The Big Blue Dog
Since I spent a lot of time on this piece and I'm quite an obsessive person, I've decided to explain every single part of this drawing. A friend of mine came up with the original idea because one of the nicknames for They Might Be Giants' self-titled album is the Big Blue Dog and Blue is obviously a blue dog so it just makes sense to draw her as that dog. There's also a few connections between Blue's Clues and They Might Be Giants with them having been on the last episode of the show titled "Bluestock" and the fact that Steve Burns is a huge fan of theirs and did a cover of "Dead" so it’s not just some random crossover that few would understand.
At first I just drew Blue, Joe, Josh, and Steve with nothing else. The sketch was originally drawn the fourth of June in 2021 and then the digital drawing was drawn the tenth of September in the same year. I was thinking that maybe I should just redo the entire cover with a ton of Blue's Clues references so that's what I ended up doing. It would take a lot of time to do, but I knew it would be fun trying to figure out what to include and what should be replaced with what. I tried to mimic Rodney Alan Greenblat's style has much as I could. I used Paint Tool SAI for this drawing and had to create new brushes to try to get things similar to the original piece. One brush was created to mimic the color pencil outlines and another brush was created to mimic whatever he used to color everything in. I thought it was some sort of gouache, but it could be something else. I'm not very good at figuring out different mediums just by looking at a piece. I finally finished the piece on the third of February in 2022. Since Josh is there, I had to include some stuff from Blue's Clues and You! I would suggest to open up the final piece in a new window and split the two windows on your screen so you can follow along better. I went from the right to the left and started with the end of the parade and finished with the the front of the parade. I replaced a lot of things with just characters from the show. Here we have Green Puppy, Magenta, Purple Kangaroo, Orange Kitten, that dancing stick figure from "Draw Along With Blue," Periwinkle, and Snail. The snail has to be in here somewhere. She's not in it three times like in every episode, she's only there in that one spot.
With some parts I tried to find something that was similar to what was already drawn. I replaced the blue car with a red car that appeared in the episode "I Did That!" Tickety Tock was playing with it. I can not remember if the car appeared in any other episode. Then there's Marky who appears in the episodes "Draw Along With Blue" and "Let's Write!" Next is Steve's Handy Dandy Notebook, a cup from the episode "Meet Josh!" and a blue block that replaces the green block. Next are Horace and Boris, two very important stuffed animals. I replaced the hat with Josh's hat that he got in the episode "123's With Blue." Then there is Turquoise, Tickety Tock, Shovel, and Pail. Shovel and Pail are where they are because Shovel is slender just like that bottle and Pail is similar to the bowl in a way. Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper replaced the salt and pepper shakers that were already there in the original drawing.
The yellow egg was replaced by the egg toy that they have. I think this toy appears in multiple episodes, but I took my reference from the episode "Body Language." In front of the egg toy is Sidetable Drawer. I kept the log in there. I wasn't sure what to replace it with so it stayed. You see a few logs in the show so it's not completely out of place. The shoe was replaced with Steve's sneaker. The corn flakes were replaced by a different box of cornflakes (or an unidentifiable cereal) that I took from the episode "Anatomy." Then we have Blue's ball and the cassette tape recorder that Joe uses in the episode "Steve Goes to College" and is also used in the episode "Mechanics!" I feel like it's shown in other episodes, but I can't remember. Then we have Bob from the episode "the Wrong Shirt" because I needed a character to replace the guy that is shaped like a bowling pin and I needed someone who was close to being a human, but definitely is not a human so I went with Bob. I also really love that episode and really like Bob so I used him. The vacuum cleaner was replaced by the waving contraption that Joe made in the episode "Contraptions!" I don't think a vacuum cleaner is ever shown in the show so I just used that. The lighthouse was replaced with Steve's crayon. I used his crayon because I already used his notebook so I wanted them to match. The satellite stayed the same, but the house was replaced with Magenta's house.
