“Shapes and forms against the norm….” – Grand Designs by Rush
Okay, this isn’t strictly paper engineering but I do reference my doodles as inspiration for the boxes and some of my pop-up designs. So I thought as I am about to embark on a major doodle project, I would take the photos and show how the picture evolves and in doing so give an indication of how my mad mind works.
So whats the project. We have not had a living room fire for ages, taken out by an overzealous heating engineer. We have had a screen there awaiting someday a fireplace or a bit of furniture. We then thought a picture but couldn’t find something we liked or was big enough to cover the gap, so the screen stayed in place. In the last month we made another search, and after falling short again. I was persuaded I should just do it and create something for the space.
So I have purchased three box stretched canvases, to create a triptych of doodles. The canvases each measure 90cm x 30cm and are by far the biggest thing I have ever doodled. I am using a fine point blue Sharpie pen for the first canvas, the others will be red and purple. I am not sure how this is going to go, but will talk about the process session by session.
Session 1 – Where to start? It is interesting watching people trying to identify my start point on one of these pictures. It is logical to look at the top or bottom and try to trace a path of boxes. This usually leads nowhere. In fact i always start in a similar place, on the X axis (from left to right) about a third across and on the Y axis (2 thirds up). Have a look at the first session picture and you will find a small box with an arched window. Usually the first thing is a simple shape, usually a box, which sets the tone and importantly the perspective that the doodle will be. This forms the first easy links and begins the madness.
Session 2 – Which way to go? I always head downwards and sideways. I start connecting cubes, oblong boxes, pyramids, staircases and sometimes the odd sphere/cone/column. Boxes start to evolve, some have chunks taking out, some have windows or tunnels and some grow attachments. Some link making complete sense others are chaotically joined impossibly to the mass. The doodle takes a life of its own with every box adding a new direction and structure.
Session 3 – Promotion to the front. Generally boxes are behind their previous drawn shape, which gives the doodle a multilayer look. A lot of boxes inadvertently get hidden, so sometimes it is important to place a structure out on its own. Drawn in its own space, I start to rebuild around it linking it to the whole.
Session 4 – Feint downwards. By fourth session, I am so absorbed in the doodle I haven’t noticed that the fine liner pen is starting to blunt. Drawing onto canvas is taking its toll with lines becoming thicker, darker and less crisp. A decision is made to purchase a new pen, but to give the picture depth and continuity, I will use the original pen till I reach the bottom.
Session 5 – A solid base. The bottom of virtually all my doodles are very similar. The standard and unusual boxes pile down the page onto a secure footing made up of a line of interlocking boxes. Every so often an interloper appears, on this doodle, for some reason, I have drawn a small tower on the right hand side.
Session 6 – Deep Breath. Once the base is complete, there is only one way to go – Upwards. With new fine liner in hand, I look nervously at what I am about to do. The doodle to this point has had a flow, with boxes and structures evolving downwards. the distribution, weighting and complexity changes as you draw. Now starting afresh, trying to get into the mindset of when I started, I put pen to canvas and destroy the skyline I have learnt to love for the last 5 sessions. This is now just a middle part of an important task of building a platform for the last important element.
Session 7 – Aiming for the sky. So far the doodle looks slightly abstract but to be honest Im a suppressed architect at heart. There are indications of reality with doorways and windows which have always made my doodles look like overcrowded cityscapes. After the last few boxes, I get to the point of drawing high towers reaching to the top of the canvass, this coupled with a couple of pitched roofs adds to the design. The final touch is to fill the gaps of canvas with a smattering of platonic solids, in this case spheres.
So the doodle is finished, Im quite pleased but as always I know where the mistakes are. It took 4 hours (ish) in total which isn’t too bad but with still two more canvasses to go. I better get building