I’ve long been aware of the special properties of songs and smells to transport me back in time. A whiff of bubble gum for example, or a Boyz II Men song (I’m partial to Water Runs Dry) can send me tumbling back in my memory to childhood or high school.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed the same can be true of images, and it gets even more interesting when it comes to image making.
It’s almost as if the act of drawing itself has a corresponding interior impact, as if drawing opens up my cerebral hard drive to record experience. Seeing a drawing I made weeks ago can jolt me back immediately to the song, podcast, or conversation I overheard while I was making it. Its a bit uncanny.
This page, in particular the squiggly asphalt texture in the last few panels, will forever trigger in me a specific section of David Michaelis' Charles Shultz biography audiobook I was listening to while I made it. I can’t look at it without being reminded of Shultz’s elaborate estate in Sebastopol, wild success with Peanuts, his passion for ice skating, his unhappy marriage.
It’s a riveting book, and I’d recommend it if you haven’t read it and are at all interested in cartooning. It talks of the privilege and importance Shultz felt in connecting with his audience daily for over 50 years. I can only imagine what memories and experiences are wrapped up in each Peanuts cartoon, not only for Sparky but for the folks who loved to read his strip.