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10 Spring Things And 4 Coke Bottles In One Illustration

April 12, 2016

Thanks to editor Jay Moye at Coca-Cola Journey, I’ve had a chance to illustrate a number of wild and wacky posts by writer Charles McNair. These posts usually have a number in them: The 10 Best, My 12 Favorite, etc.

Somewhere along the line I decided to make it a personal challenge to include or somehow reference all of the points in Mr. McNair’s posts: if he mentioned 10 things, I’d figure out a way to include all 10 in my illustration.

Here’s the latest example. The official title of the post is: 10 Things That Go Better With Coke (Spring Edition!), and you can read it here on the Coca-Cola Journey website.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Springtime fun activities with Coca-Cola Easter bunnies, picnic under cherry blossom tree, kites, bumblebees, baseball, showers. spring cleaning, leprechaun, shamrock, 4-leaf clover, marshmallow chicks, dandelions, hay fever

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highAt this point you’re thinking: What a minute. Is this the same Mark Armstrong who’s always extolling the virtues of white space, and warning against trying to squeeze too much into an illustration? Yup, same guy, that’s me.

However… it’s a curious fact that an illustration absolutely crammed with details can truly engage a reader. Anyone who’s seen a Where’s Waldo illustration knows this. Not a good strategy if you’re trying to make a serious point, but a very good strategy if you’re trying to entertain (and thereby attract followers).

Can you identify the 10 “spring things” in the illustration? I’ve numbered them below.

Important note: Do not spend too much time on it. Some of Mr. McNair’s things are rather playful. Answers at end of post.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
10 numbered springtime fun activities with Coca-Cola Easter bunnies, picnic under cherry blossom tree, kites, bumblebees, baseball, showers. spring cleaning, leprechaun, shamrock, 4-leaf clover, marshmallow chicks, dandelions, hay fever

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highHere are some larger detail images:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
springtime Easter bunny rubbing rabbit's foot, family having picnic under cherry tree with falling blossomsblank vertical space, 32 pixels high
springtime flying kites getting eaten by tree, cowboy with lasso chasing bumblebee, Little League baseball player trying to catch Coke bottle in gloveblank vertical space, 32 pixels high
spring showers, wife getting ready to hose down smelly husband who has not bathed all winter with industrial grade cleanerblank vertical space, 32 pixels high
spring cleaning, old granny with broom showing she found her lost false teethblank vertical space, 32 pixels high
springtime, leprechaun putting drop of Coca-Cola on 3-leaf clover to turn it into 4-leaf clover, dandelion offering Kleenex tissue to guy with hay fever who's about to sneeze

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highAnswers:

1.  Bunnies (“Rub a lucky rabbit’s foot!… if you’re lucky, the rabbit won’t bite you!”)

2. Picnics Under Cherry Trees (“First, you need a cherry tree. If you live in Japan or Washington, D.C., you’re in the pink.”)

3. Kite-Flying (“Know why trees like spring? People feed them!… best of anything, trees like kites!”)

4. Bumblebees (“Take a length of sewing thread, throw your tiny lariat (around the bee, and watch him) happily zoom around and around…”

5. Spring Showers (“Like a big black bear that napped in a cave all winter, you’ve finally emerged from the house after football season… You need a spring shower!”)

6. Baseball & Softball (“Bound off the bench, race over the infield like a deer, and slide to a dusty stop in front of the concession stand…”)

7. Four-Leaf Clovers (“A shamrock anointed with one tiny amber drop of Coca-Cola will sprout a lucky green fourth leaf… that’s why leprechauns have pots of gold!”)

8. Spring Cleaning (“You found that corn chip you lost last July, $7.34 in coins, two melted (but edible) peppermints, plus Granny’s lost dentures!”)

9. Marshmallow Chicks (“What says spring like nibbling a marshmallow chick? Just make sure it’s marshmallow!”)

10. Dandelions (“Hey, hay fever zombie! Feel that next sneeze coming on?”)

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    *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Any luck guessing the 10 Things? (I know: the shamrock was totally misleading– sorry!)

Anyone ever lose a kite in a tree?

