Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Let me tell you about a doodle

Drawing is really funny for me because I do it primarily to relax but it can cause me more stress than any other activity I engage in. Whenever I have an idea for a painting or anything else, the brainstorming session in the beginning is the most appealing. A stage where any idea is a good one, everything has its merit and no taboos are allowed to restrict a truly free flow of thoughts. As you progress with your chosen ideas into rough drafts, redos and a final product the majority of what you’re doing is telling yourself what isn’t working about the piece in question. Refinement is difficult sometimes because while some mistakes are obvious, others are more difficult to examine; overzealous editing can lead to quality loss or diversion from the original ‘pure’ idea you had in mind.

Simply, I love to doodle but finishing work drives me batshit. I plain don’t enjoy it. It used to be a lot easier for me to have unfinished work lying around but as I get older I take my projects a little more seriously and only invest time when I know I have something decent enough to make people want to look at it. This doesn’t feel like it occurs very much anymore so I decided to take some time to examine some of my doodles and list what I do and don’t like about them.

After the jump, let's pick apart my doodles together!


I like the idea of little windows into scenes that have no frame of reference. The top box is a radiating dome shaped monster of some sort. To the bottom left of him is a tomato on a rigid clock piece vine with some lattice work to the left because I got a phone call and lost where I was going with it. (I wasn’t going anywhere with it) You see, that’s a very difficult image/thought to express unless I tell you EXACTLY what I was thinking about as I was drawing this, which generally takes the fun out of everything. In this case though it might help to know that the little boxes and circles are supposed to be circuitry and the little showerhead in the bottom left corner is raining on a potato in the ground. I like this doodle but when people see it they usually shrug because honestly, it’s not much of anything. I like ideas that aren’t much of anything.


I also love to draw faces. With this drawing in particular I went in so many directions that I didn’t even know what I was doing anymore. When I look at this guy his expression says to me: ‘thanks for the lack of effort on my face. I’m really upset about this’. 
Seriously though, lines on face. Swamp thing with flower brain? Melty Q-tip man. I don’t know about this one, whatever!


I remember that this started out as the checker pattern towards the top. After branching off to the upper left, I put in a small ‘underground’ sewer type place. I drew the little lightbulb screw part beneath that and then worked on the ‘hill’ in the upper right hand corner. I drew a melting hand coming out of that because at that particular moment I really wanted to draw some fingers and then made some line error and decided to draw them melting. I should probably work with pencil more often but I like ink so, so much. I wish I could lick sharpes. I wish it were somehow possible to sharpen or hone them. Ink fantasies. I drew the weird ear and eye next, and went back up to draw a womb of some sort as the ‘bridge’ to the nose. In the lower right hand of the face there are tiny repeated faces. I was thinking of those ‘face/vase’ optical illusions when I drew those. As a whole product though, I mean what the fuck is this. Several people who have looked at it say it’s dirty. Is it because of the womb and the melting hand? What is the shock value in this doodle? I’m not sure. Looking at it though something about it does make it feel kind of off. Do you agree?


I really like this one but the reasons are a little difficult to explain. The lines that I used to make this were very fun to do – there are a lot of patterns and repeated motions that are like hand exercises when you deploy them. I drew this in about five minutes during a webinar at some point and felt really smug about it, despite it not looking particularly impressive. It was fun and the expression on the face says to me that it also thought it was a fun doodle. Stay funky, disembodied head. 


It’s some sort of spider robot in a bear costume. I want to take this thing out back and just punch the holy crap out of it and let me tell you why. I doodled a series of these things while I was brainstorming for cutesy t-shirt ideas with some sort of ‘sinister’ element. I just threw the roulette wheel in my mind and just took some random objects and themes and slammed them together. To be fair, a lot of brainstorming is like that but before during and after these drawings I just felt revulsion. It was like I had eaten a bunch of ideas that didn’t sit well with me and just kind of put them next to each other. Ordinarily, you might not imagine something so harmless as some sort of spider robot in a bear costume would piss someone off, but there you have it. I haven’t erased it because I like to remind myself that sometimes I have ideas that just rile my pets up and I want the noise to cease so I just escort that idea right out onto a ‘scrap page’. Go stew there for a while. You’re still in pencil, so don’t try anything.

These little castoff drawings that are scribbled in margins are usually pretty loaded. The next time you find yourself getting busy on some circles and squares on a bar napkin, let that weird spark that tells you to push it a little further have the controls. Next time you write down a phone number put a little box around it. Put the box in the stomach of a dude eating numbers. Write little notations explaining the parts of your idea that you can’t draw. There isn’t any shame in that. You shouldn’t care if your coworkers or your spouse thinks you’re mad silly for having such scraps lying on your desk. The mind is a caged animal and when you are young, no one has yet told you that it can’t be free. Imagination is really fun and that’s next door to Good-Idea land so don’t feel bad about being seen in the neighborhood. 

Keep drawing happy trees, 

Bob Hancock

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Blogger Wes Jackson said...

I disagree with the "I don't finish" statement. You have a 16 sq ft solid wood piece, completely sealed and gorgeous hovering above your head every night. When something is done....you finish it. You really don't have unfinished projects, their just in the development stage, maturing toward massive, solid work. Big fan.
- Wes

July 5, 2011 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Wes Jackson said...

p.s. Your average Joe don't carry around Microns & Moleskin.

July 5, 2011 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Thanks man :] I'm glad you dig the 'big piece'.

Still yet, I have a lot of projects that won't go anywhere despite how much I finish. I have a monster backlog. I think it's helpful for anyone, almost especially people who don't draw to carry around a notepad and pencil though. Your average joe would probably feel a lot better if they tried to express their thoughts and forgot that they 'couldn't draw' or write, or whatever.

Anybody can do this stuff, verbs speak louder than not drawing your ass off. And arting is a blast anyway

July 5, 2011 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger orphenshadow said...

Who is this Bob guy, and what did you do with Robert.

July 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM  

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