Well, it seems that an Emu was among the most requested subjects for today’s doodlewash, so that’s where we landed. Not the entire emu, mind you, because their funny little faces and big orange eyes are the best part. This big little guy is listed as the second largest living bird by height after its cousin the ostrich. The emu is a flightless bird that is also an important cultural icon of Australia, appearing on the coat of arms and various coins.

Years ago, when I was the Creative Director of an interactive design firm, we were challenged to create an online game for Lee Jeans in support of their sponsorship of the annual Gravity Games – an extreme sport competition that ended in 2006. Lee had featured an emu in an incredibly weird commercial they were running, so we decided it would be fun to make it the star of our game. The next step was simply to figure how how to combine an emu with an extreme sport.

We chose the fringe extreme sport of BASE jumping, which involves the incredibly shortsighted idea of skydiving off a cliff. Next, we figured our game would consist of helping an emu perform this stupid stunt using the gameplay of an old Atari game called Lunar Lander where you had to safely land your shuttle on the surface at just the right speed. The result was an edgy, strangely fun and addictive game that became rather popular at the time with the simple and ludricrous title of Emu*Lander: Because Emu’s Can’t Fly.

Needless to say, this was one of my favorite jobs of all time. It’s not every day you get to make ridiculous video games for a living. But of all the various websites and games we created during that time, this was one of my favorites. I still have a soft spot for emus to this day. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Next up is F, and it’s Draw a Bird day tomorrow (championed by Laura at Create Art Everyday and hosted again this month by Kerfe and Nina over at Method Two Madness), so if you make a suggestion in the comments, help me think of something that’s another one of our fine feathered friends.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Azo Orange, Quinacridone Gold,  and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal



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61 thoughts on “E is for Emu

    1. Thanks Jill! 💕😃hehe…emus are so weird, but kind of cool! Glad you liked him. I couldn’t even exaggerate those eyes. In the all the references I found it was like they were flowing! Hehe… Hmm…falcon could be cool! I’ll see what happens when I grab for the pen tomorrow 😉I’m not sure until I do! 😊🎨

  1. That game sounds like fun. I remember when every young child wanted to grow up to design video games! And once again, a face all can love.
    Well, I already suggested flamingo, but I’ll just be official about it. (K)

  2. What an adorable emu! Love the eyes and the fuzzy hair! A flock of flying flamingos – I’m guessing flamingos are going to be popular! 🙂 Or how about a furtive flycatcher?! Betcha have to google that one – hehe!

    1. Thanks Jodi!! ❤️😃hehe…the fuzzy hair worried me at first, but I was pleased with how it turned out! And yes…flamingos are popular…but a flock sounds challenging! Lol yep! Had to google furtive flycatcher…cute bird… And should win just for the name alone! Hehe

  3. Oh how adorable! And expertly done, your eyes as usual are talking to me… I now want an emu, or at the very least I’d like some coins with them on. He looks slightly perplexed to me – perhaps he’s seen your game? 😉 That sounds like it was a hoot! I’ll have to look for this Lunar Lander, too… I was going to say I’ll spent my Sunday playing it but I’ve just remembered it’s Monday tomorrow. Or actually it’s Monday today. I think I’m tired.

    I would gladly support either Falcon or Flamingo for next time!

    1. Thanks Jacob! 😃Lol…he would definitely be perplexed by seeing the game. It was weird. Some mirror sites downloaded it…so if you google it you can still play it (though they didn’t get the fonts, but the main graphics are there and it’s still playable at least! Lol) hehe…yes, it’s Monday there already…and sounds like you need some sleep. Hopefully, a dream of owning your own emu and not scary girls with bears. 😉👍🏻Sweet dreams!

      1. I found your game and reached level 14. Hilarious and very addictive!

        Who was I more scared of: the bear or the girl? Good question. There were no emus last night, sadly. 😛

          1. Level 15 this time! 😉 It’s the sort of thing I can imagine doing very well as an app today (if it isn’t already out there in some form!) a la Flappy Bird.

  4. This is wonderful, Charlie! Absolutely love the eyes. Terrific job with his very cool kooky face. Thanks for the mention, I really appreciate that. 💜 flaming go and falcon were my picks, so how about a Finch? There are purple ones that look cooler than the house finches. Flicker is also a cool one. I’m so glad you’ll be drawing a bird! Happy day to you, my bro and friend. 💜💜💜

    1. Oahh, that’s not right, Anna! I used to hand feed ’em. They’re like chickens…once they know you’ve got the food, they follow you ’round. I think they’re cuties! Just like this doodlewash, Charlie!
      PS: Can I get in early and ask for Hummingbirds next?!

  5. Awesome emu, Charlie, you got his expression right! I used to despair when trying to life-sketch the emu and the nandu (his blue-eyed cousin from south-america) in our zoo. It seems flamingo is chosen, but if not: flycatcher – there are very colorful ones (like Vermillion Flycatcher)!

  6. Lovely little emu face! I love it! But have you ever seen a live one? Because their eyes are not the most amazing part of them in fact. I think it would be hard to see this from photographs but their tail feathers are completely AMAZING and their feet are – well I can’t tell you, except that all I could think of was dinosaur. And they are SO Huge! I never fail to marvel at how you manage to get such good drawings from photographic references!

    1. Thanks so much!! I have seen an emu in person…their feet do look like a dinosaur’s!! Hehe… But I always get enamored with eyes. It’s fun to try to give them more of an aware expression than actually exists. I like to use a few references and then make a few extra bits up. Without heading to the zoo each day or moving to another continent it would be difficult to get live versions of all of the animals I want to sketch! Hehe

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