Anyone ever lose a frisbee on a roof?? (I’m raising my hand.)

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2016 9:47 PM

    Just so utterly delightful….I just loved this….thank you for sharing your amazing gift with us….just wonderful!!!! 🙂


    • April 13, 2016 12:16 PM

      What a wonderful comment! Your kind words have lifted me higher’n one o’ them tree-snack kites!! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post, and thank you so much for your very supportive comment! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. soul . to . earth permalink
    April 13, 2016 1:28 PM

    So many details to love, where do I begin? Loved the kite-chomping tree, the cute baby amidst the blossoms, the rabbit w/ the human’s foot, a ‘dandy’ lion offering tissues and the lady giving us a mouthful! ROFL, I thought the cowboy-bee was a take on Blake Shelton (not exactly a fan)….oops! 😀

    The Where’s Waldo scene reminded me of Obelix being ‘gifted’ Roman soldiers to bash up as the village sings “Happy Birthday”. Come to think of it, many of your drawings remind me of Asterix & Obelix! Another childhood fav. right next to MAD comics.

    I’m very fortunate to live next to a park with many cherry blossom trees that will soon burst in profusion – so beautiful! Alas! It also brings a profusion of tourists/ visitors taking endless selfies, videos all while parking illegally in bike lanes, on the grass…..pretty much anywhere their idiot-selves fancy…aaaargh! Ah, you get the picture I’m painting even though I don’t have your illustrious talent, mon ami.

    Wishing you a hoppy-happy spring! 😀


    • April 15, 2016 9:00 PM

      Hey, I don’t mind trees eatin’ kites, but they go too far when they take them stringy-thingies off the tails and use ’em fer bowties. That’s carrying a joke too far, as the traffic cop told the donkey who walked from New York to San Francisco with a cartoonist on his back… 😊

      Just ran over to Tube U. and listened to Blake Sheldon’s Honey Bee. I seem to have channeled the song without ever hearing it before! “I’ll be your sweet ice tea…” Yes, indeed. I do appreciate a sophisticated lyric. I wonder if it’s on the jukebox at the Ganges Club? It would make a nice change from Hunting Tigers by the Bonzo Dog Band… 🐅🐅🐅🚑

      My dear Radhika! I flipped when I saw your reference to Asterix. I tend to rattle on, so I have to edit my posts pretty severely. Originally, that one line read:

      Anyone who’s seen a Where’s Waldo illustration or an Asterix comic or Will Elder’s work for Mad Magazine knows this.

      I decided to shorten it up, and so cast the mustachioed midget and his winged beanie (and Will) up on the heap. I shoulda known you were a fan. We’re clearly on the same wavelength, as the curl said to the surfboard… 🏄🐳💥🚑

      A park full of cherry trees sounds lovely. Too bad it attracts an undesirable element. They had a similar problem in the Garden of Eden, I believe. One bad apple spoils the broth, as Mr. Mix likes to say to Ms. Metaphor… 🍎🍵👎

      Thanks for buzzin’ in and leaving that cherry– I mean, cheery– comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • soul . to . earth permalink
        April 18, 2016 10:22 AM

        That’s carrying a joke too far, as the traffic cop told the donkey who walked from New York to San Francisco with a cartoonist on his back…

        We’re clearly on the same wavelength, as the curl said to the surfboard…

        One bad apple spoils the broth, as Mr. Mix likes to say to Ms. Metaphor…
        🙂 😉 😀 ;p

        How ever do you come up witty ‘Mark‘isms? Btw, I thought I’d coined a new term until I found its definition – huh!!)? Keep ’em coming! 🙂

        P.S. I’m not familiar w/ Where’s Waldo illustrations. I recall hearing references to it on TV.


