Doodle Bug

pen & inkI would like to state for the record that I am not, nor have I ever been, to my knowledge, an actual doodlebug, either zoologically or as a rolling or flying vehicle, a dowsing rod, or a method of seismic activity tracking. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those. And it’s probably safe to say that my garden and numerous dimly lit corners of my home are probably full of living and dead pill bugs (what we used to call potato bugs when I was growing up), and I confess to thinking it highly amusing that these creatures are in fact tiny crustaceans that live right in my house and look like–indeed, are scientifically named after–armadillos. House Armadillos or Domestic Crustaceans, either way kind of weirdly cool in my estimation.

But I digress.

What I am is one of the many humanoids prone to doodling. And that’s not a bad thing, either. Doodling (or randomly scribbling on whatever is handy, usually a cocktail serviette or textbook or office paperwork or top-secret legal document, depending upon one’s status and age and current supposed activities) often leads, though many a grade school teacher would vigorously deny it, to thinking. And on occasion at least, thinking is not an entirely bad thing.

Whenever I’m struggling to get a piece of writing, a drawing, or frankly, any other project underway, there are few motivational tools that compare with doodling. The serendipitous or random mark that merely records a purportedly thoughtless and pointless motion of the hand can sometimes come to resemble an actual Something, and well, Something almost always leads to Something Else. In drawing as in life, just getting in there and starting, whether I’m ready or not, is the best way to potentially get anything done. Who knew!

Today’s doodle is brought to you by my propensity for turning many of my scribbles and scrawls and squibs and squiggles into things that resemble simplified linear paisley patterns or rosemaling, or any number of other folk design traditions. Once I get going on them, I find it meditative to a degree just to follow the whimsical path of inserting repetitive forms and line treatments, geometries and organic outgrowths of the marks, until I’ve filled much of the available space. Many of these folk-like, repeating elements become almost a trademark doodling style that might be as identifiable to some as my handwriting. Though, hopefully, more legible. And while the doodles don’t necessarily lead to specific or pictorial drawings in and of themselves, they do lend themselves neatly to a more relaxed and receptive state of mind in which those more concrete thoughts and ideas can indeed begin to insert and assert themselves usefully. And that can lead to different sorts of drawing, whether more topical or more sophisticated or more directed. Or not! The inspiration is in the painting from a P&I drawing

Today I was led by the doodling, not to a different drawing entirely, but to scanning it and playing with it digitally, first layering colors all over the place, then digital textures, then altering the proportions of the image, and lastly, stitching the resulting mash-up into a larger grouping of four copies of the same image arranged in a pinwheel fashion and then stretched, skewed, cut-and-pasted, and electronically stamped into a fabric-like whole that uses the same idea of the initial doodles repetitions-with-evolutionary-changes so that the end product still seems to appear quite handmade, as it’s not symmetrical or fully even from side to side or top to bottom. Now, if I were to take that square and repeat it, even if I turned it 90 degrees each time, for example, it would finally become more machine-made in appearance as well as manufacture. But that’s just mental doodling right there, isn’t it, because I could further alter the combination every single time I ‘copied’ it.

Which illustrates exactly what I was talking about as characteristic of doodling. One thing does lead to another, as long as we bother to do the initial one thing.

That said, I suppose I should get up from my desk and go forth to do a few individual things that might lead to getting some other essential things done around here. Cheerio!digital image from a P&I drawing

11 thoughts on “Doodle Bug

    • Ah, Mark, you’ve given me an idea: I will make a pillow with this design in my Zazzle shop. Thank you for contributing to this stream of mental doodling so handily! 😉

  1. Oh my Kathryn, your doodles are magnificent – I shall not show you mine as they are just not worthy, although I do thoroughly enjoy doing them.
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy

    • The great thing about doodles is that they mainly act as a loosening agent so that the really Good Stuff can get out and about more freely. So it doesn’t matter if the doodles themselves are pretty, just that they perform their creative-lubrication duties well. 😀
      PS–I’d bet your doodles are much better than you give them credit for being, anyway, since I know you (like the rest of us) are your own toughest critic! 🙂

  2. I love how you gave “doodling” your seal of approval, and then demonstrated how effective it can be in the creative process, and even expanded a bit to remind us that repetitive doodling can, in fact, result in creating art. Then, just to be sure we were listening, you reminded us that we can doodle our actions, too. As in, I think I’ll go doodle with the vacuum cleaner for a bit, so that maybe that will lead to doodling with the washing machine, and maybe even with some of those other tasks that are sitting on my list, waiting for me to doodle my way down the list. *smile*

    • That’s *exactly* what I love about the process! And, as I’m discovering, doodling can clearly be performed communally as well: one persons visual or mental doodle inspires another’s, and so on and so on. And like the seemingly aimless squiggles of a doodled line, the ideas can lead back and forth between geniuses, be passed along wandering lines, shoot straight across the globe and even girdle it completely, or any combination of those. Endlessly inspiring, if I let it be! 😀

  3. Pingback: What I missed doing.. « AbbyCastro Designs

  4. Who knows what doodling might be the start of…??? How many of ‘the greats’ were doodlers?

    let them make doodles…a doodle in the hand…make doodles not war!

    I so love your doodles and your humor-‘Many of these folk-like, repeating elements become almost a trademark doodling style that might be as identifiable to some as my handwriting. Though, hopefully, more legible.’

    • I frequently used to tell my students that I regretted we had no access to the Dumpsters of the Masters–all we tend to see are the successes and works that people have retained and preserved because they were ‘keepers’, and we forget that they may well have made 400 pieces of trash to get to the 30 keepers. At least, I find it mighty reassuring to think so. 🙂

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