Pep Talk

Hey, watch the potty mouth, Autumn!
…that’s Winter’s territory.

Here’s to you, Autumn.  May your time be a peaceful one.  Hopefully.  Maybe.  Pretty please.

Fun fact: I can never remember what Autumn’s leaf tattoos look like.  So it’s like a new sleeve every time!  Like magic!

…which will probably be my excuse considering that he is the personification of a season, sooooo…

Intro: Quincy

Truly a sweetheart.

All righty!  Here’s our last introduction for now – there will be more, trust me – and it’s our gas-masked gardener friend, Quincy Appleby!

Quincy is the newest of the bunch, so I feel like I’m still developing him.  And truth be told, I seriously have no idea what he is.   i know he’s not exactly…human.  In fact, I think Dot might have been the closest in him being some kind of Eldritch abomination underneath the gas mask.

But a nice Eldritch abomination!

I drew him with the idea of having this character who looks like a serial killer – what with the mask, the claws, the fact that he doesn’t really talk but just kinda growls – but is actually a big old softie underneath it all who wears button ups.  He really wants people to like him, so it does hurt when they run away instead.  But thankfully he’s found a home where everyone enjoys his company – and the fact that he keeps the backyard nice and neat.

I also wanted to give him the most unassuming, normal name possible.  Hence, the last name Appleby.  And yes, we will see his sister Agatha at some point, who does indeed have a plague doctor’s mask on.  Something I’ve wanted to do for a while – a plague doctor character.

Also, I am aware that he does resemble Tom Trench, a character from the show Hazbin Hotel.  But in all honesty, I did draw him before I actually watched the show.  And they are very, VERY different characterwise.  Just putting that out there.

So, I will be taking a break from character introductions for now, even though are more that I want to cover (the Seasons!  The Paw Pioneers!  Dot’s monster buddies!).  I will get back to them, eventually.  Just like that Dot storyline.

Promise.

Intro: Dot

Quincy gets it.

I swear I will get back to that storyline I PROMISE.

Anyways, our next character up is that shadowy ball of cynicism, Dot!  And yes, it is short for Dorothea.  Lars helped her come up with it.

It’s been great bringing Dot back.  Like an old friend – even older than Lars.  And the two really do belong together, just like Lars and Eliza.  Even if Eliza is downright terrified of her.  But hopefully those two will become friends (eventually – it’ll happen).  Dot wants it to happen, especially because Lars is one of her dearest friends and Eliza is now part of that package.  Plus, I’d like to think that she finds Eliza amusing in a weird way.

I don’t think Dot scares people on purpose.  She’s just kind of being her shadowy, creepy self.  And she does care about others – maybe not as obvious as Quincy, but she does care.

That isn’t to say that she wouldn’t be opposed to scaring people who she thinks deserves it.  Then it’s karma/fun.

Fun fact: Dot is surprisingly one of the harder characters to draw.  That may be because she takes the longest, being a mostly black character that has a lot of little details and takes up a lot of ink.  I think everytime I draw her my 05 and 08 pens start crying.

Drawing Old Dot was…something.  The eyes – how did anyone know where she was actually looking?  She needed an upgrade.  Clearly.  She was basically a black blob with eyes.

Of course, she still is a black blob with eyes, but now she has eyebrows and weird wispy things!  I have no idea what they are.  They’re just there.

Next up: Quincy!

Intro: Cleo

Hang in there, Dot. Only a few dozen more.

Here she is – the most magical of my characters, Cleo Culpepper!

Out of the four Halloween storylines that I’ve done, the 2016 Revenge of the Stuffed Animals was probably my favorite.  I thought the writing and the pacing were the strongest, it didn’t take me forever and a day to finish it, I wasn’t trying too hard, and it allowed me to introduce Cleo as a character.

I think I wanted to introduce both a coworker character as well as a witch character.  So Cleo was able to tick both of those boxes.  For a while there, though, I wasn’t drawing her as much as I would’ve liked to.  Not sure why.  I do enjoy drawing her.  May have accidentally pushed her into the background.  Trying to rectify that.

Also, one of my favorite parts of drawing Cleo is coming up with her massive stuffed animal collection.  Due to her witchy nature, I’d like to think that all of her stuffed animals would be kind creepy/cute, and it’s fun to come up with new ones, like a two-headed cat or a little Sasquatch guy.  I like to think that each character has a bit of me in them, and with Cleo, it’s definitely the love of stuffed animals. I have way too many myself (and will probably buy more because I’m an adult with a regular paycheck and this is what I choose to spend it on).  There is also the fondness for avoiding people.  Trying to work on that.

Next up: Dot!

Intro: Jeff the Reindeer

Other holidays be damned.

Here he is – the reindeer with the most Christmas spirit, Jeff the Reindeer!

I feel bad for Jeff sometimes.  I don’t draw him as often as everyone else and he kind of just…fades into the background.  Until it’s Christmastime and I remember that he exists.

