30-Day Drawing Challenge: Day 28


The challenge is waltzing Matilda.

See the blog Expatriatism for a list of the other worthy participants, including my artist niece, and links to their daily drawings.


Day 28: Our assignment was to draw a Hobo.

I’m sorry to keep complaining on top of drawing, but who makes these lists? “Hobo” hasn’t been an acceptably used word in decades.

A bit of history for you youngsters… when I was a kid, we spoke of hobos, tramps, bums and winos. Charlie Chaplain’s character was “the tramp,” by the way.

A hobo was technically just a migrant worker who usually hitched rides (without paying) on trains, and lived in camps outside of town. A tramp (from “tramping around”) was basically the same thing, but tramp was a slightly more pejorative term.

A bum actually refused to work, and a wino was the alcoholic sleeping on the street.

A lot of these were shown in movies, usually in a stylized, romanticized form. The props were the worn out top hat, the bindle bag (matilda in Australia) over the shoulder, a stub of a cigar (either a discarded butt picked up as a free smoke, or a roll-your-own made from multiple butts), and cooking beans over a fire in their own can (since the hobo could not afford a saucepan, etc.; oddly the can was usually shown with the lid still attached.)

But those terms have fallen out of use, there are whole new classes of migrant workers and issues associated with that, and a whole new mindset toward the various kinds of down-and-out people who come to cities.

Dray a hobo? Naw. But I did draw you a Tramp.


About Bill Davis

Writer, speaker and translation and language learning consultant. I write technical articles, poetry and humor, and I am working on my first novel which is set on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.
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