Born in Seattle, David Michael Chandler grew up in Portland and currently lives in Los Angeles. He is a self taught artist, learning by doing The Daily Doodles: “Everything I create on my site is written and drawn by me alone, and I love how I can control every aspect of my art and have it succeed or fail with only me to blame. I try to keep it all as original as possible, and as a rule I don’t reference anything from pop culture, such as TV or movies.” A lot of his work involves the dark side of childhood nostalgia and fears, plus often mixing it with fantasy elements such as space travel, demons, and so on. David tries to make each story and drawing have as many layers he can squeeze in, and hopes people find something they can connect with in them. (Interview with artist by Artchipel Sept-2013)
As long as Harry can remember, all through his childhood years, There lived a Shadow in his bedroom, that feasted upon his fears. Hiding in the darkness, yet darker than the pitch black night The Shadow was always moving, forever staying just out of sight.
In the corner of his eye, he can see the Shadow creep It’s prolly because Harry’s been bad, and for his sins he’ll reap. He can never quite look at it, though he’ll always try, And he knows that the night he falls asleep, is the night he’ll die.
Savouring in his terror, the Shadow breathes in Harry’s soul And year after year of staying awake, eventually takes its toll. Struggling with all his might, Harry finally feels his eyes close, And the Shadow smothers him from his head down to his toes.
The last thing Harry sees, as his soul is stolen at last Is the shapeless void of darkness, filled with sins of the past. And the last thing that he feels, is an endless sense of dread Echoed by his mother’s screams, as she finds him dead in bed.
Leaning her head against the cool glass of the window, Hannah drifts in and out of a hazy, bored sleep as she sits in the backseat of her parents car, returning home after a long weekend at grandma’s.
Grandma wasn’t the same this time, and after catching the bits and pieces of her parents hushed whispers to each other, Hannah knew they noticed it too.
Staring out at the mountains in the distance, Hannah wonders what it must feel like to have your brain slowly fade away… not being able to remember your family, friends, or even who you are… it could be what Hell feels like.
The mountains she was blankly staring at come into focus, as she realizes that settlers once had to cross those towering peaks on foot… a thought hard to fathom as Hannah and her family speed past these mountains without a second thought from the safety and comfort of a heated car.
She wonders if she would have survived that trip if she was alive back then… maybe she did die in those mountains, in some past life, since she simply wasn’t made for those times.
And maybe she isn’t made for these times, either. Maybe it was some cosmic mistake, being born now… and if the world ends tomorrow, could this be the last life she gets? Does everything start over? Does time stop if there are no humans to notice it?
Ah, but there’s Aliens I guess… they’d prolly notice it. Hmm…
Her grandma’s hugs even seemed different this time… as if it was just a reaction of her grandma’s muscle memory, with no feeling or affection behind it.
Hannah slips into a dream, standing in her grandma’s living room, searching for her toys that are apparently lost… and her grandma is coming down the hall. Slowly.
For whatever reason, Hannah feels like she must escape with her toys before her grandma catches her there. She can’t see her, but Hannah can feel her presence looming, coming ever closer…
It all seems so empty.
Hannah wakes up to her dad’s voice letting her know they’re home so she needs to put her shoes back on, and the thoughts from the drive fade away.
❝You are going to beat this world, I know you will. You are smart, and you are strong, and you are so brave, and I love you. You gotta do what’s right. It’s so easy to do the wrong thing in this world. So, so, if it feels wrong don’t do it, alright? If it feels easy don’t do it, don’t let this world spoil you. You’re so good, my sweet boy. Best thing I ever did and I love you, I love you. My sweet, sweet, boy I love you.❞
Danny walks down the hallway, into the living room Everyone is fast asleep, but Danny is filled with doom and gloom He may not ever realize, but his subconscious already knows That’s he’s just really not that special, and it obviously shows.
Even though he’s only seven, it’s still abundantly clear That he ain’t curing any disease, or winning Boy of the Year. No society changing inventions will come from his average mind, And his thoughts and/or opinions will never alter the course of humankind.
He doesn’t know that yet, and he’ll always be told a lie That he’s a unique snowflake, and a special lil’ guy. He’ll belabour under this myth for a lifetime’s worth of years, Living an average life filled with average happiness and tears.
But does it really matter if Danny isn’t the special-est guy on Earth? And the world won’t feel any impact from his death or birth? Because if EVERYONE is special, then no one really is Each person has their role to play, and being Un-Special is his.
