Actual doodling

I’ve noticed another interesting tendency when it comes to drawing and doodling, but felt I was running out of space in my last post.

25 years ago without internet, when I doodled it was MY creatures and shapes, I thought they were funny and original. These days, because there are so many pretty things to ogle, I see my tastes run exactly the same course as everybody elses.

I always loved for instance sunflowers and used to paint them. Well, the web is flooding with sunflower doodles, so I can no longer make them my own somehow. And every time I see an image I love, I’m inspired to try that technique too. I don’t get any ideas, I just want to copy! But I don’t want to go offline for a year either to clear my head, there has to be another way. Of course what it also does is make me doubt myself entirely – “it’s not enough to practice, you have to be original to be a real artist”. And even that is not an original thought, in fact is seems quite common to feel that way. I think our brains are simply too big, there’s room for all this worry that a dog would never succumb to.

hipdoodleThere are many ways to get started, from the (for me) very structured, repetitive approach of zentangles, to closing your eyes, moving your hand around and then see if there are shapes which resemble something which you can elaborate on. Perhaps I dismiss those because it is, again, more work than play somehow. (yes, I can feel performance pressure when I open my eyes and see nothing in those random lines) Another notion I’ve had often enough is working lefthanded, both for drawing and writing. Why do I keep having all these ideas and then never get off the start blocks? Argh.

Yet I persist in my wish. Mainly because I’d like to add doodles and drawings to paintings, not just squiggles and print marks, and without regretting what I just did to a perfectly nice background, now to be re-gessoed…. Sure it would be lovely to master the art of illustration, but a loose sketchy style which doesn’t look like it’s made by a 5 yo would be fine. Yes, you can make anything your thing, as long as you’re consistent. I guess all you can do is keep trying out all the things until one calls you to try a bit more and somehow evolves. And suddenly you have a thing!

Frozen kestrel with a 3 cm wingspan. Not my thing.

My thing at the moment is the inability to see clearly near and far at the same time. I can choose either – view everything around me in a blur and focus on my work, or really see what I’m looking at but doodling away with unclear results. I haven’t yet determined which works best. Actually what I like best is not drawing or painting to life, it’s always more fulfilling when it comes from inside. I also like to work fast, but still, one must practice the hand.

peregrineflash – for a while I let the computer help me, but still neglected to practice other than getting the job done. This is actually a screenshot from one of my old animations, 2004. I removed the speak since it was done for a client. But if you care to wait for the crummy bandwidth to my house, you can click and watch.

Perhaps I’m only interested in the idea of drawing, because what happens when I wander the garden with a pencil in hand, doing quickies of leaves and berries? I get bloody bored, that’s what happens. I’ll do all this some more, but it could be that I’m simply not a “linear” type of person. Because I’d be much more entertained doing this with paint – except still life is definitely not my thing, or a very naturalistic style. So the latter could be it as well, because what do we do when we begin to learn drawing? Try to make it ACCURATE most likely. Just like my deteriorating handwriting, our style becomes looser as it ages. (as do so many other things…)

Or it’s simply my photographer self knowing how easy it is to find a nice angle, then up the contrast and colour a bit in Photoshop, voila, lovely images! (to the point of getting lazy and never leaving that box – maybe having a “thing” is overrated)

Maybe the solution is looking – then going inside and drawing from memory. You could say I’m in luck right now, since it’s way too cold and windy to be sketching live in the garden.  😉


As usual I’ve been sharing my pre-ramblings and halfbaked thoughts, not the polished, philosophical hindsight, so guess what, I’ll be back when I’ve tried and erred some more. Somehow just writing these things to myself in a little book to generate clearer thoughts doesn’t count, or doesn’t work as well as doing it here.

