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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Exercise 3.5

Free Association

This is an exercise I can get behind! It was such a change of tone to the unit and one that I wish could be explored further. Having spent a lot of the time running around outside trying to draw things I'm not feeling confident at, sitting back and relaxing with no pressure or direction in what to draw, this was a welcomed break.

I have recently felt drawn towards the fluid, flowing liquid like drawings. It feels really relaxing to let the pen flow around the page creating organic shapes. What I found to be most satisfying is the colouring in process. It was something I could return to whenever I had the opportunity, and whilst keeping the technique of colouring the same it meant my mind could switch off. Very much a therapeutic exercise.

Moving from page to page I was even able to introduce colour. Using acrylic I spent some time filling in the patterns, this was incredibly satisfying and very much set me in to a meditative state. the page to the right says "never ending" - a feeling I have to the nightmare in society and the world right now.

Often, the page doodles whilst busy working, or on the phone, or in a meeting, starts with a line. I tried this on another page and decided to let the line continue. I created a maze of lines which never seems to end. As well as creating the organic shapes, the maze style is something that requires no thinking at all and can continue until the space is full.

I had a go at just drawing an image. I started with a face and then out came a character stuck in between a flame and a liquid, both carrying an expression of good and bad (kind of). Not being fixated on making a perfect render of the elements, the drawing became a subconscious experience of how I sometimes feel conflicted during the every day, albeit drawn in a very mainstream way with the two forms at the ears of the middle person.

Given the nature of this to be a doodle, the next double page spread went in a completely direction to the above images. I started with a motif as mentioned in the brief, which for some reason was a simplistic skull, it lead to scribbles in the shape of flowers (supposed to be roses) and then the page grew from there! Now having an almost clear my mind, I moved to the next page and just built on a drawing, feature by feature not knowing where it was really going. At one stage I thought maybe a weird rat, no idea why. Started with a big hunchback hump and continue down to create the ears and nose. With no reference, it was quite refreshing just doodling from imagination.

I like the quote from the exercise "Doodling is a more automatic process - you draw

without being self conscious." During the difficult times of lockdowns, restrictions and a general lack of freedom, a simple practise such as doodling is great alternative to escape rather than the hours wasted seeing other people be productive online. It has been a dreadful trap during the past year and slowly has squashed my own personal creativity. Having this exercise reminds me to sit back and be in yourself, rather than being overly influenced by everyone else. I'd like to think I will continue to do doodle and perhaps discover my own natural style, subject that I find fun to draw. All of the above was really satisfying work that I will definitely explore further.

I often think about how influence seems to be around us 24-7, and with that being the case, how do you trust your own ideas? Are they really your own or is because you saw it somewhere and really liked it? Is that how artists find their own style? By seeing what they like and creating a hybrid that fits their own aesthetic? It just seems that everything has been thought of, and with social media being the trap that it is, what is your own?

The amazing take away from this exercise is the need to reconnect with yourself. I will do my best to continue the art of doodles, and perhaps find my own voice in the process.


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