My daughter Skyler prompted the creation of this book and one of the first to get excited about Daedal Doodle. When she was two I taught Skyler—considered a very high verbal—how to say, “My daddy is a megalomaniac.” Kids don’t realize they are not supposed to know how to use advanced words.
“Acorn Daddy”. For a couple of weeks at age three, Skyler prefaced everything she said with “acorn,” so I decide to make an ABC book for her. Originally the first page of the book was “A is for Anti-Gravity Acorn”. I then transitioned my source for the book from Skyler to the Oxford English Dictionary.
For three decades, I had been an avid dictionary user. As I started to use the dictionary for source material, I realized this book would only be fun for me if I challenged myself. My goal was to make the ordinary extraordinary by finding words that were real but that most people think are not. I looked for words that sounded cool and obscure – this idea was so exciting to me; it eliminated the pain of not painting.
My painting efforts had been distracted by the process of rehabilitating a 150-year-old, 15,000 sq. ft. Industrial building that my wife and I purchased in 2003. Picasso said, “I cannot work except in solitude.” It seems I couldn’t paint in the maelstrom of renovations, but I can draw while drinking a glass of water and standing on my head.
The book idea was a simple assignment, look up words that lent themselves to narratives. I combed through 8,000 pages of various dictionaries, looking for alliterative couplets that eventually became my wacky revue of improbable characters.
Love for my daughter, for words and for drawing propelled me through this astonishing maze of implausible alliterative combinations. I knew in my heart I was creating a work that, while complex, would challenge the ABC status quo! I hoped to remove the boundaries between young and old, simple and sophisticated in the same style I see when I read the works of Theodor Geisel, better known to most as Dr. Seuss.