The Sketchbook Challenge: January Theme

January 9, 2012
I am happier than a little puppy dog with two tails to wag to be involved in The Sketchbook Challenge again this year. It’s been a wonderful way to challenge my abilities and to be involved in some small way with your lives and artwork. Sometimes I struggle with a theme – and that’s good. You don’t learn much if you don’t struggle – if you don’t try things that are beyond our current abilities our outside of your comfort zone.

But this month?
I absolutely LOVE this month’s theme!

I doodle ALL the time. 
I have my sketchbook with me pretty much all the time and I tend to have trouble paying close attention to something if I need to sit still. I end up fidgeting enough to bother other people. I seem to listen better if my hands are busy. 
I’ll doodle while I’m waiting for a meeting to start, or during the meeting. During church I pay better attention if I doodle something about what is being said.
I doodle on the airplane or at home or any time I am trying to wait patiently for something or somebody. 
Hey, maybe doodling makes me a better person? Or at least makes me tolerable to be around. I used to simply simmer and fume while I waited for people who were late. Not any more.

So I’m wondering – what is the difference between a doodle and a sketch? I think doodles are time killers, aimless wandering with a pen in hand. But sometimes my doodles are very purposeful. Sometimes they are looking out the window at a crazy little group of Cardinals. But that could be called sketching – maybe trying to capture the essence of the thing you are observing?
Sometimes doodling is playing with a new tool. I’m in love with my japanese brush pen – learning to control the flow of ink and make thick luscious lines or tiny delicate ones with the same tool. Or is that a learning process as I master a new technique?
Sometimes something I see will capture my attention and imagination and I quickly sketch it in. Is it a doodle because it is quick? Or perhaps because it has not end purpose? It’s not necessarily trying to be something.
Sometimes I doodle what I see out my window as I’m talking on the phone. It’s a sketch of a landscape through a window but it’s also killing time so it might be called a doodle. I don’t think it really matters.
What do you think the difference between a doodle and a sketch is?
Does it matter?
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  • Reply
    Jane Prater
    January 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Speaking of terminology–when questioned about my doodling or knitting during meetings or church, I noted that I was a kinesthetic learner, as are most artists and crafters, and could only focus if my hands are moving. This is simply a fact, but I think it was the word kinesthetic that garnered me her approval. I hope she looked it up when she went home.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I think we get hung up on the terminology all the time. If your drawing implement hits the paper, it's all grist for the art mill and it doesn't matter what you call it. It's all part of the process of your art and necessary to you. Call it whatever makes you happy–just keep doing it!!!

  • Reply
    January 10, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I couldn't help it I had to go look up the definitions. I'd say you're pretty close.
    doodle–to draw or scribble idly
    sketch– a simple or hastily done drawing/painting giving essential features without details.
    Can a sketch become a doodle, like your birds for example if you happen to be doing it sort of mindlessly while chatting? I might think no, but then to doodle is to draw or scribble, so perhaps.
    Tricky question.

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