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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Doodle

What is doodling? It’s playing with your pen on paper. You can’t do it wrong.

What are the “secrets” of doodling?

1. Pencil-in first—You can always erase. Even if you don’t follow your pencil lines exactly, you’ll have a better end product. Soft, number 2 lead is best. 2. Create a shape--Use pre-cut shapes such as templates for a more controlled outcome. Pencil around the shapes—and then use ink. Wobbly lines look great! You can also trace around the outside of chipboard letters or inside any negative shape from a punch.
3. Add filler—These are the doodles within doodles that fill up the empty spaces. Start a collection of fillers, covering enough space so you can see how they look, how much density and visual weight they have. I suggest you put this collection in a small notebook, preferably one with blank pages. You can also keep samples and clippings in the notebook for reference.
4. Consider visual balance—If you have too much fill or too much thickness at one end of a shape, your doodle might not look “right.” Give your work the squinch test: Squinch your eyes nearly closed and look at your work. You’ll see what stands out and what looks right.
5. Use pens in differing thicknesses—This’ll give you variety in the filler and the outlines. But…please note that some inks smear. The best pens for doodling seem to be the Sakura Micron and the Zig markers. Let them dry a few minutes first before adding any color. Flair markers make a lovely line, but…they definitely smear. So read # 6 and # 7 carefully.
6. Scan your doodles before you add color—Once you do, you can add any color you want. If the color smears, or isn’t to your liking, simply print out your scan and start over.
7. Thicken or extend depth—Thicken some of your lines, or add background, or add a “drop shadow” (Best done AFTER you color in your doodle and let the color dry.)
8. Cut it up—If you cut out your doodles, you’ll have more control over them. You can always cut away parts that aren’t as pretty as you’d like. Also, if you doodle several of the same letters, you can cut out the ones you like and leave behind those that aren’t as satisfactory. Use a fresh blade in your craft knife and cut out the CENTER of your letters first. Instead of a cutting mat, cut on a glass surface. (I use an old kitchen cutting board of tempered glass. The self-healing mat surfaces are often uneven, and your knife can get caught in the “scars.”)
9. Practice! Here are a few ideas to try:
* Doodle a phrase inside a box—This will force you to alternate shapes and sizes of lettering to make the phrase fit.
* Snuggle the letters up to each other so they nearly touch—or fit one letter almost inside the other.
* Trace around a photo and doodle a frame! Cut out the inside and put the photo behind your frame.
* Outline a border on a die cut or a punched embellishment.

Here's a list of great resources with examples of doodling:

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