        • April 21, 2016 9:37 PM

          My dear Radhika! The thought that Markism is in the Urban Dictionary made me roar with laughter– who’da thunk?? Far-fetched scenarios? No rational explanation?? Hmm– must admit, it does sound like me!! 😊

          Many of my own Markisms seem to be pun-related. I may have a case of Witzelsucht, which has been tied to brain damage, specifically to the frontal lobes. I’m afraid this may confirm certain people’s opinion of me… 😜🔨🚑

          Turns out Waldo was created by an English illustrator— I had no idea. He’s only called Waldo in the United States and Canada– his real name is Wally! He even has a Hindi name: हेट्टी (Hetti). I must remember that the next time I’m doing a crossword puzzle at the Ganges Club… 👳📰🍸🍹🍸🍹🚑

          I tried to find a Waldo drawing in an Indian setting, but came up empty. However, I did find this great gag cartoon where Waldo is channeling Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and finally solving his little problem. 💤💣💥🚑

          Wear a red-and-white striped cap next time you’re at the GC, and I’ll try to find you!! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  3. April 13, 2016 3:04 PM

    10? No, no, my friend they are 11! What, you don’t know the eleventh? I’ll tell you what it is: The JOY you bring – just like Spring! The dark clouds over Mt Olympus have been lifted!
    As an arch-illustrator up here, you have earned lifetime supply of nectar along with my infinite admiration! [and I will be answering soon two of the most delightful comments I’ve ever received. Please forgive my snail 🐌 speed! …life 🙄 ]


    • April 16, 2016 2:52 PM

      Ahhhh… it’s so lovely and peaceful up here… such a pleasure to lie insensible on ☁️#9, basking in the glow of a truly outrageous comment, left by an immortal of great renown, with paint splatters on her toga… 😊🌷🌸🌹🍨🎉❤️❤️❤️🎶🚀🌕👽👽👽🚀😊

      My dear Marina!! How you make this poor mortal blush!! My cheeks are so rosy, I’m sure to win first prize at the flower show!! 😊=>🌹🌹🏆

      When it comes to joy-bringing, I could never compete with you. Your appearances and honeyed words stir deep emotions in my manly bosom– it’s kinda like diving off the high board into a gigantic vat of nectar, only not as sticky, and it doesn’t make my hair all gooey… 😊

      Thank you from the bottom of my ❤️, dear Painting Goddess!– and BTW: never, ever worry about responding to bizarre comments on your blog. There are some strange mortals floating around in cyberspace, and you really mustn’t encourage them. Well, I suppose there are some exceptions, but, um… oh… oh… I’m feeling quite light-headed… oh… here I go again… 🚀🌕😊👽👽👽

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 16, 2016 6:23 PM

        🌺🌻💐🌷🍀🌺🌸💐🍀🌼🌷🌹🌺🍀🌷💐🌻🌹🌺🌼🍀🌸🌷💐🌻🌺🌷🍀🌼🌹🌸💐🍀🌺🌻🌸🌼🌷🌹💐🍀🌼🌷🌺🌸🌻💐🍀🌷🌹💐🌻🌺🌼🍀 🙂 🙂 🙂


  4. April 17, 2016 6:57 AM

    well, you were absolutely correct, my funny friend – I lingered in that most engaging illustration of yours for quite awhile and craved cola before coffee – darn you;)
    I love how your lines always make my eyes swirl around from corner to corner and I have to continually remember I’m looking at a rectangle not a circle

    you know I rarely read other comments on blogs not my own – makes me feel way too voyeuristic – but I couldn’t help but notice the springy flowers above and now I want to go outside when I have to work – then my eyes went up to the little aliens – those made me want to come back in;)

    I will tell you this – beyond being quite the superb illustrator and humorous ‘homoginizer’ of purest prose, if there existed an award for splendid ‘commentus’ utterances, you’d be crowned King of Regal Remarks – I agree with Miss Marina – “delightful” Sir

    you have a wondrous week of creating


    • April 18, 2016 1:39 PM

      My dear AM! Have a care when looking at an illustration– you could get sucked right into in!! I’m sure I saw that happen in an old Twilight Zone episode. Or was it an MTV video?? Or possibly the byproduct of hallucinogenic marshmallows in my hot cocoa?? ☕️🚀🌕

      Rectangles, circles–meh! What’s the difference?? as I once asked my old geometry teacher. She said I’d have a chance to find out, since I’d be repeating the course next year… 📉💥😭

      Flowers and aliens– yes, an unusual combination, tho I did see it once at a funeral home specializing in extraterrestrials… 👽🌷🌸🌹🌺🌻🚽

