06 December, 2011

From doodle to design

Recently I was asked where I get all my ideas from.  In all honesty, I don't know, but I suspect everywhere.  Sometimes I will wake up and remember dreaming new ideas, sometimes something will spring into my head when studying something in nature or when I see a combination of colours that really speak to me.  I always wish I had a photographic memory to capture those moments to play back later.  But I don't.

But I do like to doodle.  It was quite recently, when feeling a bit under the weather and not really feeling up to doing much except listen to an audio book (yes, Doctor Who for those who know me well) and doodling, that I came up with a motif, if you will, that I have been using quite a lot in my work lately.  I often draw flowers, and I was trying to come up with a new way of doing them: somewhere between a paisley design and a mandala (both favourite doodle subjects of mine).  This is what I came up with.
Initially I was drawing on scrap paper, but I liked the look of these flowers, so I cut them out, added them to my sketch book and expanded on the design.  As I was doing this, it struck me how fantastic these flowers would look as owl eyes.   And more doodling was done.

 I have always liked adding a lot of detail to things -scales and feathers, and it struck me how fun it would be to create these psychedelic looking owls with their crazy eyes and detail of the feathers.  I had already been working with using fabric to create painted animals, so I went for that, scaling things down a bit.
 I started by painting the owls, but found I couldn't get the same detail in the eyes as I had with my flower doodles.
 So out came the sharpie collection to add detail to the eyes and the rest of the body.
 Every owl is, in a way, a doodle.  I play around with how I do the eyes, the feathers and the expressions.
My first lot were pretty similar, but I find it hard to bog out the same thing over and over again, so with my second batch, I ended up with all kinds of different facial expressions and wing positions; each owl has its own personality.

 It then occurred to me that the same motif could be used as a Christmas decoration- half way between a flower and a snowflake.  So I carved a stamp and my Christmas tags were born.  I love how these look on my tree.

 And from that idea, sprung another - bird ornaments, using a hand carved bird stamp, tweaking the design slightly: Can you see the "flower" on the eye area?

So keep up the doodling- you never know where it might take you.  I am sure that there is something in doing things "mindlessly" that lets us connect to our subconscious.  That super sneaky part of the brain that collects so much information and plots and schemes away ideas behind our backs (so to speak).  Finding a way to connect to that lets all those ideas you didn't even know you had come streaming out.  And doodling is one way to do that.


  1. My favourite is the winking owl, but they are all so cute. xxx mum

  2. beautiful... Imagine someone finding that sketchbook long after you are gone... what a treasure!

  3. They are making me think of Islamic decoration - perhaps something to be explored here. Do Moslems decorate trees??
    Maggie XXXX


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