Though I’ve now seen a toucan at a zoo, and find them delightfully unusual, when I was growing up, the only appearance came on a cereal box. So, I made a super fast and loose rendition of one for today. The cereal box toucan was not quite an actual toucan at all, but a cartoon version named Toucan Sam, emblazoned on the side of Froot Loops cereal. Sam had the uncanny ability to actually smell the cereal from great distances and would often quip in the commercials, “Follow your nose! It always knows!” and when feeling super joyous follow it up with “The flavor of fruit! Wherever it grows!” I’m not even sure any actual fruits were harmed in the making of this cereal, which I totally adored as a kid, but I was more disappointed my my apparent lack of superior olfactory skills. The cereal didn’t smell much like anything at all and barely had any discernible odor, save a chalky and only slightly fruity smell that felt more imagined than actually experienced. But, I didn’t really mind that at all and today, I still have a fondness for toucans.
I think my love of all animals was born in my youth with all of those cereal boxes. There were all sorts of wonderful mascots to greet me each morning. It was like taking a trip to an absurdist zoo, where every animal has been painted with a rainbow, each and every day. I also loved Apple Jacks cereal, but this one struggled to define a true mascot. It had everything from cartoon dogs, to weird dolls made of actual apples, to strangely drawn children, to eventually just an overmedicated apple and creepy cinnamon stick in a stocking cap. Some characters were almost human like Snap, Crackle and Pop, but I loved the animals most. So I would opt for Sugar Smacks with the cute little frog and rare truth in advertising as well as Tony the Tiger. Today, you’ll find the former renamed to an apparently more socially acceptable Honey Smacks. But it was the latter that was usually my favorite, simply because it was also my dad’s favorite. Even while trying to find my own place and create my own path, it was still pretty cool to be just like your dad.
And though I fully realize I’ve gone off on a tangent here and am not talking at all about travel, in many ways, I still am. As a kid, travel was either a long road trip in a car with my parents, or simply wherever I let my imagination take me. I never felt like I was “stuck at home” or “in a rut” when I was a kid. It was simply impossible to ever be bored with so many things to explore in my own backyard. Sure, once we’ve achieved adulthood, we’ve already experienced many of those things and seek newer more exotic things to quell our attention. But, I’ve found that when I approach everyday and even mundane things like I did when I was a kid, I can still find something to fascinate me. As we all grew up, our backyards grew smaller, but our imaginations didn’t at all. That is, if we allow our minds to approach the world more naturally. Adults have an irritating habit of trying to understand or judge everything before attempting to simply enjoy it. This is a real buzz kill for me, so I prefer to live in a world where it’s still entirely possible and always thrillingly fun to have breakfast with a toucan.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!