We gonna sing Wang Dang Doodles all night long!
Imagine a boxy brick production studio. Four screens, 3 keyboards, and window peeking into a janitor’s closet, consisting only a mic and headphones in there. The studio is littered with ‘real groovy’ band posters, an electric guitar and amp tucked in the corner and doodles. Hand-drawn doodles EVERYWHERE! Pinned to the wall, tacked to the screen and pens scattered over the jumbo sized office writing pad. A doodle a day was the goal. Doodling in between voiceover sessions and on weekends.
This was Lauren Prebble circa 2014 in Ponsonby Auckland. She had just left Queenstown to become first the female production engineer (since forever) to make, quote, ‘shit radio adverts nationwide’.
It was in this tiny creative space, were Wang Dang Doodles was dreamed up. The name, a nod to the song ‘Wang dang doodle’ by Howl ‘in Wolf, 1961. These daily doodles released online, through a fresh-off-the-market, instagram platform and common, social, Facebook. Daily dang doodles gathered a small but supportive following (even management encouraged them). The stint in Auckland lasted only 18 months. Something had to give with the long-distance relationship with a Queenstown based boy. Lauren returned, swooned but in a state of unemployment. The dole days were naturally filled with doodles, getting more detailed, some even started to move. Dang doodles got the odd doodle commission, like creating a cartoon series of pop musicians as animals for ‘Edge TV’, a snowy animated playground for a snowboarding film. Fluttering on the internet’s surface but immensely under-promoted hobby. 2016 provided a creative break for Lauren with Lakes Weekly Bulletin, ending the jobless cycle. Lauren was to help the company’s new endeavor into TV content. The paper doodles were put on hold, the attention was directed to video production as this was to be self-taught. LWBTV became a weekly entertainment piece for the community. Interviewing locals, going through the events of the weekend and occasionally getting out of the bubble with beloved jock-comedian, Henry Youngman. Doodles started to creep into these videos. Retro MS Paint the made animating doodles far easier. Jim Boult caricatures started appearing in the Bulletin. In 2019 doodles found a comfy space among the monthly culture magazine, Source. Doodles started to get satire, political, environmental! Like the ‘Choose real girlfriends’ doodle for plastic free July. Doodles got crafty, like the DIY instructables on plant care.
So now you know who was behind those silly doodles in our community publications.
As the nation faces the repercussions of a Covid world, the doodle artist now finds herself in a similar situation as before. With a lot of time on her hands. Perhaps, it’s time to give Wang Dang Doodles the exposure and love it deserves (starting with this awkward self-written, third person account for Arts & Culture). We just might see the return of daily doodles too.
Catch these doodles on instagram @wangdang_doodles. Let a doodle lighten the mood.