Doodling :: some new journal covers

Post-craft-fair recovery all done, and this was the first quiet day of my new life as a self-employed bookbinder and artist! I threw myself into the pursuit of my creative vision by binding eight text blocks and painting some new journal covers.

I start work on a large piece of primed artist’s canvas…this one will produce nine journal covers when it’s done. I roughly paint in a grid showing the size of each journal cover, just as a guide—without this guide I tend to put the best parts of my drawing right on a boundary line between two covers, and lose all that hard work when the canvas is cut and the 1-inch margin is folded over and hemmed!

With a fine-point Sharpie I just doodle all over the canvas, crossing over the guidelines and changing themes and patterns as I go. I put on Radiohead, turn the volume up, push my chair out of the way (it’s uncomfortable but I always seem to do this drawing bit standing up, bending over my desk…)

These sea anemones display radial symmetry. (P...
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t overthink this stage, I really am just doodling: I see a face in a fashion magazine, I draw it…I give her a sad-looking wing…then I flip a plant book open and draw some flowers…add vines…get out the indispensable Ernst Haeckel‘s Kunstformen der Natur and add fungus or jellyfish patterns…then I copy the arabesques on a curtain…then I draw teardrops and cloud shapes…words…a piece of lace…anything goes! I go deep into and get lost in the drawing, and it’s one of the nicest places that I know.

Sure I make mistakes, dozens and dozens of them. But I can always paint them over later, so I don’t stress too much about getting it right, beyond making sure that I’m not drawing something truly fabulous right smack on the line where four covers converge!

One thing I did regret today was using a Sharpie marker to draw the basic shapes for a bit of lace that I was planning on drawing in fine lines of white ink…I should know by now (yes, I’ve done this several times before! Doh!) that the marker shows through the ink. Darn! I have gone over and over and over the lines with white paint—sometimes ruining the fine lines of the drawing—but to no avail; they continue to come through. *sigh*

I’m not a perfectionist, which means that I won’t throw this piece away and start over…I’ll push forward and use it anyway, it looks okay when not under a macro lens! But I must, must, must remember to use a light pencil next time!

I really enjoyed drawing this bit of lace! The kind of insanely detailed mark-making that is my favorite sort of meditation—the madness and the cure, together in one.

Speaking of which, how awesome would it be to draw on a huge sheet of black paper in white lacy patterning?

*and with a mad glint in her eye, she logs off…*


4 thoughts on “Doodling :: some new journal covers

  1. I’ve checked out the Haeckel link, and those plates are gorgeous! I can definitely see his influence in some of your older journals; the ones you made before leaving for OZ come to mind. I seem to remember a small seashell necklace journal among that batch. I wanted one of the small square illustrated ones, but they were all out by the time I got the funds together. LOL! 🙂


  2. I love the lace patterns, Nat! Wish I could draw freehand as well as you do. Yet another thing to keep practicing. 🙂

    I also love the sea anemones photo, and I can’t wait to see how it inspired your doodling. 🙂


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