I didn’t really notice the kind of doodler I was until I compiled them altogether for these posts. Given that they tend to be entirely separate and individual occurrences, I don’t pay much attention to the technique or style at the time. So photocopying them from my notebook and creating digital copies was quite a sterile process for me, as it almost diluted the fluidity of such personal drawings.
For someone who is generally not too interested in natural forms, it is interesting to see how much these feed my depictions. Flower motifs are abundant in my drawings which is highly unusual when compared to my body of work, as I tend to avoid explicit feminine depictions like the plague!
Yet for me there is something incredibly soothing in creating these organic forms. Water and leaves are also core components to the drawings, as is an almost excessive use of line which I exploit almost to the point of exhaustion.
It’s a soothing and somewhat addictive repetition. Molten forms and swirling shapes cluster the pages. Unlike a painting I don’t think you can ever overwork a doodle, as you can simply adjust your progression across the page if it goes wrong. In most cases however I know when a doodle is done, as I no longer have the urge to pursue and extend it. I just know that I have done all I can and all that I want to do and as long as I have that therapeutic longing satisfied, then that is all that matters.
So I think it’s safe to say I have a slight tendency to doodle. I do it very unconsciously; it just kind of happens and before I know it half the pages in my notebook are filled up with drawings. I have this really annoying habit of doodling in random pages towards the back of my notebook, so as I near the end of it I still think I have loads of pages left, when in actual fact they’re all consumed by drawings.
Because for me the doodles are a very visual and fluid thing, I’m not going to talk much about them. I don’t feel the need to as I’m not creating them with the intention of forming an analysis. I’m not really creating them for any particular reason either apart from filling time (and supplementing boredom). So I don’t want to dissect them too much as I feel that will take away from them for me.
I do think however my time abroad has been a major influence to my doodling. My depictions are very Middle Eastern in terms of the pattern and shapes that are present. My time spent in Oman and India absorbing the culture, visiting souks and buying jewelry are all components that feed into these creations and it’s only now that I’m looking at the doodles on a screen and talking about them that I realise this.
Yes it worked! I’ve got your attention with this muscly naked man! Woo, what I would do to have abs like that…Right, enough swooning. This is a direct copy of a Michelangelo sketch (and if you don’t know who that is please go and hide under a rock). Below is the original:
I know I said I don’t copy art much, well I lied. I did it quite a lot when I was younger. I just found it soothing. I got to draw without actually having to think anything up. I guess it’s kind of the lazy way of making art. There’s been a lot of debate about this actually. Yes still life work looks lovely and you can hang it on your wall etc etc, but how much skill does it really take? Conceptual art is far more challenging as you’re actually having to think things up and create something from nothing. All very interesting and a debate that I’m sure would get very heated with a lot of people. So for now I’m just going to avoid the controversy.
Left: my copy of Egon Schiele’s sketch, Right: Egon Schiele’s sketch.
I think it is safe to say Egon Schiele is one of my ALL TIME favourite artists! His work is just so stylised and expressive. Gruesome in a sense even. I don’t know what the majority of people think about it, they probably think it’s a bit creepy or there are far too many vaginas going on. But personally, I love it all! It’s all just so scratchy and scrawly. Schiele is one artist who definately understands mark-making! You can see where he’s put pressure on his pencil, you can see how successful his limited colour palettes are with yellows and reds often featuring. He’s got a very interesting history to accompany his art as well. He was an art school drop out. He was also mentored by Gustav Klimt (lucky sod!) He was jailed at one point and a lot of his work that was deemed ‘pornographic’ was confiscated. I always think the personality of the artist goes hand in hand with the art work and in Schiele’s case this is definately evident. He was a notorious womaniser and his work truly reveals his raw sexuality. I love imitating his bony, almost anorexic-looking creations.
I remember my first Life Drawing class. I was sixteen. The model walked in and removed her dressing gown. I felt ridiculously uncomfortable. There were three boys in my class and they were smirking and trying not to giggle. The room was unbearably hot to stop the model getting cold. My teacher walked over and directed the model into a pose. I prayed I got the back of her so I didn’t have to look at any intimate parts. Just my luck, I got the view with everything! I didn’t know where to look! But once we started drawing I wondered what the hell I was worried about. It was just a naked body after all. And this naked female body felt like the most interesting thing I had ever drawn! The curves and shadows, the folds of skin and the wrinkle creases, the muscle tone. I was hooked. Life Drawing became one of the highlights of my week. Looking and studying the human body as it moved, as it maintained a position over a set amount of time, at the shadows falling across it. This was where my love of studying the human form truly set in and I have never looked back since.