I'm jumping ahead several months now to give a taste of where the strip is heading. This is month 25 and by now I'm dealing with one topic a month. Also, the continuing story has fallen by the way to be replaced with my version of a rant on topics that interest me. At this time I was learning the Ode on guitar and did a little research. This is something that I started doing early on...feeding my inner nerd.
recently I saw a facebook post of the Slovakian Philharmonic playing the instrumental and that reminded me I had done this drawing many years ago, so I revisited it. Like coming home.
Yes, I was scratching around my head full of ideas trying to find a story line, eventually settling on Clarence's great intelligence helping the children of the town to learn outside of school classes. By this time I'm starting to realize that a continuing story in a monthly publication is a trick to pull off. There's no guarantee that the readers from month to month have been following along...but so far I'm still trying!
the BB's in the butter is a true story! Good Luck margarine...the 'oo's were the targets!
Well the next challenge was to get some dialogue going...so I used the Dr. Doolittle method: I had Clarence talk. Simple. I also developed some tension by continuing on with Mr. Hardie's grumbling bravado. Freeda, the kid sister, comes on the scene and shows she's a bit shifty herself as her brother and Clarence attempt a cover up.
On another note, in my strip I use the word 'Newfie', or 'Newf' because I use those words in my real life. I know there's a camp out there who feel offended by this word and it is not my intent to offend. Personally the terms don't bother me. Now, if some arsehole is using them in an offensive manner, that's another thing, but it's not the word's fault. Besides, this is my world I'm developing so that's that.
Finally, month 4 Clarence wanders into Buchans and meets up with the Hardie family. I have no idea what sound a caribou makes by the way 'Hewonk' came from my imagination all by its lonesome. The tart mentioned is still my very favourite dessert...with canned cream...mmmm! Also finally, I was now drawing humans (in my own special way lol); Mrs Hardie's curlers were fun but my best part of this strip was Mr Hardie, fangs and all, running his oaths all together in one long grumble. It's a little known fact that Newfoundland fathers all grumble, and most sound and look a lot scarier than they really are!
The last panel reflects my opinion of what should be on everybody's Christmas List...bar none. As well, so far I'm sticking to the script of the story as it was related to me by Ron Young, except the characters are mine.
By the third month I figured I had to have Clarence get in touch with humanity. I chose a speeding pickup truck with a homemade 'gypsy box' on the back to be Clarence's first encounter with us. She of course thinks only of her belly! 'Gypsy Box' by the way, is the affectionate name given by my father for the box he built and put on the back of his own pickup! It's kinda stuck with me (seeing as how I've sorta been a travelling gypsy vagabond in my own time).
It's also a common sight to see moose and occasionally caribou eating the vegetation on the side of the highway. That's because during the winter the roads are salted and the plow spreads snow and ice to the sides and taking the salt along with it. Woodland critters love salt! Essentially we have a 900km long salt lick!
After a couple of weeks sketching caribou I'd researched in the library (for the benefit of you 'millennium children', that's a building full of books and other printed matter that was in chic prior to the digital age) I finally felt confident enough to attempt to draw the strip. I was trying very hard to develop a character that I could draw over and over, in many positions. Easy right? Nope. She started out looking like a cross between a cow and a dog...and WTF!
I introduced another character as well; 'Gul', seen below relating a story a good friend of mine told me about what an old 'Indian' (politically correct nowdays to say First Nation's Elder ) around Buchans had said...
Why another critter? You try drawing the same thing over and over for weeks and you'll know!
I also had to figure out how in this story I was going to get Clarence in contact with humanity...Yikes.
Back in the Dark Ages I published a collection of cartoons (Ungulate Philosophy) that I had drawn over a period of years with the (then) Downhomer Magazine. The strip was based around a small caribou that had wandered into the town of Buchans, NL. The Editor and Founder of the magazine, Ron Young, responded to an inquiry I made wondering if they wanted to take on a cartoon strip. The strip I had in mind was 'Treesn' but Ron wanted a brand new strip about 'Clarence' (that's what the people of Buchans named her before discovering her sex) for the KID'S PAGES.
So, dutifully I scribbled and sketched and erased and drank large amounts of coffee coming up with what would be an 8 panel monthly cartoon strip. Most people have forgotten Clarence now but I thought it might be a nice idea to post those drawings these many years later. As I'm looking at the drawings now I am reminded of how I always wanted to promote Newfoundland & Labrador as I moved from place to place with my day job. There's plenty of Newfoundlandia in the collection.
Here today is the very first strip of 'Clarence the Christmas Caribou'. I hope you get a smile from this one and those to follow!