Many who know me know one of my idiosyncrasies is a very vocal disdain for googly eyes, the use of which I often exaggeratedly tout as harbingers of the “end of western civilization”. I don’t actually know when the googly eye was invented (and I don’t really feel it is important for me to ascertain that) but its ubiquitous use everywhere has always been something of an irritant to me. The googly eye, to me, marks a certain death of craftsmanship, where once thought would have to be put into the making of eyes and consideration given to the intention behind them, now the convenience of the googly eye renders that unnecessary. Just slap some eyes on that rock and call it a pet.
Recently someone told me that they have a hard time with puppets and dolls and the like because of their “dead eyes”. I have a similar aversion to the flat, yet tirelessly banal and goofy googly eye with its lack of depth or mutability. Don’t get me wrong—they have their place and I like everyone else have been known to chuckle at an inanimate object rendered anthropomorphic by the simple addition of said eye stickers. It’s funny, yes, but it’s an easy laugh. Like someone slipping on a banana peel. A banana peel with googly eyes on it. When I was young I had a “How to Draw Cartoons” book that I absolutely adored. Like most kids, I loved cartoons and would often spend my time trying to copy the characters from tv or the comics page of the paper. One of the pages that has stuck with me for all these years from the aforementioned book was the “How to Draw Eyes” page—a straightforward chart that highlighted just how easy it was with a few strokes of the pen or pencil to evoke a wide range of emotions. I refer to this as it is the antithesis of the googly eye. I believe I am pretty safe to say that I have held the principles of that chart dear to me and have never used a googly eye in my life. Sure, certain creations of mine may have had Xs for eyes, but at least they didn’t rattle endlessly in their own goofiness (and let’s face it, Xs are the cartoon universal for drunk).
Fast forward to Puppet a Go Go’s last meet up—Alexa very generously parcelled out a few sets of her (pretty glam!) googly eyes. I mulled it over for some time and maybe I give these things too much thought, but then it dawned on me: mascot type creations basically have the larger than life version of googly eyes, so why not do a series of puppets of them.
First up (still in progress): Ice Creature!