For instance, after reading through this draft for the 17th time, having pondered the dilemma for years, I finally realized I could try another thing: listen to find out what happens inside when I practise drawing and hate it. Not just my automatic first thoughts at the front ”this sucks and it’s boring”, but what’s underneath. Usually I don’t have much succes with such touchy feely things, but perhaps if I focus long and hard it will leave my hands free to doodle without supervision. 😉

I’ll let you know how that goes.

Another post on process: Knowing when


– Micro WIPs – postcard doodles waiting for paint. And that’s all you get, my Wacom digitizer is broken and I’m severely depressed. My crosstrainer is broken too, but that’s merely inconvenient in theoretical terms, mostly. And my hotplate in the studio blasted 3 fuses the other day for no good reason, so that’s definitely a goner!

13 thoughts on “Actual doodling

  1. En ulykke kommer sjældent alene.
    Det er sjovt – som i underligt – det der med at, ja det vil jeg gerne gøre, og sÃ¥ nÃ¥r man endelig gør det … gaaaaab det er vel nok kedeligt. Hvad er mon den perfekte ting at gøre, eller tænker vi mon bare for meget over det vi tænker om det vi foretager os, i stedet for (ligesom børn der leger) bare at gøre det? Ups! sikke en sætning. Den mÃ¥tte jeg selv lige læse en ekstra gang. AltsÃ¥: Tankerne løber sÃ¥dan i bÃ¥nd, over – eller vel snarere under – hinanden har jeg altid forestillet mig. (For at forstÃ¥ det, sÃ¥ prøv at tænke pÃ¥ ingenting. Det gÃ¥r fint pÃ¥ overfladen, men nedenunder kører et bÃ¥nd til, det tænker pÃ¥ ikke at tænke pÃ¥ noget. Og under det igen et andet bÃ¥nd, der skælder bÃ¥nd 2 ud for at tænke pÃ¥ ikke at tænke pÃ¥ noget osv … ) PÃ¥ en eller anden mÃ¥de tror jeg at kedsomheden og kritikken og den manglende legesyghed kommer fra et af de der bÃ¥nd. Og hvis man nu kunne kvæle det … sÃ¥ ville det mÃ¥ske blive bedre.

    1. Jeg ved hvad du mener med bånd, eller lag af tanker. Hvis man kunne blive opmærksom på de forskellige tråde og derved også vælge hvilken man vil fokusere på, er allerede noget jeg øver mig i, man kan begynde med eksterne lyde. Men det er let at igen falde hen til automatiseret tænkning.

      1. “Jeg tænker ikke, jeg leger!” svarede min yngste for et par dage siden, da to andre og jeg kom til at diskutere tankelæsning og ville øve os pÃ¥ ham. Det er nok det, vi har glemt.

  2. I can so relate to your feelings – all of them! However, I don’t think of finding an idea on the internet and making it myself as “copying” – I think of it as being inspired to try something new; to be inspired by someone else’s creativity and giving it a go myself. The internet really is the world at our fingertips; Pinterest is addictive; but every time I put a pen to paper, even if I’ve been inspired by someone else’s expression, the result will be unique, with my own “signature” brush strokes… and that makes it worth doing!

    1. Yes, I’m aware of the concept “steal like an artist” – but of course I set impossibly high standards for myself. It’s the classical notion of having REALLY great taste but the skills aren’t even a close match, you are doomed to dissatisfaction. 😉

  3. I remember, way back when, in an art appreciation class for my degree, that the instructor would put a picture up and ask, “What do you see?” We looked not at the shape, but the color, forms, shading, ect that made up the pictured representation of whatever was on the canvas. Maybe you can try to see, instead of look at something–maybe it will help bring out your creativity, inspiration and the result you desire.

  4. I like the two drawings at the top, of the chicken! They look like they were fun to draw (and are fun to view)–I think you need to have fun!

  5. Interesting thoughts. And they remind me what I should do…I am in church with my son, he practices playing the organ and I have my drawing board and a fresh sheet of paper. So why am I on WordPress? Leaving now. There are some imaginal landscapes, plants and/or animals that are waiting to be discovered…

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