I spent much of high school and college doodling in notebook margins, inside binder covers and occasionally on tabletops. Said doodles sometimes featured objects or characters (one memorable Latin class was illustrated by a classic rendering of the sacrifice of Iphigenia, for example), but most were composed of geometric patterns, ranging from simple shapes to fairly intricate designs. Somehow (cue misunderstood artist whining) I could never quite convince my teachers that I was paying attention to whatever they were saying despite the doodling. Well, scratch that "despite"; the thing was that doodling helped me concentrate better on the lessons, because it kept the part of my brain that's obsessed with patterns occupied and out of my way, so to speak. Yes, that's weird. What can I say, call me an asparagus and I'll tend to agree.
Over time my doodling led me to experiment with textures, shadows and different drawing tools. It probably also helped develop my eye for small details and sense of proportion (graphically speaking only -- sadly, it has done nothing to diminish my tendency for hyperbole in speech and writing).
If nothing else, that gave me a valuable edge in college for everything that involved technical drawing -- histological slides, anatomy of bugs, you name it, I can draw it. (But not people -- unless you're 100 microns tall or have antennae, no, I can't do your portrait.)
These days I don't have much to draw by hand -- even for work, I either make schematics on the computer (Adobe Illustrator, I love youuuuuuuuu) or take pictures of my bacteria with the microscope camera. I miss doodling. I can still doodle at seminars and conferences, but it's not enough. I need more.
So I've undertaken The One Doodle To Rule Them All. Showing what, you ask?
Premise nº1 : I love maps. I have a poster of a world map (showing altitude levels) but it looks a bit crap now because it got unstuck one night and my ambulatory document shredder (Gus the Mighty Chinchilla of Doom) chomped through a sizeable chunk of the Pacific Ocean.
Premise nº2 : My bedroom wall is just about the right size for a cylindrical projection of the Earth.
Hypothesis : That's like, Fate, dude.
Thus was born the incredibly creatively titled "World Map Mural Project". I'll be documenting its progress over time with pictures on this blog, and the whole lot of them will be grouped in my Picasa web album here. As it stands now I've set up a grid of longitudes and latitudes covering the whole world, and used it to pencil in the outline of all major bodies of land. I've refined the outlines of Europe and Africa, and am currently hard at work on Asia. It's a tricky bugger, as most other European would-be emperors have noticed at some point or another.
Don't wish me luck -- send me pencils, paint or gift cards for Blick's Art Materials ;-)