Let's get to the larger floats. The pirate ship stays as a pirate ship, but it's Slippery's ship that is shown in the episode "Blue's Treasure Hunt." The glass full of whatever that liquid is supposed to be (I think it's beer, but it could be something else) is replaced by the cup that is used at the end of "Snack Time" and "Meet Josh!" Then we have Blue's house in a fish bowl on top of a car. That is Steve's car from the Fisher-Price Racing Collectible Playset. I could not think of any other cars besides the one that Miranda owns that is shown in "Magenta's Messages" and the one that Carmen owns in "Blue's Big Car Trip." I chose Steve's car because it's slightly more simple than the others and I think it's something that is a bit more obscure and I thought it would have been nice to reference some toys in the piece. Then we have Blue's wagon that has the Thinking Chair on top of it. Let's skip over Blue for a bit so that can have its own paragraph to Mailbox on top of a cake. I wanted something that had multiple tiers on it so I thought of a cake. There were two cakes that I was thinking about for this one. The first one was from "What Was Blue's Dream About?" and I was going to use the monster version of it, but I decided to go with Mailbox's cake from "Mailbox's Birthday" so then I can have Mailbox on top of it to represent the little dude popping out of the top of the float. Mailbox almost was the man in the bottom right corner of the piece that is waving at the parade, but I ended up using Miss Marigold for that so then Mailbox can be part of that float. I went with Miss Marigold's current design since Josh is part of the piece and I had a rule that if something that I want to add to the piece appears in both series then I'll go with the updated version of it.
Let's get onto the main thing: BLUE! I made her pose the same as the original big blue dog, but I drew her ears sticking up instead of laying down and her tongue is sticking out. Blue's ears are usually sticking up when you see her profile. I assume that's so her ears don't cover her face because realistically they would. The unfortunate aspect of this is that typing out the credits became a bit tricky with her ears being in the way. Flansburgh was replaced with Joe because he is the tallest. That literally is my only reason and I didn't think that Steve would have fit well. Josh had to be Linnell because he uses his guitar in almost every episode and that's major part of his character so he needed to be the one that was already holding an instrument. So now we're left with Steve and he had to be completely made up. I had him in his detective outfit at first because that was the only outfit he had at the time besides the one he wore in the Christmas episode when I drew the original sketch so I thought that was going to be his default outfit for the show since Joe's default outfit now also revolves around his job. Then the 25th anniversary stuff came out and we finally saw an updated version of Steve's casual outfit so I went with that for the final piece. I disliked the previous pose I gave him because it felt too boring with his hand resting on his lap so I moved his arm to have some unique pose to fit more with what Joe is doing. That's all that I want to say for this group.
I think I'll get to the buildings that are located in the BC CENTER now. I know I could have kept the sign as TMB CENTER, but I had this need to change every single aspect of this piece so it became BC CENTER instead. I took a lot of the buildings from the episode "Blue's Big Neighborhood Adventure" because they went into town in that episode and pass by a lot of buildings. The only building that I took from the original series is the hospital that I took from the episode "Geography." I didn't have enough buildings from Blue's Clues and You! to use for the whole shopping center. I didn't really pay attention to the text on the buildings so I just payed more attention to the shapes and sizes of the different buildings to figure out which stores should be which. I tried to pick which buildings I thought would realistically need a space like the building that is in the original piece and tried to keep them in the same line up like in the episode. Let's go over each part so my words can make more sense. We'll go from the bottom left and then make our way over to the top. First is the hospital and then there's this random building next to it that has no markings on it. Next to that is the library and then it's the fire station which was placed there since the building in the show and the one in the piece both have a rounded top. Next is the bakery which may be in a building that is too large for a bakery, but they need space for a kitchen and some sort of dining area so I think it's a good size. Right next to the bakery is the music store which is quite small, but most of the music stores I've been to have been really small. Then it's the grocery store which has to be largest building because literally everyone goes there at least twice a week. Right behind it is just a random yellow building. Right next to that is the present store which obviously has to be in there somewhere. Then it's the post office and then the school. The school was almost the bank, but I went with the school instead.
