Monday, September 14, 2009

Doodling Rocks!

When you fall off a horse or a bicycle, you are supposed to get right back on again.  Small children certainly pick themselves right back up when they fall down while learning to walk.  They don’t become afraid of looking foolish the way adults do.  That tends to hold us back more often than we realize.
I did manage to make our favourite recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook, the Ground Beef Wellington for supper on Sunday night which restored my family’s faith in my ability to be creative in the kitchen... but the fear I felt about blogging on the Saturday night of the Creativity disaster did make me aware of the time lag between when I explore a topic BEFORE I share it with you or do if AFTER I propose the idea.  I’m sure it will all work out in the end.  While I am planning to explore something every day in my sketchbook, they may not all be worthy of sharing.  Life may also interfere as I have seen it happen to so many people from Yarn Harlot to Burghild Nina Holzer the author of A Walk Between Heaven and Earth.
But to bolster my sense of self-esteem, I went back to one of the very first activities I remember doing. It was also one of the things I used to get in trouble for at school!  Doodling is probably the most Universal form of drawing or making marks that exists.  I have lost track of how many people tell me they cannot draw at all only to turn into the most amazing doodlers during boring meetings or phone calls!  Doodling has no rules, it can happen on almost any surface from beach sand and snow to odd bits of paper found lying within reach.  So today’s topic celebrates the doodler in all of us...
INHALE: The best thing about doodling is that your hands are kept busy making patterns while your brain gets to move into a more detached form of awareness.  Doodling can nurture many different personalities from precise to playful.  There is a childlike sense of play when we make random marks on a surface that evolve into patterns, textures or even pictures.  We should also treasure the fact that it is while we are doodling that many people experience those “Aha!” moments of creative intuition, solving problems or getting great ideas.  Those who think they can’t draw often produce the best doodles because they aren’t trying to turn every mark into something recognizable or worry if each shape is perfect.  Only machines can repeat shapes or letters exactly all the time... and where would be the fun in that?
EXHALE:  Take a blank page in your book and a big marker (preferably one that won’t bleed through onto the next page).  Write your name, a word or a statement in bigger, bolder letters that you will then doodle around.  Think about what colours to use, what thickness of pens or markers you could explore with and then just begin.  It wasn’t until I went to scan or photograph this page in my book that I discovered metallic gel pens for some of the patterns, especially the pale silver, might not have been the best choices, but I found them in a drawer and wanted to use them before they dried up completely.  Don’t obsess about pattern placement or exactness of shape.  In fact, if you find yourself getting too caught up in making things “perfect”, turn on some music or the television so that your brain has some interference.  Have fun playing with different patterns, letters or shapes until the page is full. Then stand way back and marvel how something cool came out of chaos!
If you can’t think of any patterns to start with, here are a few ideas.
This is the first pattern a teacher showed me how to do on a drawing of a basket in art class to make it look woven.  To this day, it tends to be the first doodle pattern that springs forth from my hands.
Spirals can be a magical shape.  They seem to be popping up a lot in my life right now, so I am trying to remain open to what that could mean.  Think of them as overachieving 6s or 9s...
A last little mishmash of ideas to try... now DOODLE!

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