i created bob the squirrel over 7 years ago. through thick and thin, good times and bad, the little tree rodent has always been there for me. i know it may sound bizarre to some… but if you spend as much time with your imaginary friends as i do, they become real. really real.
in all those years of drawing him, writing him, putting him in a thousand situations…(over 2500+ strips at this point) i never drew him with walking in mind. i mean, let’s face it… he’s a wise ass…the limited space you have in a daily strip doesn’t really give you much play as far as movement…you move the story along, try to be as artistic as you can and get to the next day. a daily strip is a grind that would make most mortals cry.
so, bob rarely moved. sure, he would climb trees, climb frank, chase, get chased but for the most part he was just there. he’s bob. he’s always there.
for my next semester in grad school, i’m animating.
i’ve never animated before in my life. ever. so nerves are exposed and the learning curve is steeper than well, it’s 90 degrees straight up. in talking with my artist-teacher last night, i was thrown a revelation: he’s not all that familiar with the bob character…i need to make him walk.
i knew that. if i’m going to animate he needs to walk. but frankly, i was avoiding it. maybe i was afraid that this character i spent so much time with would change once he moved. maybe he would move away from me… walk into the sunset as a chaplin silhouette.
corny and insane… i know. but like i said, i’ve spent more time with bob than almost anyone else in my life…
this morning, i did it. it took me four sheets of typing paper and a crapload of erasing, but i did it. i made bob walk.
it wasn’t as scary as i thought it would be. and after i got the one i wanted, i smiled. he was always living, but now he’s on his way to being alive.