Thursday, June 28, 2018
This Sesame Street illustration took me longer than I wanted, but that's that Daddy Life! This is also why I created this illustration. We celebrated my daughter's first year of life in a March and I wanted to add a special touch to help honor her entry into our lives. This piece is dedicated to her and the fun she has with these characters on tv and in her life. This is the first piece of art I've done since she's been alive that she actively engaged with and didn't just look at... so that makes me extremely proud.
I've added the steps to this entry on Instagram (thelearningcurv) so you can see the process that goes into creating something like this. There are 3 steps that I left out but it can give you a general idea about what it takes to put this together. I hope you enjoy!
One thing I realized while drawing this piece is that I've never drawn a Korean person. I've never drawn someone who is Muslim or Native American. I rarely draw Latino characters and I almost never draw anyone who is Black or of African descent. I want to change that. Everyone else can draw and will continue to draw male European characters. That's the status quo and it's an easy thing to do in this day and age. I believe I have an obligation to bring something to the table that has yet to be seen, or at least support things that don't get the support they need in my community, in real life and in comics. I'm not tryin to do anything easy anymore. "Be the change you want to see." My career has taken me on the path to this journey.
Before we met a Pup Named Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo and Steven Universe were friends... or so I'd like to believe =] the literature that follows is the fan fiction I came up with, imagining a world where these two wonderful characters are a part of each other’s lives.
Scooby Doo and Steven Universe have an unparalleled love of food & adventure and the day they met was the happiest they've had to date. They met at Beach Citywalk Fries as Steven emphatically requested "FRY BITS, FRY BITS, FRYYYYYYYY BITS!!!" He heard a whimper and looked down, finding a tail wagging, wide eyed puppy who hoped for some frybits of his own. He was really well behaved, sitting and waiting for a positive response. All the while his tongue was out with a huge grin on his face once Steven acknowledged him.
As Peedee slid the fry bits across the ledge to Steven, a loud "ROOOBY ROOO!!!" was heard coming from this happy go lucky dog. "Aaaah, you're so cute!," Steven said, starry eyed and with a hug grin on his face. The young boy couldn't resist but to give the adorable puppy some fry bits and the encounter helped to begin the friendship that would deeply impact them both.
As Steven and his knew friend grew together, Scooby and Lion could be found playing in the down time between adventures. He was a very excited and playful dog, showing so much love and affection towards Steven and the Gems. He was so happy in Beach City, with the abundance of great fast food, spacious living, and a beautiful sunset everyday with beautiful people to enjoy it with. He loved Beach City so much so that he even loved running through Greg Universe's carwash so he could shake the water off and wet all of his friends!
As it is with war, there are times of sadness and misfortune and it found its way to Beach City more times than everyone realized. The Gems were still defending the Earth from the homeworld's attempts to conquer the planet and unfortunately, Scooby was a victim of the aggression of Jasper. He had suffered injuries before but was always able to lick his wounds and push forward. This time was a little different and it would affect his life forever more.
It was the corrupted jasper fusion that put Scooby over the edge. Jasper had become so relentless in her desire to beat the Gems, especially the fusion, Garnett, that she desired a fusion of her own. Scooby saw Jasper force the snow monster into being a fusion and saw the agony and despair the snow monster endured during and after the fusion's stability unraveled. Even though Scooby wasn't a Gem, he still feared that he could be next and it scared him to his core.
The next few days were really tough as Scooby feared every small sound and every strange shadow. He expected Jasper to snatch him up at any moment and no longer felt protected by his adopted family. He would often be found curled up in a corner of the room, barely lifting his head when the Gems would come home. Scooby would only leave the house for a short walk and would jump in Steven's arms at the slightest sound that was out of place. Steven feared the worst as he was unable to comfort his friend.
It wasn't until Mayor Dewy decided that Beach City needed a concert that things changed. They called it Beachapalooza and Greg Universe was going to headline the event. They tried to get Fringe Toast and Los Cantantes but both groups were booked solid for the rest of the year. For some reason "Let Me Drive my Van (into your Heart)" was becoming really popular on the boardwalk, so everyone wanted to see Greg perform it live.
The concert was well received, with the locals showing up to watch the performance and a few out of towners happened to come by as well. They drove this psychedelic looking van that was blue with green and orange designs. Steven was so infatuated with this van because it had the words "Mystery Machine" in the side of it. He couldn't stop thinking about what mysteries laid within this machine! The kids who drove it were on a break from college. They had just finished taking finals, and since Steven was so enthralled by these new strangers, he got close enough to eavesdrop on their conversation. They had said that they were looking forward to this show for weeks since they wanted a place to mellow out. Beach City definitely was the place to be.
