Monday, January 23, 2012

Confession time


Susan Brubaker Knapp here. Okay, it’s confession time. Doodling does not come naturally to me. I have never done it. When I sit down at my sketchpad, I like to work in a pretty realistic way. Like the fish (a Blackbelly Rockfish, to be exact) above.

Or this Indian Scad:



Yes, I do have a bit of a fish obsession going right now. I’ll admit that, too. When this month’s theme was announced, I inwardly groaned. As a teenager in a boring class at school, I didn’t doodle. I focused on taking extremely detailed notes in beautiful printing, with perfect margins and bullet points. In different ink colors. Yes, I know … I am a freak.

I looked at the girls in my class who were drawing curlicues and hearts and (here’s another confession coming) I thought they were pretty silly.

And then I had an epiphany. I really am wound tight. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I need to loosen up a bit. Maybe working with such tight control all the time is not healthy. Maybe trying something new would be good. Maybe I would even like it. Maybe.

While I was pondering all this, I drew another fish. A Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel, to be exact. I sketched first in pencil, erasing lines, refining lines, until I got things right. Then I inked my drawing. 


And while I was working with such precision, I wondered if it would be a valuable exercise to work outside my normal style. Artists spend lots of time developing their “voice” or signature style or look. It is what allows us to identify a Picasso as a Picasso or a Monet as a Monet, even if we have never seen that particular piece of art before. We try to build “a body of work” that is consistent, that demonstrates our signature style. If you work hard to do this, and if you create a ton of art, it usually happens. Most artists work consistently during their lifetimes in this one style, rarely wandering off their path.

But is this a good thing? And since it is called The Sketchbook Challenge, didn’t I owe it to the group to accept the challenge, to take the dare? Maybe it would take me in a whole new wonderful direction! Yes, I decided. Yes!  So I sat down to doodle (you guessed it) a fish. Here he is:


And I kind of like him.

16 comments:

  1. Nice work Susan. I am also a sort of uptight doodler but we are very nice girls! I have left a couple of doodles on my blog at rtquilter.blogspot.com

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  2. I'm a doodler. But I always admired artists who have focus and vision about their style. I think that is a good thing, but I also think it is good to loosen up and let go. I like all your fishes. Each is distinct, but the last one definitely looks like he's having a good time. :D

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  3. Your fish are amazing! I just found your blog and I am enjoying your posts.

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  4. Ah! Thank you! I am not a doodler ... never have been. When I discovered zentangles I thought I might become one ... well, kind of. I don't do it mindlessly ... in fact I have to get every line exactly placed correctly ... sigh. Problem is, I can't really draw realistically either, lol. But I try.

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  5. This is toooo funny and soooo timely! Just yesterday I finally got my act together to get something to post to the flickr site. I'm not much of a doodler either...or rather it has always been the same doodle...a pyrimid of stacked boxes and all the different ways I could decorate them! I tried to go outside the boxes (I'll post a photo) and felt like it was the same-old, same-old....so I checked out the Zentangle blog and my eyes were opened to the patterns....that's all I needed...nothing wrong with stacked boxes....I just needed patterns!!
    I'm sooooo happy that January's challenged helped me opem my eyes a bit!!:)

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  6. Love your fishes! I'm not a doodler either, and as a mostly self-taught sketcher, it took me lots of practice to be able to produce a correctly proportioned drawing. I much prefer to do careful drawings ass I think that's a more enjoyable use of my time. That being said, sometimes my drawings are too tight and precise causing my hand to be shaky. That's when you know it's time to loosen up a bit. Great post!

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  7. LOVE all your fish - the last one is just plain cute. The sketched fish are very fine. I, too, am not much of a doodler preferring to get right to work on the real thing. My sketches and drawings always contain many erasures as I refine each line. We all have our own style!

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  8. Your doodle fish made me smile. It's always fun to allow ourselves the freedom to play.

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  9. I am admitting that as much as I try, I am not a doodler and I do NOT enjoy it. I posted one doodle for this challenge and have been keeping a page going in my journal, of various doodling. I just do not enjoy it. I am anxious for the month to be over for a different challenge. There, I said it.

    Love your fish, by the way!

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  10. Love your doodle fish! Thanks for sharing the back story.

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  11. I like your fish but my favorite is the loose fun one. I really like it. Good job.
    Linda

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  12. Thanks for sharing beatifull.sorry for my englis com from holland

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  13. I love your fish. All of them! But the last one does indeed call out 'fun'. Julie

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  14. I get the not being a doodler. Much as I've tried to do the zendoodles, it gives me a headache and cramped up hands every time. Your "doodle" fish is fun, I quite like the fish that you worked in your own style tho.

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  15. Fish-Licious. Love your doodles.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  16. Well the drawings are spectacular! I love that you got out of your box. It is encouraging to everyone! I'll take a page out of your book (ha)

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