Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Porcupine Caribou" (Wheee!!!)

I just love it when something leaks out of the end of the pen for no other reason than to just simply draw something that's, well... cute. I mean, yeah, sure there's a joke in there somewhere too, but at the core just giving up a grin is what it's all about. So, cute.

The original idle doodle

On a deeper, psychological level I suppose there's also some degree of gallows-humor, as a reflexive reaction to thinking about such wild & wonderful places such as our National Wildlife Refuges in America, and the constant vigilance it takes to support and protect them against recurring threats from development. In other words, it's sometimes downright depressing, but there's always a well of activism (even anger and sorrow) to draw from that usually gets channeled into editorial panels. But every so often it's just too much to deal with anymore, and all that's left is to poke a dumb joke at it all.
Bur seriously, there's another side of the story: art can serve as a citizen's example of what these areas of stewardship can and do represent to the imagination. Serious or silly, these places and their inhabitants are symbols, cultural resources everyone can enjoy and employ, from across any medium of expression, be it from music to literature to the visual arts (and the occasional cartoon).

Big Questions: Go solo or follow the herd?

The motivation was an invitation to submit a piece for a show put on by the Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center (also visit their Facebook page here) and hosted by the Morris Thompson Center), The show dovetailed with a a multi-agency anniversary celebration + traveling exhibit "Voices Of The Wilderness" that was hanging all last month.

The gig, "Art From America's Wildest Refuge," specifically showcased one of the crown-jewels of public lands in Alaska: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It features the astonishing photography of Jeff Jones, whose jaw-dropping imagery captures the primal essence of being there like nobody else's I've ever seen.

Lastly, to a lesser degree the gag hinges on a pun on the Porcupine Caribou herd, poster-child for the Refuge, or at least one of the more charismatic megafauna for all the myriad issues infusing our protected public lands in Alaska. Everybody ought to do what they can, and maybe in a very small way imagery like this little fella will work it's way into somewhere different than the usual venues and normally targeted demographic and show how much special places like our Refuges can inspire.

Cute. All that from a porcupine no less.


  1. The root of many cartoons is the literal depiction of terms and phrases that don't mean what they say, or mean more than they say. The cartoonist has a mind that makes these connections quickly, often accompanied by some degree of an illustrative image. The payoff comes when you harvest and refine that image and viewers get it.