At the back of the parking lot is the puppet store. I assume they have puppet shows there so that was something in the Blue's Clues universe that I felt like was most similar to a cinema. The marquee on the original drawing are all movies that already exist so I took some books from the show to put on it. The top one says "You Can Be" which was supposed to be the "You Can Be Anything That You Wanna Be" show that they performed in "Blue's Big Musical." The second one says "Helen" which is for Steve's favorite book "Helen's Hiding Place" which was shown in the episodes "Blue's Book Nook" and "Meet Polka Dots!" The third one is for "Quackers: A Duck's Tale" which was the book that Joe was holding in the episode "Blue Takes You to School." I really love that episode and I liked the subtle way that they showed Joe's interest in ducks. The fourth one is supposed to be for the book "I'm a Yellow School Bus" from the episode "Blue's School." Next is "Goodnight Bird" from the episode "Blue's Big Pajama Party" and also from the album Goodnight Blue. The last three are all from the episode "Blue's Book Nook" which would be "Ella and Me," "A Trip Through the Sky," and "Paula Pony Makes a New Friend." I hope what I was able to fit on the marquee was good enough to represent all of these book titles.
Let's get onto the motel. The motel had to be replaced by a character since the building has a face for some reason so I chose Polka Dots for this. He's real, but he's also not real at the same time because he's a doll so I thought he'd fit well. I also needed something from Blue's Room to put in this even though he does appear in all three series. I didn't really change much of the motel besides the colors and some words so that's all I have to say about the motel for now.
I had a lot of fun making the billboards. I am pretty sure I started on those first. I took a bunch of picture frames from the show since I literally needed everything to be a Blue's Clues reference. Let's start in the back. I kept the sign with the arrow basically the same. The frame I used looks like it could just be anything, but it is the cork board that is in the kitchen. Let's go onto the one that says "SKIDOO?" The frame is from the calendar that is in their living room. I chose to replace "PARK?" with "SKIDOO?" because it's similar in some way. They're both verbs. The billboard below that one is just the felt frame. Beside that one is the gold frame that is in the living room right next to the Thinking Chair. There's an advertisement for the present store since that's the main store that they go to in the show. Below that is the purple frame that is in the bedroom. I had to think of something that could easily replace "TRUTH OR SANDWICHES" so I just went with cheese sandwiches because I wanted to keep the "sandwiches" part and they've eaten that in the show before. Below that one is the frame that is in the bathroom. Kids aren't drinking coffee so I replaced it with milk. You need that calcium for your bones.
Let's jump over to the left side of the path to talk about the rest of the frames. The one on top has the clues from the first "Snack Time." The original billboard just has some drawings on it so I thought to replace it with some clues. The frame is from a random area in the living room that I took from the episode "Meet Polka Dots!" I can not remember if it appears in any other episode. Below that is the mirror from the bathroom. I had to think of some sort of food from the show so I went with bibingka which is what they made in the episode "Blue's Big Baking Show." I needed some more references from the current series! The bottom one is from a frame from the kitchen. It's right next to the opening for the pantry. You see it in the episodes "Blue's New Place" and "Rhyme Time." I can't remember if it is shown in any other episodes. I kept the advertisement the same on this billboard, but just replaced the face on the side with Paprika.
The last thing I had to add to this piece was all of the text. I created a CD version and a record version of this piece because I knew posting the record version with the whole track listing and credits to Instagram would have been a bad idea since people wouldn't be able to read all of that so I made sure there was some variant I could post there. I didn't remake the entirety of the credits because I didn't know what the Ouida Baily Music/ASCAP credit meant (I know now after two seconds of looking it up and it was literally their publishing company that they named after their high school science teacher) and doing a parody of the dedication would have been in poor taste so I left those two out. I was also running out of space on the signpost. The band name ended up being They Might Be Puppies because Blue is a puppy and I needed a word with two syllables to replace "giants" with. I wanted Cinnamon to be their producer for some reason. I don't think he's done anything music related so far in the show so I don't know why I chose him. I think he could do it, though. Then the engineers are Shovel, Pail, and Cinnamon. I just used random characters to replace the names. I replaced Dubway Studio with Spice Studio to relate to Cinnamon in some way. Studio Pass was replaced with the Present Store since I'd imagine they would meet up there often after closing for band practice and possibly to record some songs.
