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Beth Keitt Brubaker's characters sprang into life in 1993 from splotches of color left behind on drop sheets under student paint projects at the school where she taught art. She noticed shapes and images hidden in the stained craft paper and began to doodle during her shifts as hall monitor.

"The colors were just so pretty I didn't want to throw them away, so I began playing with them to see what I could do," Brubaker says. As she doodled on the splotches, faces began to emerge. It didn't take long for the creatures to take on lives of their own and start getting into each other's business. "They had to interact with each other because they were so close together," she says. That interaction and reaction, inviting viewers into their imaginary world, quickly became a Keittoodles hallmark.

The artist's cast of characters includes jesters and clowns, dragons, prophets, fairies, magical ships, and nearly always the faces of Brubaker's beloved cocker spaniel dogs.

Brubaker's work retains much of the childlike wonder that pervades her students' drawings, and there are frequent echoes of early artistic influences from Lewis Carroll to classic Disney animators. Her characters lack inhibitions and display an emotional honesty that hints of deeper truths.

"There's always a little story going on in there," she says of her drawings. "Most of it's pretty funny because I love to laugh. The faces have to be funny, even the evil ones can't be sinister because that's not how evil appears to us. Think of the seven deadly sins. They don't look deadly when we're wanting them. They have to be attractive until it's too late."

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