I started National Novel Writing Month very early this morning.  There are people who are not writing novels this month.  There are lots of other people doing other creative things this month as well.  Seems to be a good time to undo the bonds of resistance to our creativity.

I’ve decided that I need to do something constructive about my drawing, so I am starting a project for this month.  I’m calling it NaPaDraMo–National Panel Drawing Month.  OK, so it’s not national, but it could be.  It’s definitely about drawing panels and I’m limiting it to the month.  What exactly am I limiting?

I am limiting myself to drawing 100 panels a day.

Whoa! That’s a lot, you might say.  Not really.  I’m defining a panel as a little rectangle on a page.  I am limiting myself to just filling up that panel with some drawing.  I’ve made a list of what I want to accomplish.  And I’ve made a good start.  I already did over 100 panels today.  All of the panels fit on one page in my sketchbook.  I didn’t say how big the panels have to be!

Why one hundred?  I got a lot out of the time I spent posting entries to the 100Words.com site.  Besides rhythm and editing, I learned how to manage the barriers I felt to engaging writing on a daily basis.  This is what I hope to get from making 100 panels a day.

So, the plan?  I won’t be posting all the work here.  Instead, I’ll post the pages/panels I like the best.  I am starting another blog to discuss the project and will possibly post some on Flickr.  Meanwhile…off to start the new blog.

Edited to add: Blog is here!

so… I thought the bunny upload of the day should reflect that.

 bunnies and pollen

bunnies and pollen

I finally got the tablet up and running so I did this on Gimp.  It’s fun finding out what the program will do within the framework of a task.  I got the idea about pollen from the way the brush tool worked.  That and not wanting to keep doing the thing over.

For the bunnies, it’s the same doodling effort.  Still starting from the ears and making that and the head in one line.  For these I used more than one line because I wanted to work the tablet a bit more.  The baby bunnies was a one-line exercise, though.

OK.   Off to blow my nose again.

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.

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.