I didn’t even use the tablet!

the view from my window today

the view from my window today

I knew I would take up digital drawing again so I thought this would be a good place to start getting familiar.  I remembered that I used to doodle leaves as well, such a long time ago.  I was staring at the leaves on the bushes outside my window, marveling at how closely the colors match my “home decor”.  So, getting to know Gimp, I decided to put it together  (I think I got the background color as close to Sacramento Blue as possible).

Let’s say, for the moment at least, that I am putting away the pedant and taking up a challenge  (knowing me it will only last for about a minute or two, but our hope springs eternal).  I think it’s time to call out The Bunnies.  Using Ed Emberley for inspiration (since I seem to have missed out on all his fun) I challenge both of us to bring out mutual Bunnies to life.  Portrait panels.  I’m keeping mine at ATC size since the WordPress likes them. Even if it is only one Bunny, what are its manifestations?  One a day till next week.  I’ll leave off the pedantics till then.  Maybe I can even find the tablet!

Oh, and try and talk Eric into playing along.  Would love to see his digital wonderfulness.

Heart: In the whole process, focus on appreciating the movement of your hand, how well it coordinates with your thoughts, how–even in hesitation–the hand is listening for the voice of the mind.  Appreciate how the hand and mind work together in all the actions of the day without your conscious attention.  Appreciate, also the quiet curving of an infants hands, the groping of a baby’s hands, the dexterous touch of toddlers as they grasp minutiae as their own universe.  Marvel, with joy, the abilities of hands in all the world to make magic.  Images from nothing more than movement through dirt.  Sound from the surface of the water.  Healing from a touch.

For a moment, stop and feel the heart as it connects through the pulse to the hand.  Delight in its own pleasure at being able to act so beautifully in the world.

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My preferred way of doing art the past few years has been more of a doodle and less of a conscious thinking effort.  I got a degree in art never feeling like an artist in the first place.  This intuitive way of doing art has been my attempt to deconstruct all my pre- and post conceived notions of what art is, or who an artist is.   These days it is more important for me to express what I feel and/or let my inner creative beings have my hands and eyes to create themselves with.

So I made this “comic” by letting it draw itself.  I enjoy not knowing where I’m going.  It’s like looking at someone else’s work (and in a way, it is).   I’m always amazed at how the pieces of the puzzle fall together long after the drawing or painting is finished.  I think that’s true even with intentional art.  That’s why we do it.

 

heart-notes

 

As you can see, spirals loom large in my symbolic lexicon.  They were the first things that appeared when I decided to let go of control.   What do they mean?  I haven’t really asked.   Some part of me is afraid that if I find out what all this really means it will go away.

Is it a comic?  I don’t know.  The line between comic and illustration and storytelling is almost nonexistent for me.  I like to think that it is a comic panel drawn by the heart angel herself.

As for doodling, I like it so much I made a Squidoo lens (also known as  a web page to the uninitiated) about it:  Doodle Art   And in case you’re wondering, I drew this in Photoshop.

I was going to leave drawing out of this blog.  The typical pen/pencil and paper kind.  Then I saw this about doodling and listened to this podcast about drawing and decided it’s time to let the pen out.  Although I’m comfortable with drawing, I have a hard time doodling.  Never knew what good it was.  The idea that doodling keeps one engaged and not off daydreaming was a real wake-up call (pun intended).  I’ve been a lifelong daydreamer.  Don’t know what stopped me from picking up pencil and fidgeting with it.  I just know that I thought it a waste of time.  And went back to daydreaming!

Then I found a wonderful book by Bert Dodson, Keys to Drawing with Imagination.  That’s where I not only learned what doodling is good for (as someone who already draws), but also found a place to start.  I love his drawings and have his other book, Keys to Drawing.  It was this one, however, that got my pen moving, and showed me how peaceful and relaxing doodling can be.

I first started doodling on coffee cups from Old Soul at the Weatherstone, our local coffee place.  They kindly provide blank white cups that I decided need to be recycyled as drawing surfaces.  Nothing like the plain, white surface of a throwaway to get the pen finger itching.

coffee cup doodle

coffee cup doodle

That’s a variation of the Bert Dodson suggestion.  A continuous worm, or string, or what-have-you.

Since that beginning, I’ve allowed myself to keep the pen moving after I’ve filled a page with text.  Sometimes that means filling up the trading card space I leave on every page.  Too often I forget that I do draw, and just get carried away with words.  Making a space on the page for drawing something helps create a bit of silence.

not typical but a page with doodling

not typical but a page with doodling

There’s lots and lots of doodling on this page because I was thinking about writing this post.  First, there’s an extra trading card space on the left page.  Usually that page is left blank.  Also, there is decoration around the right-hand trading card.  That’s kinda new.  I used to leave those margins blank.  Just like on regular cards.  Now I tend to decorate them.

On the bottom of the right-hand page, you will see some palm trees.  At least I hope that’s what they look like.  I discovered something when I drew those.  On another page, I had drawn palm trees that were outside the cafe window.  My purpose for drawing them was to figure out what their actual shapes were.  That was about a week or so ago.  Now, here I am sketching their shapes.

