Edwards’ Theory of Evolution: Why Hippos with Braces are Okay, but Sharks with Glasses Are Just Too Scary

Hippo in Sunglasses with BracesEveryone’s heard of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, but have you heard of Edwards’ Theory of Evolution of Illustrations for a Dental Clinic?

The owners of Southern California dental clinic approached me with a challenge. They wanted new graphics to promote their family practice that provides dental and orthodontic services – something fun, family oriented and colorful.

 So, the obvious came to mind:

Toothy families.

Toothy Families


Toothy animals.

Toothy Animals


And toothy teeth.



Well, as soon as you begin to show cartoons of people with and without braces, the number of combinations becomes overwhelming.

I persuaded the client it was too much.

How about the animals?  I like doing cartoon animals, so that things like race, age and gender don’t complicate things.

Toothy teeth are just plain weird, so that idea was dropped.

So, I sketched out some animals and added braces just for fun to see how they looked.  I wanted a Southern California beachy feeling, hence the shirts, surfboards and cool shades.

How about hippos???

Hippos have families. Hippos have teeth. Hippos might need dental work.


Hippos are great, but the client decided to focus on grinning faces of a variety of creatures with a range of unfortunate malocclusions and overbites.

After much discussion, we decided on nine animals, some with braces and all in bright beach attire.

Here is the initial line art. The client was happy with seven, but two had to go. They told me the shark was wayyyy toooo scary.

“Even with glasses?”

“Yes,” was the reply.


Evidently, scary sharks might upset little kids getting their teeth drilled. The customer is always right. Right?

The squirrel was also a no go.

So, I got rid of the squirrel and the shark. (I didn’t ask if the squirrel might frighten a small child.)

As the “Evolution” came to a close, we decided to assemble the drawings in a grid to be used on t-shirts, the web site and any other way the dental practice cared to use the art.  I delivered the final art in a grid, but also provided each of the nine individual squares, so they could be used as singular, spot images.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution proves the notion of survival of the fittest – also known as natural selection.

What does Edwards’ Theory of Evolution of Illustrations for a Dental Clinic prove?

That sharks, even with glasses, are just too scary.






2 Responses to “Edwards’ Theory of Evolution: Why Hippos with Braces are Okay, but Sharks with Glasses Are Just Too Scary”

  1. Christina says:

    Write children’s books, for heaven’s sake! Or, you could be the next Doonesbury!

  2. Mikey P says:

    Love it.
    Methinks that the Hippo should’ve been riding a bicycle though.
    A big bicycle like a penny farthing would’ve been just perfect.
    Now, if the Hippo had a mustache, that would be ultra perfect.

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