How a doodle reconnects an artist to her past and her present and unleashes a body of work.
As far back as I can remember, I have been obsessed with doodling. In fact, I doodled all the time. Any blank surface was an open invitation to scribble, create and daydream — unchartered territory. Paper napkins were a big favorite, and a paper restaurant tablecloth… positively irresistible. The margins of my school notebooks were always filled with fanciful little sketchings. And I must admit, not much has changed.
All of this doodling seemed to organically awaken a love of art in all forms within me.
Initially, drawing and painting became my focus. After attending art school in Colorado, I fully intended to return to New York where I would launch a wildly lucrative career as a fashion illustrator. But as often is the case, my path had a few other twists and turns and led me in different directions.
However, I did remain rooted in the art world, but just not as an ‘artist’. I actually jumped to the other side of the fence creating a boutique agency managing the careers of other talented artists, mainly photographers and illustrators. During those years my own art took a back seat.
I became what I call a ‘weekend artist’ painting watercolor landscapes for pleasure.
But all the while I was running my business — negotiating contracts, developing budgets, organizing photo shoots — there was always a computer in front of me and a mound of paper right beside me where I continued to doodle about the margins. And I still do the same today, all these years later.
Follow the doodle.
I have come to realize that the doodle has never really gotten its fair share of respect. Doodles are always misconstrued as fluff and have never been considered serious art. But for me they have always been the thread that kept me connected to my childhood imagination. That very thread, albeit stretched and a bit worn out, held onto the passions of my artistic soul.
For this I am truly grateful — because when I am creating, I am alive. And something is alive within me.
Which brings me to this series of ink-on-paper drawings I call the BE Cards. The little character who appears on these cards came out of nowhere one afternoon as I was working away at my computer (while simultaneously doodling in my notepad of course). Suddenly I realized I was drawing this little character over and over in all kinds of different situations. S/he was literally coming to life as if leaping from the page.
My imagination had taken off just like it had when I was a child skipping about. Endless streams of inspiration, quotes and ideas flowed forth. I captioned the drawings with titles like Be Joyous, Be Curious, Be Balanced — and then I closed my notepad and put them away. Afterall they were just doodles.
That was two years ago.
Today we are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-quarantining and ‘social-distancing’ are the order of the day. But there is opportunity to be seized. In the quiet of having much of my everyday life and routine stripped away, I returned to my notebook and dusted off my doodlings. I felt called to revisit my little character and this unfinished body of work. And what a joyous homecoming it has been. S/he would not rest and continued to call to me.
In the last few weeks this humble doodle has developed into a whimsical character imparting simple yet powerful messages.
BE A FRIEND
Above all BE KIND
In the meantime, quarantine or no quarantine…
I urge you to do the same in your own life. Explore something that may have been left behind…
A part of yourself that will joyously come back to life and fill you yet again. Seize the chance to set your own creativity free in whatever form that may be. BE your Best Self. And remember to follow your doodle…
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