Cycling back from school, he feels the wind in his hair The cold wind is nipping at his face, and freedom is in the air With his bike he is unchained, and the entire world he could roam There’s no reason he couldn’t keep going, and never return home.
The thought romantically feels tempting, As he passes the homeless people in the park… But this time he’ll keep his promise, And be home before dark.
I am always at my desk writing and drawing and endlessly clicking on my laptop. If my internet dies, it doesn’t remove a distraction for me, it makes me much more distracted as I endlessly try to get the internet to come back on.
When did you first start making GIFs? What was your first GIF?
I believe my very first GIF was in April of 2012…? I forget exactly, to be honest. I had been doing the Daily Doodles for a year and a half at that point, and they were always regular ol’ illustrations and I think evolving them into GIFs was a natural process. Here is the very first GIF I posted (the great Kyle Harter assembled my drawings for me into the GIF as I didn’t know how to use Photoshop or anything)—
Before then, I had lots of ideas that I felt would be better if GIF’d, but it took me some time to both have a laptop that could handle GIF’fing, and be smart enough to make them on my own.
The first GIF I made entirely on my own was this––
To make my GIFs I use a combo of Photoshop and Adobe Premiere (a video editing program), and I was running those on a super tiny Notebook laptop that groaned each time I moved the mouse. I am on a better laptop now, thankfully :-)
What attracts you to the GIF format? How do you decide when something is finished at a still illustration or if you are going to turn it into a GIF?
Growing up I always wanted to be a movie director, so most of my ideas involve movement and editing, and turning my illustrations into short animations has been a lot of fun and helps satiate that desire to make movies or TV.
I try to only do what I am interested in at that moment, even with the commissions I do, and right now I much prefer making my drawings into GIFs over standard illustrations. I’m not that great at drawing, and I think they just come to life when I add movement. It adds something that I think makes the drawings and stories better.
Everything is still drawn and coloured by hand, and the combo of movement and illustrations done with coloured pencils (and the textures coloured pencils create) is fun to me.
If I have an idea that would be pointless to GIF, I wouldn’t force it into being a GIF (there has to be a reason for it or it’ll be boring), but it’s no coincidence that the ideas I favour are the ones that need to be animated.
The short length of GIFs is also attractive since it’s so much less daunting than trying to do an actual animated short; I’d likely never even try to do animation if a GIF wasn’t possible. It’s been a perfect way to educate myself on how to make my drawings move and to tip toe into the world of real animation (of which I still am a total moron, but it doesn’t seem as insurmountable as before).
What has been inspiring to you lately?
Another tough question! I think I can get inspiration from anything, and I always make sure to write down every idea I get immediately into my “idea pads.” They’re spiral notebooks that have thousands of image and story ideas, and I reference them when figuring out which drawing to do next.
Plus I know I will forget the idea very easily if I don’t jot it down right away.
Watching shows about space, nature, documentaries about worlds I’m not familiar with, all inspire ideas in my head. I also will kinda’ meditate to think up new ideas or solutions to current ideas… letting my brain float around almost always works.
Do you have a personal favorite subject you like to illustrate?
SPACE! I love drawing space-themed illustrations, and I have to tell myself not to do it so much so I’m not repetitive. I also love drawing old TVs, as watching stuff I shouldn’t be watching was such a big part of growing up, and I love how blocky and big old TVs are.
Who are a few of your favorite artists?
Probably too many to name, but I’ll try!
Several of them helped teach me how to GIF and were very supportive as I was learning to draw––
Growing up I loved classic comics such as Lil’ Nemo in Slumberland, classic E.C. Segar era of Popeye, Pogo, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Tony Millionaire, Tintin, and too many movie directors, writers, and photographers to list.
What is your favorite GIF?
Of my own work? I was mostly happy with this one––
but I’m also annoyed at myself with certain elements I can do better. Every thing I’ve done has elements I just have to do better at executing, so I dunno if I can really say one is my “favourite.”
Besides current GIFs made by other artists, GIFs of out of context moments from old/weird movies are my favourite (like this)––
What’s next? Any fun projects you are currently working on and can share with us?
I’ve also started working on another book starring one of my reoccurring characters, “The Ghosts with Relationship Problems.” It’ll be an illustrated picture book showing different moments from a bad relationship two Ghosts are stuck in over several years.Making my first book has probably been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, as making the drawings good enough while also updating my Daily Doodles site, doing commissions, has meant I haven’t had a day off in over 3 years.
Hopefully, the books end up being pretty cool and people like them!