Wednesday, November 29, 2006



The Human Goes: "Turt! Turt!"

The Original Peoplemals Doodles

In the beginning of sketchbook 16, I was doodling away when I happened to spew out a fellow with a turtle strapped to his back. Now, it was supposed to be a guy with a turtle shell — but as it happens I accidentally included the turtle's head — changing the context of the drawing in a way I hadn't expected. Suddenly, this seemed to be just a regular guy who was wearing some half-assed turtle costume, made from a turtle, while he imitated a turtle. I found the concept interesting, so I explored it a little more, with a fellow wielding a fake giraffe head.

While I liked the idea of these people/animal contraptions, I didn't delve into the concept too deeply after that — though I did play with it a little more on the next page:

More Peoplemals

And that was that. Time passed. The "Peoplemals" were forgotten.

A Concept Revisited

The other day, paging through the sketchbook, I noticed the "Turt" fellow again and thought it was time to dig in and find the bottom of this concept. So I drew up a couple more examples, trying to stick close to the idea of normal people who just kind of have an animal "accessory". This morning — after deciding they were post-worthy — I scanned in the black & white art and quickly dashed on a little digital color. Here's a pretty interesting pair:

Bird & Octopus

These two also turned out well:

Boar & Buck

I particularly liked the Buck, and debated for a while whether to post him up top instead of the Crocodile. In the end, I went with the picture that had the most Crocodiles in it. Which turned out to be the Crocodile, which had 1 Crocodile. The Buck has 2 Crocodiles, but they're invisible. So I guess "visible" Crocodiles would have been a more appropriate way to phrase that. I'm not a writer.

Picnic Mountain Man

After finishing a couple more of these, I was looking for some blank space to continue when I passed over a drawing that Sutter had done in this sketchbook. And it occurred to me, it might be fun to try and translate one of the denizens of Picnic Mountain as well:

At the 'Matt Sutter Day' Parade

I have to say, I could see putting out a collection of these Peoplemals in a book. Lord knows I have enough for a few more posts. But whatever I decide, I'm surely going to have to whip up one of these animal contraption/accessories. People are much more likely to show me the respect I crave with a Crocodile strapped to my back.

Author's Edit (added at a later date)

Interested in seeing more Peoplemals? Even more incarnations are living in the Work Section...

In Other News

I've recently been coding like a madman, the effects of which you're probably looking at now, without even noticing. I've restructured the html and css of pretty much the entire site, and finished implementing everything this morning. The major benefit of this is that the site is finally readable with styles off, or in handheld devices, but I've also taken care of a bunch of little nitpicky issues that probably only bothered me. Like I said, only a few treatments are different, with the exception of a new footer that displays the Definitively unimportant Miscellanea and Omnium-Gatherum that used to be only on the homepage.

So if you see anything wonky, and suspect I don't know about it, feel free to LET me know about it. My door is always open. Open for electronic letters. It's a lead door, so they don't get in unless I leave it open and... uh... yeah.

Comments on this Article

There are currently 38 comments.

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The Colonel

When I thought, "What an interesting hang glider..." I had yet to grapple with the diabolical genius of what was transpiring.

Suppose it's only appropriate that everyone of these folks looks bat-shit crazy.

Well done!


Oh Colonel... it's a shame you equate happiness with craziness. I'd hate to be a clown at your birthday party.


Damn... those animal contraptions totally remind me of how they went about doing the costumes for the Lion King musical.


so much to process... so many theory bills piling up....

I too vote for the buck as being my favorite. I think it's the marionette-style contraptions hanging off the antlers that does it for me. And the cherubic look of ecstasy on the dude's face. He is lovin' being the meat in that venison sandwich!

Diane Witman

I think the Buck should have been up top, but I guess your crocodile reasoning won you over. Is a platypus too obvious? My idea would be a lion hat, the bearer's head would stick out of the mouth making it look even odder. These are great, if you ever make a book of them PLEASE let me know, I will surely buy it.

Shaun Inman

Does Octo-boy have a superfluous second belly button or a third and fourth nipple? In any case, something obviously went awry during the octo-graft.


I swear I saw the gut with the giraffe head who's running down at the local WalMart. No shirt, and overalls, and that smile, well, and the giraffe head too. I was scared to death. Obviously everyone else was too becaucse he got two of those cheap plasma tvs real cheap. One for him and the other for the giraffe head.


I'd have to say I'm rather partial to the Octopus. I know it's what I'll be wearing this summer. Not to the beach or anything - just around.


The Picnic Mtn. costume has 2 problems: 1. he almost looks like he has a shirt-line implying that he could actually be clothed. 2. As demonstrated in the 'binaca-drawing', he should have 3 fingers on one hand and 5 on the other (all of which are more like spikey sausages than fingers)


I like to carry around dead mice in my shirt pocket. Does that make me a peoplemal?

Danny Cohen



I personally love the octopus man. Something about the sheer glee he exhibits whilst his tentacles (yes, teNtacles) trail behind him makes me glad god created octopi. Looking at your sketchbooks makes me wish you would just publish one of those in full...that would be all different kinds of buckets of kick-ass. ...really just the large kind.


haha... i love all of these. but i have to agree with the folks above... i love the hypnotic grin the buck-man has.

but i'm also a tad partial to molester-stache boar-man... i love that his feet are the boar's back legs... hahaha

but i can see why you chose croc-man... i like that he and the croc show their oneness through identical gazes

i want the peoplemals book when it comes out!


