Day 6. Doodle Finale!
On our final doodle day, I give you my favorite doodle game
GUT PEEPs! IT’s day 6!! You are amazing.
And boy, do I have a fun doodle for you today.
This past week, we dipped our toes into one kind of drawing - the meditative, process-oriented kind - using the unassuming but scientifically proven-impactful practice of doodling.
We focused on using LINE drawing in the form of Doodles to improve memory, process emotions, and practice our hand/eye/drawing skills. Reminder: author, doodle aficionado, and esteemed GUT member Sunni Brown defines doodles as “spontaneous marks with your mind and your body in order to help yourself think.”
As we’ve doodled this past week, we’ve been learning to think with our hands. We explored automatic drawing, focused drawing meditation, and steady, repetitive motions to get out of our heads. This practice lets feelings float to the surface, helps us let go of expectations, and gets us into the flow so we can just DO.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve also laid the foundation of an ongoing art practice. Remember, focus on the process instead of the outcome. You are building muscles to help you as we move forward in our 30-Day Drawing Habit Adventure.
Great job, m’GUT.
Drawing Fitness 101
One other thing before we move on. A few of you expressed that you’ve been experiencing hand cramps and some physical discomfort while drawing. UGH. I’m sorry. That sucks. Every drawer has been there. Quick tips for drawing health:
When you draw, sit up straight with both feet on the ground. (Take it from the person in PT for a busted hip due to sitting with one foot up on her drafting chair for years.)
Grip your drawing tool LOOSELY. Pause occasionally and check in and see if you are gripping it tightly. If so, pause, shake out your hand, and start again with a looser grip. When doing tight drawings like the Doi-inspired circles or Agnes Martin-inspired grids, we are more likely to grip hard and exhaust our hands. Be mindful.
If you do longer bouts of drawing, roll your drawing hand wrist in both directions a few times before you begin. Use your other hand to lightly push your hand forward and backward, gently stretching your wrist. Do the same thing after you draw. And remember: TAKE BREAKS. No carpal tunnel allowed in the GUT!
And with that, we arrive at our final doodle. And this one is not going to cause you pain. This one is straight-up FUN. In fact, it’s a GAME.
“Whatcha mean a Drawing Game, Wendy??”
Well, pull up a chair, my friend. Get ready to play.
Drawing Games. There is such a thing!! If only high schools would recognize drawing as a sport, millions of unathletic, arty kids like myself would be spared the torture of P.E.
The most widely known Drawing Games were invented by the Surrealists in the early 1900s. The Surrealists were a group of artists who developed artistic practices intended to help their creative minds shift from the logical, restricted framework they were taught into the looser, deeper field of the subconscious.
This resulted in some pretty fun games they’d play alone or together, not to mention some totally awesome, unexpected artwork. Let’s take a look at a few of my faves.
We talked a bit about Automatic Drawing when we learned about Miró’s process. Automatic drawing helps release the rational mind and tap into the subconscious through mark making. Start with a blank piece of paper and using a drawing tool, just let your hand just GO. Allow yourself to make marks without any intention or direction. The only rule is that you cannot purposefully make the drawing look like something (aka be representational)! It’s all about freeing yourself from the expectations and restrictions of traditional art and tapping into something within. Miró, who we talked about earlier this week, was big on Automatic Drawing, as were Salvador Dali, Jean Art, and Andre Breton. You can read more about it here.
I LOVE making an Exquisite Corpse with people at a dinner party. You and at least one other person take turns drawing on parts of a folded piece paper so you can’t see what the other person drew, and attach the lines from each section so you create a single, radically unexpected and often bizarre image. Hard to describe but easy to do. Here’s a great lesson if you want to try it yourself.
Here’s another game I DO NOT recommend you play:
Invented by Salvador Dali in the late 1950’s, this “game” involved Dali firing bullets filled with printers ink at a canvas (!!) which created random splatter effects. He’d transform the resulting image into something unexpected, and finish the image with paint. I love this image above, it reminds me of Ralph Steadman’s work who blows ink to make his splatter images. I prefer ink blowing to the gun method. (PS NO GUNS AT THE GUT, Y’ALL.)
But my FAVORITE drawing game of all time is called….The Doodle Game. I learned it in art school. My artist-in-training friends and I used to play this game at an all-night coffee shop at 3am. (Ah, the good ol’ days.)
The Doodle Game similar to a surrealists game called Decalcomania. In Decalcomania, an artists uses CHANCE to create a print image and then turns the result into an unexpected image. Since this is the 30-Day DRAWING habit, so we are going to do it with Drawing.
Anyone can play this game, age 4-104. You can do this with another person, or on your own. All you need is paper and a pen, an open mind and wide open eyes, and your imagination. And a sense of humor also helps.
Conveniently, this sets us up for our DELIGHTFUL week ahead, where we will be looking closely at things that bring us joy, and see what we find.
Okay, ready? Last day of doodles, y’all. Let’s play.