Friday, June 16, 2017

Digital Doodles

Sometime when academic meetings got boring over the years, I doodled my way through. Although fiddling with drawings during meetings might seem inattentive, I never found it so. Now it turns out that research confirms that doodling is a good thing at least according to one small project. The researchers studied artists and non-artists and found that doodling is not only pleasurable but seems to unlock creativity. That was true for me, in meetings anyway. Doodling actually didn't mean I wasn't paying attention to what was being said; drawing engaged a different part of my mind. It made the meetings go more quickly, too.

Nowadays I have to attend fewer meetings but doodling is still an important spontaneous activity. The urge to draw often gets the better of me. Sometimes as I page through news sites in the morning an an idea surfaces or an image strikes me, and I'm off into doodleville. A number of those doodles do become part of my morning drawings. Most are consigned to the recycle bin. I've posted a few doodles in the past, both virtual and tangible, and here are a few more. These are digital doodles.

The first one, right, was done using Sketchbook. I used the "dip pen" tool first, added whites using a tool that simulates the texture and look of Conte crayon and then another that imitates an airbrush. The subject is a news photo of the fellow in Kansas who killed a man from India whom he mistook for a Muslim. The low angle of viewing, unusual lighting and his somehow malign but unreadable expression all attracted me. In doing this small digital sketch I was also mindful of it being a bit of a caricature too.

Speaking of attacks, the next is from another horrific episode. Not too long ago three men attacked crowds on London Bridge by driving a van through them at speed, then slashing and stabbing people.
The young woman in this image was there but escaped injury. She was interviewed later on one of the television feeds--perhaps BBC--where I happened on her. Her expression hovered between pain and a kind of bemusement at her escape, which was the attraction of the image. In color she has a rather ginger complexion, as the British call it, with auburn hair and fair skin. I used the pencil tool in Sketchbook plus a red-brown color to make this drawing. Seems to me she looks amused, in an odd way, but also as if she might burst into tears.

Many times an image in a movie or television video moves the doodler inside, so much so that I stop the program to draw and study the image and the cinematographer's composition. That's what I did with this head of a woman, taken from a movie I streamed online. I can't remember the film, but it must have been set in the 1930s, given her hat. Here again Sketchbook was the drawing program, but I used a redder color for the pencil tool and pushed the chroma on the lip. Since the central face was the only point of the drawing I left her hair, hat, and remainder of it unfinished.

Finally here's one more head, this time a man, drawn from an online video still using Sketchbook. The subject was a university professor, I think. The angle and lighting were particularly interesting and prompted the sketch. Here the result is reminiscent of something by Lucien Freud, seems to me, although that wasn't the intent. 

Doodling is amazingly simple with digital programs, even those using a desktop computer, like Sketchbook. I'm going to concentrate on the various iPad programs this summer, primarily because of portability. I've already mentioned a number of iPad programs that will come in for trial. More in later posts.
Related Posts
Digital Delving
Digital Sketching

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