The lead vocal for "Book of Note" had to be Sidetable Drawer since halfway through the show she became known for her really great singing. The phoned in guitar on "Absolutely Blue's Mood" just had to be Slippery since he actually knows how to play the guitar and might be the only person who does outside of Josh and Steve. The executive producers ended up being Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper since they are adults and I assume they'd be able to get funding for this project. I credited Blue as being the artist because she does draw and paint a lot in the show and she's a really great artist in general. The phone number for Dial-A-Clue was chosen from the Fisher-Price Phone Friends toy. I combined Steve's number and Blue's number together and did the usual 555 in the middle. That's all for the credits.
Last thing to touch on is the track listing. I had a friend help me with this. Some songs had a few different ideas for them, but I tried to go with what I thought was the best one. We kept using the words "puppy" and "clue" so after awhile we decided to that those two words were off the table and had to use something else, but "clue" ended up being in half of the song titles anyways. I tried to keep everything in the same amount of syllables so you could be able to sing it with the new words easily. I think overall our choices ended up being pretty nice. "Alienation's For the Rich" was the most difficult one to figure out and was the last one I made up a replacement for. I hope "Sidetable Drawer's With the Book" is a decent song title. "Alienation" has five syllables so it was hard to think of something that had that amount of syllables and I went with "Sidetable Drawer," but that can be either four or five syllables depending on how you pronounce "drawer." I was also having trouble with "Don't Let's Start." I wanted the two contractions to stay together since that's the main appeal of the song and just needed to replace "start" with something else, but I really was not able to think of anything that would fit that one syllable so I went with "skidoo." I think most of the replacement song titles are pretty straight forward and don't think I need to go into detail about each one. I'm sure someone looking at it is wondering why I didn't change "Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes" and that's because I thought the song title was already quite fitting and it's also my favorite song on the album so it must stay. I'll have the track listing typed out below along with the original track listing so you can see the differences.
|They Might Be Giants||They Might Be Puppies|
|Everything Right Is Wrong Again||Every Clue Has Been Found Again|
|Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet head||Put Yourself Inside the Thinking Chair|
|Number Three||Clue Three|
|Don't Let's Start||Don't Let's Skiddo|
|Hide Away Folk Family||Cook Away Spice Family|
|32 Footsteps||32 Paw Prints|
|Toddler Hiway||Shovel Hiway|
|Rabid Child||Rabid Letter|
|Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes||Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes|
|(She Was a) Hotel Detective||(He Was a) Paw Print Detective|
|She's an Angel||She's a Puppy|
|Youth Culture Killed My Dog||Clue Culture Helped My Dog|
|Boat of Car||Book of Note|
|Absolutely Bill's Mood||Absolutely Blue's Mood|
|Chess Piece Face||Crayon Face|
|I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die||I Hope That I Get the Very Last Clue|
|Alienation's for the Rich||Sidetable Drawer's With the Book|
|The Day||The Dog|
|Rhythm Section Want Ad||Blue's Clues Host Want Ad|
Trying to find which fonts to use was an interesting process. I just used whatever Photoshop had and did not want to download anything new. I tried to find ones that were similar to the original. I had to draw the album title myself because I knew that font was never digitized and I doubt there's anything out there similar to it. For the credits I used Amiri for the letters and used Caladea for the ampersand. I also used Amiri for the track listing, but used Bodoni MT for the "one" and "two." On the CD version I used Goudy Old Style. I edited them all a bit so the spacing and sizing was similar to the original. I have no idea what fonts they actually used for the album except for the album title which is Filmotype Metro.
That's all I really want to say about this entire thing. I tried to make every single piece a Blue's Clues reference and tried my hardest to take things from each series and to get a lot of things from different seasons. I could have gotten more things from Blue's Room, though. It definitely skews more to the original series than the other series. When I was typing all of this out I realized that I did not create a replacement for the Bar/None label, but it doesn't matter. They don't need a label. They're probably making all of the CDs themselves at home.