I think the main reason I decided to keep drawing him was that I enjoyed the ridiculousness of his name.  A reindeer named Jeff.  Not Jeffrey.  Just Jeff.  More importantly, Jeff the Reindeer.  Seems incomplete without the last bit.

I’d probably describe Jeff as calm with a hint of desperation and a intensity for Christmas that is unrivaled by anyone.  Yeah, that sums him up.

Also, the first time I’ve drawn his stable (which I am pretty damn proud of – look at that building!  It looks like a building!).  He lives out in the backyard for two main reasons: he’s kind of hard to keep inside and he’d probably start decorating for Christmas in August.  So for everyone’s sanity, he stays out back.  Suits his needs, though.  Not sure how much shenanigans he would tolerate (see: when Arugthor landed in the backyard).

Next up: Cleo!

Intro: Eliza

So. Much. Glitter.

Here she is – the ball of energy that is Eliza the red panda!

…honestly, there really isn’t much of a deep backstory here.  I drew a red panda once, liked how she turned out, and just kept throwing her into comics.  That’s pretty much it.  Kind of funny how that happens.  Now, what happened to the kiwi bird I drew her with, I dunno.  But Eliza’s still here.

I will say that she is one of the harder characters to draw.  She has a lot of different details to get right, especially with the shading of her body and tail.  It took me a while to get her design down, but I think I’ve got it squared away at this point.

Fun fact: I got her name from an article about baby animals born in zoos.  There was a trio of red pandas born, and one of them was named Lizzie.  So when I started drawing a red panda of my own, I decided on Eliza.

Thinking about it now, Eliza is definitely not an Elizabeth.  She’s an Eliza, straight up.

An Eliza who uses way too much glitter.  That’s gonna be found everywhere…

Next up: Jeff the Reindeer!

Intro: Willa

Eliza probably supplies about 75% of that chaos.

Here we are – I Draw Walrus’s resident voice of reason, Willa Olsen!

With that third panel, I did have the Mary Tyler Moore theme song going through my head.  “You’re gonna make it after allllll…”

To be honest, growing up near Minneapolis, I’m sure Mary Tyler Moore was a big inspiration for Willa.  There is probably a photo somewhere of Willa posing next to the MTM statue attempting to throw her hat in the air.

And yeah, I did have a series of characters through middle school and high school who were all precursors to Willa, acting as the one normalish character who found themselves dragged into whatever chaos was going on.  Kind of like a Doctor Who companion.  At this point, though, Willa has lasted longer than most of them.  Sorry Debbie, Jade, and April.

I think I really wanted another character when I first introduced Willa – a third to round out me and Lars, acting as the anchor for whatever nonsense was going on, while having a bit of nonsense herself.  So, there she was – Willa Olsen.

Side note: at this point, with it now being September, Willa would be that person who has her Halloween costume all picked out and the Halloween decorations all up.

Next up: Eliza!

Intro: Lars

Lars lives for the morning. Willa just wants breakfast.

First up in character introductions: the walrus in I Draw Walruses, Lars!

He really did come about during an art class project.  We had to make papier-mache masks of any character we wanted.  I decided to take inspiration from Shel Silverstein and create a walrus with braces.  From here, Lars was born.

I would often pair him with Dot whenever I drew him all through middle school and high school.  They just seemed to be a good match, riffing off of each other with their different personalities.

During college, Lars sort of disappeared for a bit.  Even then, though, I would try to squeeze walruses into at least one art project per course (minus my life drawing class – I don’t think I would risk it given the terror that particular professor struck in me).  I even wrote a story featuring talking walruses for one of my writing courses once I fled the art department.

Walruses have been my trademark for quite some time, as you can see.  When I started up this blog, clearly, walruses needed to be involved.  And Lars came bouncing back into my life.

It’s hard to believe it was just me, him, and Willa for the longest time.  And now it’s become all this.  Lars was truly the beginning of it all for me – getting back into drawing and creating.  I’m fairly certain if I ever get something done in the picture book arena, Lars would be front and center.

Next up: Willa!

An Intro to Intros

Thank you DOT.

So.

In an attempt to reach a larger audience, I have started posting some of my comics over on my Instagram (@i_draw_walruses).  And I’ve been a grand old time – the algorithm is a beast, but I’m working on it.

However, in my excitement to do so, I have not really provided much background/context on these characters that I have developed over the past 5 years or so to this new audience.  So it’s been hard for them to jump on board or even really understand what goes on in the I Draw Walruses universe (it really is its own bizarre, strange universe at this point).

So I have deemed September Character Month – I’ll be doing a whole series reintroducing my characters, providing some much needed background, starting with what I consider to be the Main 7 at this point (Lars, Willa, Eliza, Jeff the Reindeer, Cleo, Dot, and Quincy).  The rest will fall in line.

Hopefully this will be helpful.  If it isn’t, well, then, I at least explored my characters a bit more and fleshed them out of bit.

I have a lot of them, I’ve discovered.  Like, more than I realized.  But it’ll be fun.