While it’s quite obvious that thanks to the emergence of Evil Squirrel as my main character, and with the way everything I created was built around him, squirrels have become my number one species from the animal kingdom. With the exception of one clueless cable tech who a year ago obliviously talked to me about possible squirrel-chew on my wires while standing in my computer room chock-full of squirrel paraphernalia, anyone who visited my humble abode would notice the sciurine obsession immediately. But once upon a time, it wasn’t about the squirrels. When I first started drawing anthro art over 4 years ago, I liked using squirrels as kind of background characters, but rarely put them in the spotlight. That would come later, as first Sandy, and then ES himself burst forth in their own little world away from what I was privately doing.
So if not squirrels, what then? Surely I didn’t take up drawing people as animals just out of the blue, did I? There was a seed planted long ago….. no, further back. Long before I found the VCL online. Way back, even before I was inundated with all of my sisters’ girly cartoons that would influence my style two decades later.
Try 26 years ago yesterday.
I was 10 years old, and at the annual carnival we have in town every Fourth of July week, my Dad won a raccoon plush toy playing skee ball, which he gave to me. That’s not actually it pictured above, I long ago lost this ancient connection to my artistic state of mind, but it was something like that. I named him Robbie (What else would you name a raccoon?), and kept it around in my room a lot longer than most boys would admit to having a stuffed animal.
Because of Robbie, I had a soft spot in my heart for raccoons long before I ever realized I would be drawing mangy rodents as an (alleged) adult in my spare time. Remember this?
That was my early representation of my own character, and there was no other choice but a raccoon to depict me. Evil Squirrel would eventually drive out the masked one as my alter-ego, but not my admiration for the cute little critters you see squashed in the middle of the road everywhere.
Holly’s my only major raccoon (or is it coonette?) character who continues to pop up in my drawings. It was her real-life persona who took the picture that I led off this post with. That was shot by her on her back porch, a year after the possum adventure I detailed in her intro post, and ironically enough, I think it was taken three years ago today! I’ve never been fortunate enough to have ever seen a live raccoon, and I’m sure Holly would gladly exchange her experience for mine.
Here’s another coonette from my past art, representing someone on my message board known as Hermillion. I’ve since changed the hair on her from brown to kind of a greenish tint. I don’t think I’ve ever used green again….
Dave is the owner of our message board, and he too got the raccoon treatment from ES. Why? Because both of us go back to the early days of our community (think mid-2000, yes I’ve been online in the same community for 12 years now!), and had so many things in common, we were dubbed board twins. So why wouldn’t he also be a raccoon like I am… er, was.
It’s such a shame I’ve let my inner raccooness get away from me. They’re quite fun to draw since they have unique markings none of my other commonly drawn animals have. They could be found all over the place in my old portrait series. And it would be wrong for me not to give raccoons their own article here given their place in making the world of ES possible.