Slava - Yeah - I can totally see that - all they need are black costumes...

Diane Witman - A platypus! Good idea!

Shaun Inman - What you're seeing there is the "Multiple Navel" plug-in pepper; they installed Mint during the Octo-graft.

Monkeyinabox - Well - you can't expect the giraffe head to watch a TV at human eye-level, can you?

Sutter - Well, the costume actually supports multiple fingers. The inflate and deflate at random.

Pierce - That makes you more of a serial killer. Of mice, at the least.

Danny - Haha - well - it's encouraging to yield an all caps request, that's for sure :D

Paul - Well, I had always planned to publish a sketchbook, but it's one of those projects that fell to the backburner. But someday!

Martha - Yeah - the man and the Croc look like best buddies. They just enjoy working together, and respect what the other has to offer.


Man I want a boar of those to use on my daily commutes.


I bet these would kick some serious Flanimal ass.


Kevin, I really like the colouring style that you've applied digitally.. could you tell me what software you use after you've scanned the artwork? I love how excited both the man and the crocodile look in the top picture.

Terry Tolleson

The Sutter Day Parade character totally reminds me of the Little Girl Giant from The Sultan's Elephant.

Go to and do a search on Little Girl Giant - it's the first one.

Back on topic: I agree with the croc-pic for the top spot. It's snappier. I would, however, like to know more about our extra-limbed friend in the 2nd sketch book scan. Why would you ever have your head repositioned at your crotch?!

Gordon Brander

I'm in favor of the bird-girl particularily. She's got a Napoleon Dynamite "sign language" vibe.

Hugh G.

Great. . .you made me pee myself laughing again, Kevin! I'm sending you my cleaning bills.

Seriously, these would make the best poster series ever. EVER!


Slava totally said what I was thinking. Great drawings! The buck is definitely the winner.


Mack - To the sty and back?

Tim - It's all photoshop.... good ol' photoshop!

Terry - He didn't have his head moved to his crotch - he's just wearing fake legs!

Gordon - Yeah - I picture that girl running around, flapping her hands/wings and having a blast pretending to be a bird...

Hugh - That's why I always recommend people take off their pants before visiting the site...

Andy - Wow - the buck seems to be a crowd-pleaser!


The octopus man sure looks like one of those people that wear a cape and pretend to be a superhero. I can just see him running around on a beach saying “Don’t worry, Octo-man will save you!”

And I love that Mojo tries to fly in the second sketchbook scan.


Octopus boy is my favorite. It's clear that wearing an octopus fills him with such glee that the only way he can express it is to zoom around with pink tentacles trailing behind.

Hm. I wonder if those suckers pick up lint. I'd hate to be the one to clean that octopus when this guy's done with it.


To echo the masses in the hope that some sort of printed version of all these makes it into the real world (again, as it were) - I want a calendar with one of these per month. So gimme. Please.


ooo yeah... a calendar is a great idea!


I second the Peoplemal calendar!


I third it - motion carried, We'll expect it in the BSR Store by the end of this weekend.


Oh crap! I better get moving!

*drops dustcloth and priceless ming vase and runs to office*


Kevin, how do you go about adding digital color. After you scan in the sketches, do you recreate it in a something like illustrator, or just add color to the scan? I am very interested in how you get a scanned sketch to look so good on the web.

Diane Witman

Is the Octo-guy wearing speedo or boxer briefs? I can't tell from the angle that he's frolicking at. At least I think he's frolicking, either that or he's running from the mad mob with torches and pitch forks.

The calendar is a great idea, is it gonna happen???


Nick - Well, I bring the sketches in as line art, and then color them in photoshop using various multiplied layers of color. I also have a wacom tablet to help apply the color in strokes, but you could use a mouse as well, if you wanted.

Diane - I'm looking into how to produce them; although as we get closer and closer to the new year, I'm not sure I can produce something quick enough so that it's available for January...

Terry Tolleson

Calendars are tricky business. I have been trying to get a SPeCks Calendar off the ground for the last year (using CafePress's calendar item) and have found laziness to be quite victorious. But if anyone can do it - certainly it is you and your trusty Peoplemals.


WOW, very impressive that you do this in photoshop after scanning in the original art. Thanks for the info. Maybe one day when you have some time you could capture the process in some sort of screen recorder. Just I thought, I would be interested.

Shane Guymon

My favorite was the BUCK, it reminded me of "Super Troopers" only in that moving the guy had a bear strapped to him, but still for some odd reason it reminded me of that movie, and well I like that movie, so seeing the Buck, took me to that warm fuzzy place taht is full of lauphter and joy...or somewhere close to a place taht is kinda like that (my couch)


Terry - Well, Lulu produces calendars; but they're a lot less customizable than the books (which I have control of top-to-bottom). I'm going to get a test of the quality, but I may go that route...

Nick - Yeah - that would be fun :D I just need someone willing to sit there while I draw one up, I suppose...

Shane - Hey - a couch! I could do Peopleniture!


This totally makes me want to strap a mongoose to my forearm and go snake hunting...


Haha - Now THAT's a functional peoplemal!

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