Scooby Doo wasn't as festive as everyone else. Steven and the Gems had tried to convince Scooby that this would be a great time to try and enjoy time out of the house, but Scooby was too scared and too comfortable in his little corner. Amethyst tried to tickle Scooby to help him have some fun but it just made him jump around and run back to his corner. Pearl tried to pet and cuddle with him and he just got more comfortable and fell asleep. Garnett tried to give him a pep talk but Scooby was just too tired to hear it. She got halfway through her attempt and knew it was futile. Steven even tried to bribe Scooby with some food. Steven thought that might have done the trick, but with his head on his paws and an eye raised, Scooby snatched up the food like a hungry hippo and curled right back into his corner.
After exhausting all of their options, Steven and the Gems went on to the concert without Scooby. Steven went reluctantly, being led away by Garnett who reminded him that his father was going to put on a grand show. As much as it pained Steven to leave, he trusted that Garnett wouldn't take him away unless it was the right thing to do. He waved goodbye to the pup, taking a deep sigh as he walked out of the door to his home. Scooby didn't bat an eye but took a deep breath himself. As much as he wanted to go, he just couldn't brave it and sulked in the corner once again.
The Gems got to the concert just in time as Greg was tuning up for the sound check. He had been nervous being the opening act as well as headlining his own show. It had been quite a while since he had performed on stage. Last time he was on stage, he was quite lighter in weight and had much longer, more plentiful hair! He was happy to be on stage but the butterflies in his belly were more active than he thought they'd be. He began to scan the crowd and was excited to see Steven and the Gems as well. It brought back memories of Rose and his time with her and it made his confidence rise significantly. He was finally able to play how he wanted to and addressed the crowd. He yelled out, "Hello Beach City! Are you ready for a good time tonight?!," to which the crowd responded bombastically! This further built his confidence and he began to play. He had the crowd wrapped around his finger after the first cord was played and smiles could be seen on each and every face in Beach City.
The longer the concert went on, the better Scooby could hear the marvelous melodies coming from outside. It finally got to the point where Scooby could no longer lay dormant. He slowly rose to his feet, still with his head low and his tail between his legs, and crept over to the screen door. Though his head was low, he looked up as sorrow and hesitation filled his heart. He pushed his nose outside, just barely peeking out of the crack of the door. He was very curious, but cautious. He could smell the scent of a wondrous smorgasbord accompanying the heavenly sounds. Both the music and the smells lifted his spirits just enough to push his head through the crack he'd made in the door and walked out a bit more confident than he had in a long time. He was finally feeling brave enough to walk down to the sand and walk around on his own.
As he made his way down to the concert, he did so as if walking on thin ice. The sound of the waves on the beach began to sooth him, when before they were triggers for the scared pup. He was still feeling the fear he had become accustomed to, but the newfound bravery he had discovered in the combination of food and music made his head sit a bit higher than before. By the time he walked a few paces from the path that leads to Steven's house, he could see the crowd enjoying the show that Greg Universe was putting on for everyone. Scooby crept closer until he was within a few feet from the nearest person, a few who were dancing and moving to the music. Scooby walked around the perimeter of the crowd to find some of that good food he had smelled from so far away.
A group of kids who had a grill on the boardwalk were grilling hotdogs and the smell began to lead the Scooby by his nose. He became lost in the heavenly scent of pork chops that just didn't make the cut. As he drifted towards the teens as if he were weightless, only one became aware of him. He was a long looking fellow, much lankier than his friends, and he had a shaggy appearance to him. He smiled a smile the Cheshire Cat would approve of and squatted down to great the oncoming ball of cuteness. Scooby finally came back to his senses when he heard the lanky kid make noise as if to welcome him. Scooby stopped in his tracks. Leering at the teenage boy, Scooby was unsure whether he was ready to trust someone new. Just then, the roar from the beach could be heard and it was so loud that it scared Scooby into the air! He jumped so high that he ended up knocking the scruffy kid back a few steps over, landing on his chest. It was at that point that the other teenagers finally realized that this adorable puppy had made his way into their friends’ arms. The lanky teenager and Scooby ended up locking eyes and the lanky boy immediately burst into laughter. Scooby looked at the boy, surprised, and then relaxed. A smile grew onto his face as well and as the friends came by expressing their excitement over the pup, both the Lanky kid and Scooby were in hysterics. Their laughter, along with the roar of the crowd for the much deserved Mr. Universe, infected all around and brought a great sense of joy to everyone in attendance.
As the show wound down, Steven and the Gems walked to the boardwalk to get something to eat. They smelled a familiar fragrance and Amethyst suggested they sniff it out. She shape shifted into what looked like a purple version of Scooby and the Gems followed behind.
"Well look who it is...", Garnett said with a smile on her face, confidently, as if she knew this would happen.
"SCOOBY'S HERE!", Amethyst yelled and ran towards her canine friend.
