Creature for the Day Jan 3, 2011

creature for january 3, 2011I had someone ask me yesterday how I get my ideas for my daily doodles. The simple answer is I don’t know.

When I first started doing the Daily Doodle Challenge back in June 2009, I was at a loss for what to do, so I grabbed a how to draw book and did the lessons in there. This worked out fine until the section where it instructed me to go out and draw people. Big road block there. See, I am a studio artist. There aren’t a lot of places to go and actually SEE people let alone draw them. Not unless I want to make a trip out of it and travel into one of the larger towns closer to St, Louis, which would pretty much defeat the purpose of a warm up doodle done quickly in less than 30 minutes.

So I started to just decorate the dates themselves. But after a few weeks, I got bored with that. Then I had the bright idea to work on emotions in faces. I went out and got a book with a thousand faces in photographic reference. That kept my attention for a long time. Eventually, drawing only faces started to lose its appeal as well. I drew goats. I emulated Art Nouveau masters works, I tried to draw feet. That failed miserably.

My current theme is creatures, all brought about from an off-handed comment by several of my critique partners about how we couldn’t seem to draw scary and fierce creatures. I set myself the task of discovering what makes something look scary. I still land on the side of cute and cuddly most days, but there have a been a few downright mean looking creatures since I began this study in December.

I decide to focus on a theme based on what I want to improve a skill set for. Things I’ve found challenging in my “real” work. Ideas to help me with my next assignment or to ramp up a particular area of my portfolio I feel might be lacking.

The whole point of these doodles is that they be fun, free expression with no pressure to make them portfolio worthy. They are the artistic equivalent of singing scales before jumping into the real work of the day. Stretching muscles in preparation of the coming run. So I just scribble and enjoy watching what evolves off the end of my pen. Like I did as a child before all this became a job and “important” and “meaningful.” The doodles help me remember why I wanted to be an artist in the first place. They connect me with myself so I am balanced and ready to face another day at the drafting table.

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