Design & Doodle

By Carolyn Belefski

A few weeks ago I led the Design & Doodle Workshop during DC Design Week. The event was hosted by AIGA DC, General Assembly, and DC Fem Tech. Only 25 people could attend and the registration sold out in less than a day. Even the wait list was sold out, so I knew the attendees were paying close attention to the design community and that means people are craving this type of creativity. 

After introductions, I talked about doodling techniques and showed the attendees some warm up hand exercises to get loose. I have two main hand exercises – one I call finger taps and the other is more wrist based I call CM Punk. Oftentimes, I believe designers are stiff and it's an experience I've had to overcome and am constantly working on. Not only are we sitting at desks for ten hours a day staring at a screen, but we sometimes work under rigid guidelines and dun dun dun... the horrible (not so horrible) grid!

Only one of the attendees had decided to draw digitally, but the others brought their own supplies of drawing tools and paper. After our decision about drawing, I learned that there was some interest in drawing apps, but most people felt like drawing with physical objects was the way to go. I mostly do linework on paper, then scan, and color digitally with a tablet. 

A few years ago I did a project called Sketch Before Sleep where I drew each night for 365 days. All of those sketches were done digitally. I showed a film clip of all the Sketch Before Sleep sketches. I had not shown the film since a presentation on creativity in 2011 at the GV Expo, but it's now available online here.

The two prompts I gave at Design & Doodle were selecting two words from my "Inspiration Owl" and showing the vintage novelty doodle pad from David Jablow's Do It Yourself Doodler Project. Free issues of Magic Bullet #9 (a comics anthology I edited) and postcards promoting my comic strip "Curls" were given out as well.

The rest of the evening was spent doodling and several of the attendees showed me their sketches and had one-on-one talks with me about their drawing skills. It was great to meet some new faces and also recap with Anthony and Mila from my days on the AIGA DC Board of Directors. Thanks to everyone who attended the event and thanks to ROI for letting me leave work a bit earlier!