      Thank you for your kind words about my comments, aka, flippant remarks. You make me blush with false modesty. My visitors inspire me. See?– you’re doing it now!! 😊

      Your visits are always highly stimulating, as the electro-shock therapy patient told his kindly doctor… 💉💊🔧🔪🔨⚡️⚡️⚡️😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 19, 2016 6:10 AM

        ever since I saw the Twilight Zone episode where the old man’s only wish is to be left alone to read – and he gets his wish when he wakes to an abandoned planet surrounded by books – but his glasses break…
        the show terrified me…almost as much as Goya’s, Saturn Devouring His Son…ooo…now your illustrations scare me too;) but only for the sheer breadth of talent enshrouded in the man behind the curtain holding ye old art implements…hah I like false modesty almost as much as honest advertising and get slim quick pills;)
        you are most welcome, Mark – humorous blog bud

        Liked by 1 person

        • April 19, 2016 10:00 AM

          Ah, yes… Time Enough To Last… it’s supposed to be the best-remembered episode in the entire series. A most disturbing ending, and one of many episodes that scared the H-E-double toothpicks outta me. The only thing to top it in the Childhood Trauma Department would be having the bottom of your trick-or-treat bag fall out on a hill. Man, I’m glad I don’t know anyone that happened to. It’s the sorta extreme trauma that could get, you know, channeled into poetry… 😊

          Yeah, that doggone Goya and his nasty Saturn. After seeing that as a kid, I always came to the dinner table wearing one o’ them diving helmets. My father asked: “What’s wrong, son?” I said: “I ain’t takin’ no chances, that’s all…” 😱

          Your comments are so sweet and charming, dear AM, I suspect you’re somehow channeling me… 😲🔨


        • April 19, 2016 7:49 PM

          hmm, channeling a funny man – I guess there could be worse things;)

          trivia – when my giant husband was a bouncing baby, Burgess Meredith was visiting a place my mother-in-law happened to be, Burgess was a little tipsy and he walked up to my mother-in-law and stated quite emphatically (as he pointed to her baby), “that baby looks more like the Christ child than Christ!”
          thought you might appreciate some holy humor;)

          Liked by 1 person

        • April 20, 2016 8:23 AM

          You married a giant?? Lemme guess: the ceremony took place at Our Lady Of The Beanstalk… 🌱🔔🔒

          Yes, I remember that TZ story about the Nativity. Dear Burgess played one of the animals at the creche– a penguin. Poor boozy chap– musta thought it was a Batman episode… 🐧🔫🚽😊


        • April 20, 2016 10:37 AM

          Way back while entrenched in the dating world, I had to hunch over an awful lot – 6′ 7″ was what I needed to poof my hair, wear sexy heels and still be shorter than my date;) so I figured better marry this guy ’cause giants don’t walk by every day (oh yeah, another big feature – he smiles at my insanity)
          lol – you said penguin -did you know I walk just like one –
          happy Wednesday, my funny friend

          Liked by 1 person

  5. April 17, 2016 3:25 PM

    You know something, the signs of spring are regionally based and yours reflects northeastern North America.

    Methinks spring in ie. New Zealand might be a bit different or in Thailand.


    • April 19, 2016 4:23 PM

      Oh, no! Have I left myself open to a charge of seasonal-regional bias?? I just assumed the whole world was plagued with dandelions and misplaced dentures… : )

      Hi, Jean! Point well taken. I know baseball has migrated to Central and South America, and to Japan, and even Canada to a limited extent, but I doubt it’ll be replacing cricket in the U.K. and India anytime soon… : )

      On the other hand: the games may differ, but I doubt American men are the only ones who hole-up during the winter watching televised sports and “forget” to take a bath!

      I suspect Canadian cyclists are out and about already, and I think I know who’s leadin’ the pack– wishing you a flat-free Spring season!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 19, 2016 8:22 PM

        Are you kiddin’? I’m happy just to bike, regardless of speed or being a tortoise on some days/weeks.

        Flat-free- Schwable tires with blue inner lining help on the flat-free or 99%.


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