Do you get bored? Is the daily routine becoming too “easy”? Everyone needs adventure in their life. There is a need to embrace meaning in life. Adventure is a way to see beyond the present into a hopeful, exciting future. Embracing hope for tomorrow is a key to happiness. But, it is a fight.
Embracing meaning can mean many things to people. But, the unifying factor I think is becoming vulnerable to your vulnerability.
In this post, I talk about some of these ideas through doodles I did over the course of a week. Doodling is a way to place complex ideas on paper, similar to a stream-of-consciousness writing exercise.
What is this Art thing, anyway?
Art is the expression or application of human creative skill…blah, blah, blah (according to the Oxford Dictionary).
Frankly, here’s what I think.
Art is anything someone/something has “imagined” and turned into a material, “tangible” thing.
Tangible things are substantially real, perceived through any of the five senses (or more if you’re not the average human, e.g., alien?).
Art usually has a purpose, but doesn’t need to have that purpose defined in concrete terms.
A question for you: Can art be created with no purpose at all?
You’re too serious.
I’ve always loved world building. When I was a kid, legos were my medium-of-choice.
I’m sure you minecrafters out there know what I mean. Building a place with simple blocks is deeply satisfying.
As I got older, however, I lost that part of me. I walk into Lego Stores, and it is my daughter who feels the thrill. She experiences the adventure. Me? I’m busy sipping my Mocha and trying to live that enjoyment through her.
I even write about her adventures, trying to make sense of where I went wrong as an adult. Wrong, as in, why is adulthood so full of seriousness?
I think it’s important to remember as we age that life is more than what we see and experience. There’s something else over the horizon.
Doodling takes the edge off.
Sometimes the errant pipe smoke doesn’t cut it. Nicotine is both a stimulant and depressant. That is, who knows what it does to your brain and creativity.
Late at night, I enjoy a good movie or video game. If I’m busy at work, I might do some work to keep up. But, the evenings when all the kids are in bed asleep, it’s me time.
There isn’t a lot of free time, but it’s quiet.
In the past few weeks, I’ve taken up the task of re-learning how to draw. 2D art is very different than miniature painting. Although the principles are similar, e.g., contrast, form, composition, creating images on a flat surface is more difficult.
You’re starting from scratch. There are no boundaries like a 3D model sculpt. You have to envision them in your head, and sketch them out on paper. No lines to follow except the ones you make yourself.
Embracing meaning in whatever marks you make, messy mistakes and all, is a key to enjoying the process of making art.
There is value in screwing up.
The best tip I’ve heard, and shared, is to finish everything you do no matter how unhappy you are with the project.
That’s why doodling is so important to an artist, I think. You’re free to explore ideas. They are never perfect, but at least you have them in front of you, locked in-ink.
Doodling takes the edge off, because it’s the practice of making a mess and RESPECTING that mess.
Keep making marks on the page! The edges will fall away and soon you’ll find yourself in a headspace without boundaries.
Creativity versus intellectual art-making: doodling versus drawing realism?
I had trouble when I started doodling. I kept running out of ideas.
I couldn’t find things to doodle.
But, I realized quickly that doodling isn’t “drawing”. It’s different.
In fact, it’s better. Doodling is the thing you do when you want your mind to rest.
Creativity works best when you’re not thinking too hard.
What do I mean? There is a part of our brain, the analytical part that forces the creative side to shut-up, literally.
When you’re doing math, the complicated problem-solving kind, you don’t have room to make things up. The imagination only gets in the way, doesn’t it?
When you’re trying to solve a single equation, a problem, usually you’re looking for the BEST answer.
But, creativity and making art has no best answer. Of course, if you are trying to draw and render an image with realism, you will have to engage the analytical part of your mind.
For realistic drawings, you have to fully understand proportion, anatomy, perspective, foreshortening, and all these guides for what makes a 3D space “three-D”.
This is probably why drawing realistically is so difficult. Your brain needs to switch back and forth between two “opposing systems.”
I have no interest to engage the logical side of my brain unless I need to do something specific. In doodling, there’s nothing specific I need to create.
I’m just making marks on the paper. Embracing the meaning in the drawing comes later after I’m finished. My goal, if I really had to define one, is to fill the page as much as I can and keep the image cohesive.
This means making confident-looking lines, dots, and dashes, to form shapes and structures that seem to fit together.
I don’t over-think it. I’m free associating. That’s doodling!
How to doodle?
Have you ever wondered how to doodle better? Or better phrased, what is the best way to draw better?
Both questions are similar. You need to practice! Just keep going and repeat over and over.
Don’t be a try-hard, as they say. Just do it.
Take your pen, pencil, digital tablet, whatever, and make marks.
Mark that medium until your hands hurt, fingers burn, and neck aches. Keep going until you cry blood.
Yes, that’s how you improve anything. Hours and pressure focused on doing.
Keep making marks on the page. If you’re looking for new doodling ideas as a beginner (whatever that means), then give the following 7 steps a shot.
- Start with a shape.
- Any shape.
- Build it up with more shapes.
- Then, add value. Shade the piece, pretending a light source is somewhere in that paper space.
- Slowly, an image will emerge.
- You may not recognize what it is. But, that’s not important.
- Keep going until more than 50% of the page is full.
Kill the blank page.
Your tools don’t matter. Use whatever is at hand.
And, remember, creating is a lonely process. At the end of the day, you’ll be alone with your thoughts and struggles.
But, this is you. This is life. Everyone lives their life alone. You live with the choices you make.
Why you doodle.
Deep down I believe everyone has a story. Doodling reveals parts of it.
As a human, we are desperate, starving…like a flower for sunlight, trying to understand that Story.
So, we do things to create that story: to recreate that unknown story.
I see this in my children. They create because it’s normal. It’s natural to tell stories and experience them.
She tells me a story and paints because she’s trying to make me see what she sees.
“These are eggs,” she says.
I look at blobs of paint. These are her doodles. They aren’t but messy marks of acrylic paint. But they are real things to her mind.
While my doodles with pen and ink are more refined, they do carry meaning, too. But, in fact, my daughter at her young age is more vivid with her imaginary.
Why do I struggle so much to see what I’m doing on paper? Her drawings and marks aren’t very accurate to reality.
“Oh, eggs,” I say agreeing with her. “What is that?”
I nod. I can see a large blob with two lines, representing legs.
If my daughter says she sees a chicken, then who am I to say it isn’t?
She’s a creative genius in my eyes.
But, the neat thing is that she’s COMPLETELY SATISFIED WITH HER ART.
Let’s look at my doodles.
Why am I not more satisfied? What is my art missing that would make me more content with my effort?
I know the answer.
I’m missing my childhood. My adult brain has become too full of logic and only believing what it sees. It’s too analytical, and dare I say control-freaky.
So, this is why I doodle.
I doodle to kill the part of me that has grown old.
Doodling makes me a kid again.
Take home message.
Doodle onward my friends. I’m doodling now on a regular basis to keep the creative juices flowing despite all the serious things happening around me.
Art is the thing that requires no intrinsic meaning, except for what we project onto it.
Doodling is another verb for “play”.
Go and play!