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The Art of Doodling (theparisreview.org)
61 points by CrocodileStreet 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments



One thing that always fascinated me is that in constrained mediums like doodles (the constraint being time spent on it and the reliance on lines), there still are hints so as to the artist being professional.

The doodle of King, who is not a visual artist, is just incomparable to the one of Cocteau, who did work in film and visual arts. There's something charming to both of them, but the way trained artists can make even the shoddiest of their work beautiful to look at is something I am quite envious about.

Disclaimer: My doodles are shit.


It's not necessarily a thing of being professional. There is this mental trick of being able to switch your mind from a symbolic to a visual processing style, which is easy to do once you learn it. [1] (Betty Edwards[2] uses this explanation to sell her books, but the first free exercises are enough to understand what it's all about).

In the article, Stephen King's and Queen Victoria's doodles are clearly using the symbolic brain, creating "drawings" equivalent to writing in hieroglyphs - the parts of the drawn objects are unrelated to how something looks in real life, only to what each shape means.

You don't need to become a professional of visual arts to overcome that style, only realize that you're doing it and practice drawing from pure visuals, without symbolism, and turning off the analytical brain.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOh4eIEjqvY

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Edwards


I don't really agree with this. Betty Edward's process is great for drawing from reference and learning to see. Drawing from imagination relies on a completely different skill-set.

In Cocteau's case, I would even argue that it leans more towards symbolic drawing, but with a more comprehensive visual library to draw upon- one that would've been developed from his profession.


I will disagree with your disagree. Edwards demolished a barrier for me in learning to see and draw. YMMV but it was profound for me.

Edwards does focus entirely on drawing from observation, but I see that as a necessary step on the way to drawing from imagination, in much the same way that you must first learn circuit analysis in order to do circuit synthesys.


My experience as a pro artist is that drawing from reference and “learning to see” is a large part of how one develops that “more comprehensive visual library”.


I realised recently that doodling during meetings (yes, work meetings as well!), and brainstorming has helped me capture more details than just writing in my notebook. Having ADHD, it’s often difficult to follow so many ideas and points being discussed.

My colleagues noticed that and I’m grateful that they specifically asked me to doodle during a workshop we hosted. Here’s a cartoon I did during that time: https://twitter.com/prashnts/status/1104060675205316609?s=21


I always carry a note book with me. It has my plan for the day (https://medium.com/@kristiandupont/high-resolution-planning-...), random notes and random doodles. I got into it after purchasing an old copy of Thinking With A Pencil (https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Pencil-Henning-Nelms/dp/1626...) which I think was a recommendation from some thread in here.

I am not sure what it does for me, but I've been quite consistent for well over a year now and I do find all my old note books are quite fun to scan through.




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