I love to doodle when I write. I like how the words and the visuals interact, and it thrills me when I subconsciously end up creating something that reflects what I’m writing about. I’m not entirely sure how to make it happen. Maybe it’s a kind of meditation… It works best when I don’t try to force anything in particular. Sometimes I draw towards a feeling, if that makes sense?
I try not to worry too much about the “quality” of what I end up creating. Some of my artistic heroes have a style I admire that looks childish (Lynda Barry, Shel Silverstein, Jim Henson, Roger Hargreaves, amongst others). But to me it looks like the style of people who still remember how to see magic in the world. So I try not to worry when I stray from symmetry and balance too far, and trust that it’ll turn out okay.
I love drawing patterns. Patterns please the part of me that can’t stop looking for them. And colors can be so thrilling…like static shock, like a really perfect piece of chocolate. When the artistic stars align, I can imagine creatures squeezed into the shapes and empty spaces. Illuminating my own manuscripts…I suppose I’m my own scribe, letting my imagination inhabit the margins.
I learned to doodle from my mom. She doodled on everything when she was on the phone: napkins, envelopes, pages of the phone book, and rarely, a notebook or pad of paper. Hers were mostly geometric, always in just the color of the pen or pencil she had handy. The repeating simplicity was mesmerizing. They feel like treasures, when I come across one. I think I draw similar patterns when she’s on my mind.
I think the creatures come from the same the same kind of space, mentally speaking, as her doodles did. Unconscious, unexpected, squeezed into the shapes of the paper and corners already on the page. It feels like life. Growth. The potential to move and change after you look away.