What does this have to do with Comics and doodling?  Ah!  That was my lesson.  When I started on my own journey toward comics, I had to come to terms with the nature of the drawing.  I wondered, in particular, what cartooning and so comic book drawing really was.  What is the essence of it?  Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

The original meaning was in fine art, and there cartoon meant a preparatory drawing for a piece of art such as a painting or tapestry.

I recognized that I was “cartooning”. I was looking for the basic shape of the more complex object. Now that I have that basic shape, I can fill up a page with it. I can use it for doodling.

remembered childhood doodles

remembered childhood doodles

I didn’t remember I ever doodled until I started making them for this post. On this page are stars and butterflies.  I remember why I made the stars.  I was trying to figure out how they were made.  What are the movements I needed to make with my hand so that I could easily, and regularly, make these five-pointed things easily.

how to make three-dimensional looking boxes

how to make three-dimensional looking boxes

These boxes,  another childhood memory regained.  I remember trying to get the order right, and connecting the right lines to the right places.  Who knew that connecting the corners of two  boxes would yield such a complex object?  Again, it was practicing,  doodling really, that taught my hand how to move.

This is how we learned to write in the first place.  We scribbled something we really wanted to know more about.  We did it over and over again, in different media. We looked for images in the real world and tried to figure out how they worked by making our own versions of them.

I still don’t want this blog to be about drawing comic books.  I find it too intimidating myself to think of having to produce consistent imagery by hand.  But, when I let myself relax and have fun, when I look back at the outcome of unattended to expression, I like what I see and feel encouraged.  So,  to that end, I will be including more doodles and more about doodling in the blog.

Doodling: Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Mark of a section of the page and fill it with marks, any kind
  • Fill a sticky note with your name
  • Draw spirals, focusing on keeping the space between the lines the same
  • Find something around you that you like the shape of, draw it as you see it, then fill a page of it from memory
  • Find some doodles online and copy them

Heart — For ten uninterrupted moments, with pen and paper, doodle hearts.  While you are doodling, think of something your heart desires.  Try to see your real heart beating in your chest.  Let your pulse lead your hand.  Breathe gently, letting your breath flow over your drawing, through your drawing.  Relax into the flow of the lines and feel your desire flowing into the world.  When you are done, close the page.  Leave looking at it till another time.

If you get tense or feel yourself in a complex situation, remember the hearts and feel your hand drawing them again.

I’ve used Comic Kazes as a project for school.  It’s the object of a progress report I have to write.  And, No!  I haven’t reported that I have made progress.  In fact, not only did I properly report that the blog has stalled, I also explained how and what I need to do about it.

Not going to get into that here and now, though.  Checking into other features of this theme, I discovered a little tool.  It looks interesting and I want to try it out.  If it works easily enough, I will be using it here a lot.  Hold on while I try it out.  Back in a sec.,.

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OK… done.  Let’s see what happened.

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Uhhh… the video post was supposed to come after this one.  Let’s just say it was successful.  ‘K?

YouTube – Ramayana Musical Part 03 of 04 Hanuman Finds Sita.

Aha!  Put this in the post courtesy of Press It, a bookmarklet I found in the tools section of the blog.  Interesting.  OK… So why did I include it in a blog that’s supposed to be about making comics?  I like the style of it.  Also, a lot of ideas I get about visual narrative come from watching animation.  Mostly about design and sometimes about story.

I’m working on a post about drawing–doodling in particular–and while I was working on it I was watching Disney’s Pocahontas.  Some of the doodles on the page come from looking at the smaller images within the larger frame.  To be able to make animation, the artists have to be able to reduce complex images to their basic structures.  That’s one of the lessons I got today when I was thinking about what doodling is good for.

Another effect of putting pen or pencil to paper is developing a rhythm.  It’s like practicing a signature only you are doing it with images.  There’s more, but I gotta take the little brother home and finish that progress (or lack of same) report before bed.  Meanwhile enjoy the video.  There’s more about that as well.

Rose In Motion

Rose In Motion

Again I used Photoshop to manipulate my original image by changing color saturation and the shape of the frame but I don’t think I was really very successful in making it look like motion. If I kept fiddling with it, though, it would never get posted. So I tried something else.

Blurred Rose

Blurred Rose

With this one I played with Gaussian blur, image lightness and also color temperature, adding a cyan photo filter on the left and then gradually going to orange. I also added a watercolor filter on the final frame. I think this one is more successful by far. In both cases, though, it’s that image just before the final one that seems to be the trickiest. There must be a better way to go about my general idea.

Blur blur blurblurblurbluhbluhbleeeeee

Rin Around the Rosey

Ring Around the Rosey

How Escher-esque and Infinite Fool of me, eh?

Thank goodness for Photoshop! Cut and paste is a breeze. And this exercise gave me a chance to play around with gradients a bit. I didn’t think until just now, though, that I could have played around with blurring. I may do another one tomorrow.

It’s interesting what Heart says as today I was practicing an exercise from MindLight: Secrets of Energy, Magick & Manifestation in which I focused on visualizing energy between my hands while measuring my breathing while listening to what was  going on in the world around me. The purpose is to bridge the inner and outer worlds.  The best part was that I actually began to see the energy with just my normal vision.  I was describing it to a friend as being like when you run your hand underwater and see the swirls that trail behind it.

I would say our hearts were in sync today, Melanie.