Thursday, 21 January 2016

Why thinking (and doodling) like a kid might just give your brain the creative kickstart it needs - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

There's a bit of an artistic revolution kicking off on two fronts on Twitter at the moment. The idea isn't a particularly new one, but it's becoming an obsession with us here at ReadItDaddy, and I comfortably predict that it could also become one for you too.

Daily doodle challenges are ten a penny on Twitter (our own dismal attempts to kick one off resulted in abject failure, alas but there are so many others to choose from you're never short of inspiration). Wholly embracing the philosophy that the more you draw the better you get, random subjects are suggested by Tweeters for others to join in and show off their own artistic interpretations of.

Most of the time, the doodle challenges are relatively straightforward, suggesting famous (or not so famous) pop culture icons, literary characters or even mythological creatures (@sketch_dailies and the now sadly defunct @Daily__Doodle).

Other doodle challenges encourage you to splash on a bit of colour. The hugely successful @Clr_Collective #Colour_Collective Twitter stream attracts artists great and small, pro and amateur alike to come up with truly dazzling works of art every Friday at 7.30PM GMT.

But lately we've become attracted to the more esoteric challenges. Finish the Scriblle (#3yroldscribble - see the header image for an example) has just released its 46th challenge, based on the scribble of a tiny teeny, this random stroke challenges you to 'see' something in the scribble and turn it into a fully fledged work of art.

The personal challenge for us (both Charlotte and I take part, Charlotte has just started joining in and is horribly addicted to seeing how many more "likes" her art can get compared to mine! The shape of things to come? Ack!) is to think outside the box. Sometimes the shape suggests something fairly obvious, but the real mind-bending challenge is to think up something completely 'out there' but rigidly using that stroke without blurring the original image too much so you can't see where the original lines are or your art work is.

Did you see a drummer in #46 above? Then you're as weird as I am!

I choose to leave the original image as 'intact' as possible in each case, which is fun, and sometimes it does result in the weirdest body shapes and final results. 

As a keen amateur, I rely heavily on the 'happy accident' when I'm drawing or painting. Sometimes if I'm ready to produce a piece of work and I'm not working from references, I'll randomly dig or swipe at the page with my pencil to see what emerges and quite often those 'happy accidents' turn into something more meaningful. Taking part in the random doodle challenges really does help this process immensely. 

The latest contender to join in with issuing daily art challenges is the mighty and mondo Sarah McIntyre. Sarah, a professional illustrator and writer, has taken the idea of a random image challenge and given it a particularly neat twist...

So what do you see above? A weird pineapple? Woodstock eating an amoeba?

A simple outline and a red dot, and very sparse rules make this challenge really fun. Sarah is always hugely encouraging about the art that's posted, doubly so when kids join in! Here's one of Charlotte's brilliant interpretations of a tricky shape...

Charlotte's skipping monster, really nice use of the shape and the right angle in the corner
Creative thinking and doodling isn't for everyone, but it's been ace to see a lot of folk who claim no artistic ability joining in and coming up with brilliant images. It's very addictive and fun, and the best part of all is that little art communities spring up around these challenges, and folk are hugely positive and encouraging using Twitter to provide almost instant feedback and appraisal of your work. 

Of course, some folk might feel outclassed by the various professional artists and illustrators who somehow find time during their busy schedules to 'show us how it's done' but again, they're such lovely folk that you can't help but be dazzled by what they come up with. 

Come along, join in, and take up the art challenge in 2016!