a lot of these, although I can't quite recall why. Possibly because it allowed me to combine pretty with bizarre, which was (and still is) a favourite theme of mine.

Ahaha, what can I say - I'd recently acquired my first Spectrum ^_^

I remember making several attempts to create a kind of "School for Monsters" project (a concept that's actually been done to death, although I hadn't seen any other examples at the time). This one mainly gets a posting here because of the little space-weasel, the relevance of which has been completely lost in the mists of time but which makes me chuckle now.

This one goes back even even earlier than the others, probably to age ten or eleven. It was called "Jo & Co" (Jo being the leader - she's the one with the pink and black hair and purple skirt), and was pretty much about this bunch of girls hanging out. You can see from the horribly close-together round eyes that I was on a fairly serious Jim Davis kick back then - but don't worry, I've since made a full recovery.

I must've had some kind of psychic vibe that in the future I'd need to be able to draw small mammals, because I found a bucketload of drawings of this lot. The Rebel Rodents - for such were they named - came directly from the love of Oink! comic and its anarchic sensibilities that I harboured at the time. (That and the fact that I had some pet gerbils.) Sadly, drawing punk hamsters was probably the closest I ever got to real adolescent rebellion.

That's a LOT of rodents. I remember being very chuffed with that one at the time.

Going back even further than all this lot, to when I was about five or six and just learning to deface the inside covers of my school reading books, I always had a leaning towards ensemble pictures - taking a theme, like fairies or hairstyles (or, yes, alien beauty contests) and then filling the page with drawings based on it. I had dozens, maybe hundreds of characters that I'd created over the years. "Well then," you might say, "It's pretty obvious from this lot that you were going to end up drawing comics one day, eh?"

Well, no. Because they never had stories.

Not a one.

Oh, they had personalities. I remember many of them clearly, and those that I can't, I can pretty much deduce from the pictures. They could've interacted with each other, had adventures, laughed, cried, learned some lesson or other about life. Maybe even just sat around eating toast. But they never did. It bewilders me now that I draw so obsessively, and devoured comics so eagerly, yet never actually MADE comics - only characters standing around looking nice. Really, where's the fun in that?

So I'm sorry, my little doodles. I'm sorry you never had the lives you could've. If I ever find a way of going back in time and giving my past self a boot up the arse, I promise I'll do it.