The Lost Art Of Doodling

I worry sometimes of these college kids I hear about who bring laptops to class instead of pens and paper. The one skill I picked up from my formal education was the ability to draw three dimensional shapes and cartoonish caricatures. My signature creation was a bearded dude who consisted of two big bug eyes, a nose, and a pipe sticking out of his beard. Usually I drew him with a pompadour of hair above his eyes,  sometimes wisps of smoke came out of the pipe, other times he was evidently seated in the non-smoking section. Usually, he was just a head, but occasionally he was attached to a body with obscenely large muscles.

To this day I can draw him exactly as I did when I invented him as a kid. Muscle memory, I guess, from those formative years in classrooms doodling under the auspices of taking notes.

They have this game where you draw something on your Iphone and your opponent/teammate has to guess what it is. I suppose it could help the masses continue to doodle, in the way the video game Guitar Hero encouraged a new generation to like classic rock songs, but there is something sinister to it. Draw what we tell you and play the song we tell you are one step removed from buy what we sell you.

Structure might make one a more accomplished artist, but not necessarily a better doodler. There’s a purity to embracing your id and letting your subconscious take form on a piece of paper. Although I’m not sure what it says about me that I draw bearded dudes with obscenely large muscles.

Once I took a film class where this big shot director came in as a favor to the teacher to critique our short films. I watched him watch our movies. Half the time his eyes were on the screen the other half his eyes were on his pen releasing ink on his pad of paper. To the untrained eye it seemed he was taking notes, but when he made his comments he never once looked down for reference. So when the class ended I managed to sneak a peek at his paper. As I suspected he wrote no notes. The page was consumed by doodles. Doodles of skeletons fornicating.


2 thoughts on “The Lost Art Of Doodling

  1. Doodling! I used to love doing that during class. I loved G.I.Joe as a kid, so in the corners of my paper I would often times draw planes, tanks, and explosions because of my love for blowing things to Kingdom Come.

    Maybe that’s the creative nature in me coming out, as it did with you, and apparently this director. So if people aren’t doing that, what’s happening to creativity?

    Like you said, it’s being sold to the people with a pinchant for it, rather than everyone engaging in it and possibly discovering someone that has legitimate talent and creativity later on. You’re bread an artist these days rather than becoming one, because maybe your dad, mom, grandparents, gopher, billy goat, whatever did it before you. And the ones that do get discovered now? Just your stereotypical formula wrapped in window dressing to make it look better than it really is.

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