Even though I got a BFA in studio art as an undergrad, and got my MFA in Jewelry & Light Metals from RISD, I’m not a very good illustrator. Not for lack of trying, I took a LOT of drawing classes as an undergrad. I even minored in illustration. Well, that’s overstating things, I took so many classes in illustration, I minored in it by default. I got to the point where I could draw from life well enough that people knew it was a foot, or a lamp, or a duck, and then I gravitated to 3D where I got to pound on metal and make pots. Way more fun for me. Despite my lack of skills as an illustrator, I really love doodling. There is something incredibly therapeutic about a great pen on a smooth piece of paper with no expectations for the final result.
When I worked in the corporate world, I learned to use doodling to mask my frustration and boredom in meetings. In fact, I had a name for them: Rally Doodles. We had these quarterly all-staff meetings–Rallys–that were mind numbing and I would get through them by filling pages with doodles. Here’s an example from a particularly infuriating Rally:
These days, I get to draw for work every once in a while. Often when I need to draw something that needs to actually look like something, I start by tracing. It’s kind of cheating, but I try to add my own style to it. and I make sure it’s not too perfect.
Sometimes, I combine doodling and tracing!
Tonight, I decided to relax with a little doodling while sitting on the sofa. It’s amazing how much my mind wanders, but never gets stuck, while I’m drawing. I can feel my shoulders relaxing, and my brain thinks of creative endeavors instead of worries. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with white on black and I really like the result.
Here are a couple of videos I’ve made for NHPR recently that have utilized my drawing skillz. A little bit of doodling, and a little bit of tracing, captured with a time-lapse camera. The best jobs are the ones where you get to experiment and do what you love.