“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing” - Pablo Picasso
So we've all done it: filling the corners of semi-important paperwork, down the sides of notepads, even covering the outside of binders back in the school days. I'm here to tell you today that all that doodling you always was thought was mindless is GOOD. Even better than good, it's GREAT.
We spent some time last week developing our visual vocabulary by looking back to the work in our past; it's time to start moving forward to our future work now. When we take on doodling as an intentional action a few beautiful things happen: Our hand relaxes (there is nothing precise we're trying to render), our gaze relaxes (freeing our minds of focused work), our intuition has the time and space to speak a little louder, and at the end, we are left with a whole collection of marks to use and incorporate into our work as we see fit (as well as adapt as symbols in our work!).
Two weeks ago we did up sketches in our books based on the things we could collect and study. Today we'll be playing with an exercise that begins with similar perimeters, but rather than looking outward, we'll be looking inward and allowing our hand to dictate what appears on paper.
Now for those whose preferred medium is not pencil or paint, I'd like to speak on why this is a particularly interesting way to play. When we free our minds and hands to doodle, we come up with a plethora of marks to use. In metal or leather, these marks and patterns can translate into stamped, rolled or etched textures. In fabric or collage they might become shapes to layer and applique or even hand stitch. After I sit down to a good mark making session I'll often examine my smithing tools AND wander around my house looking for surfaces, textures, stamps that look like the marks I just drew and might be useful in transferring them to my particular medium. When I sit down to a fresh sheet of watercolor paper or a blank canvas, I'll open my sketchbook to those doodling pages and see if there are any marks I want to incorporate right then.
Week 4 Home[play]: Mark Making
(you lucky ladies - it's a double homeplay week!)
Set aside some gentle (and breakable if desire be - by all means, play and draw as long as feels great!) perimeters: I'd like you to either take 20 minutes OR fill a page. Put on some music, light a candle, be present in your studio space and just start doodling. For some it is easiest to begin by thinking about making a mandala: make a tiny circle or center point on your page, and begin by creating circles or marks and doodles around it, radiating out until the page is filled. For others starting in a corner and allowing your marks to spread like vines, growing out and across the paper works best. For still others, dividing the page into a quick grid of nine boxes and then filling one small box at a time feels good (and quite manageable). And like so many of my own drawing exercises, I love to keep a couple interesting things on hand to look at - just in case I feel a bit lost at any moment there is something at the ready to examine and a new shape to draw. There is no wrong way to do this! Try on different marks, swirls, geometric shapes - the more variety you have, the more you'll be able to pull from as you create future work.
And of course, if you're in the Facebook group and feel inspired to share your mark-making-doodle-a-thons, please do! Cock-a-Doodlly-doo!