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.
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).
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.