The teenagers and Scooby turned to the Gems and Scooby howled, "ROOOBY ROOO!!!" Scooby ran to meet Amethyst and began to play like they use to before Scooby met Jasper. Pearl was beaming with happiness as Steven exclaimed in excitement, seeing his best friend had ventured out into the world again. He jumped in the middle of Amethyst and Scooby playing around and joined the melee. Scooby pinned Steven on the ground as if he had conquered a giant mountain and they both began to giggle.
"What got you to come out of the house Scoob," Steven affectionately asked. "We were worried you would never want to leave your corner!"
It was then that the shaggy looking teenager spoke out. "Well, he must have smelled our hotdogs. It was as if the aroma dragged him over by the nose!"
At the mention of the tasty treat, Scooby barked, "Rot Rogs, mmmhmmm!!!"
His outburst caused a road of laughter from everyone. Scooby seemed to be back to his normal self and it made Steven and the Gems happy. One of the teenagers with the group invited Steven and the Gems to eat and enjoy their barbeque and they all happily accepted.
By the end of the day, Amethyst was getting along famously with the college kids. Everyone was telling jokes, stuffing their face with snacks, and even Pearl got a few chuckles from her jokes. Sadly, everyone needed to go their separate ways and the college kids began packing up their Mystery Machine. Scooby Doo began whimpering and Steven tried to console him.
Very softly, Steven asked him, "Is everything okay Scoob?", knowing the answer he was going to receive. Scooby whimpered even more and pushed his face into Stevens belly as they both began sob. Steven continued to try and console his friend as best he could as Garnett approached the two.
"What's wrong boys?", she asked as she put a hand on Stevens shoulder.
Steven kept his head down and whispered softly, "He wants to leave with them," as his voice can began to crack.
Garnett kneed down to give them a loving hug and caught the attention of Pearl and Amethyst.
Pearl asked inquisitively, "Is everything okay?"
"Yea, did I miss something, what's up dog?", Amethyst asked in her usual candor.
Garnett looked up, not letting go of the boys and said, "we need to ask our new friends if they want a new companion."
Immediately Amethyst and Pearl protested, and Steven looked up with eyes full of tears. "He has been too scared to even leave our house. As much as we love him, we can't make him feel safe."
Pearl and Amethyst looked at each other and began to sink into themselves. They joined the group hug and their eyes began to water as well. It was at this point that the shaggy teenager caught wind of what was happening and walked over to the group.
"Hey doods and doodettes, are you guys are alright?", he said as he walked over. His friends came up from behind him and showed concern as well. It was then that Garnett stood up and spoke to the group.
"Our canine friend has had a very traumatic experience while living with us. We live a very unpredictable life and unfortunately it has taken its toll on Scooby Doo here. He seems to have taken a liking to you all and is more comfortable with you than we've seen him in weeks."
The shaggy boy’s friend with the orange scarf asked, "Are you asking if your dog could stay with us?" He seemed uncomfortable with the idea and was immediately twapped on the arm by one of the girls of the group. "Ugh, stop it...", she said disappointedly. "We'd love to have him!", she said at the same time as the shaggy teenager. The rest of the group began to get into the idea and walked over to the group hug and joined in. Scooby looked up at the new huggers, surprised. One of the girls wiped away his tears, then wiped Steven's tears away and smiled. They looked at each other, smiled the biggest smile, and hugged each other even harder. It was settled. Scooby Doo was going to have a new home.
As the college kids started to board their van, they exchanged information with Steven and the Gems to keep and touch. Scooby immediately galloped into the front passenger seat and stuck his head out of the open window. He was panting with his tongue out, excited to be in his new space. Steven walked up to the passenger door and Scooby leaned down so Steven could rub Scooby's face. It made Scooby laugh his classic laugh and it gave the group a last bit of happiness. They were finally ready to say goodbye to their new friends. As the Mystery Machine drove off into the night, the shaggy friend hugged Scooby and fed him some snacks to start the trip off. Steven wished Scooby was still with him and turned to the Gems for comfort.
"Do you think Scooby will be okay?", he asked, unsure if he has made the right decision.
"Steven, your heart hasn't guided you wrong yet, has it?", Garnett said with a smile.
"No, I guess not. Thanks Garnett...", Steven replied as he looked down at his feet.
"Don't forget, we have their information so we can always check on him and see how he's doing", Pearl said reassuringly. Her comment prompted Steven to look up and smile.
"Yea, that's right," he said excitedly.
"And who knows, maybe he'll visit sooner than later," Amethyst chimed in. She was pretty chipper after seeing her friend go, knowing that he was happier than he had been in a long time.
Steven looked longingly at the road. "Yea, I'd like that... I'm gonna miss him, but I'm sure he's okay now."
The Gems came close together and gave each other a hug. It was time to move on and so they walked home, hoping for the best for their friend who they already began to miss...