Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beyond Zentangles! Extreme Doodling, my newest obsession

Early extreme doodle Pieces from my work bench. You can see the fun
use of just black and white.

Oh boy, just what I need: another compulsive thing to do! I am newly infatuated with something I call extreme doodling. Extreme Doodles are sort of like "zentangles," but without the structure, specific steps or instructions (yuck!).

black & white
All of the possibilities of design can be explored within the limits of black and white. Black and white design is the foundation, the beginning of all design. It's also a very exciting place to play-- both with doodles and with polymer!

My creative obsession with lines and black and white patterns began when I started working with black and white "canes" in polymer clay. Polymer caning is where design with polymer often starts, just as a two-dimensional design might start with a doodle. In caning, sheets of clay and long pieces are combined into a single "cane," which can then be lengthened and sliced into thin sheets. Canes can also be combined with even more canes to create ever more complex and beautiful designs.

Polymer clay artists like myself have an almost infinite array of colors to choose from-- and as you know, I love color! Yet in black and white design, we find that the reversal of figure/ground, the black line in white background-- and then the reverse-- is so very fascinating. In extreme doodling, it's all about exploration.
Extreme doodling 

Try it yourself! There are no rules!
  • All you need to start is a light sharp pencil, white paper and fine markers. Sometimes I start with a border. It can be wavy like the first example, or straight.
  • I then let my mind wander a bit to shapes I like and that come naturally to me. Just like doodling. I then plan out a little bit to arrange what I think will be the most dynamic composition. Play a little with shape and size. Big verses little. Dark verses light. I tend to like things that are organic and sea-like. I also favor links, as in chain links. These are components in my jewelry making and come somewhat naturally to me.
  • Think about what comes naturally to you or that you find appealing. Remember to let it flow -- there are no rules. The possibilities are endless.

Very ocean-inspired. Plant life.

Floating pods.


After you give it a go, I would love to see what you have come up with. If you create an "extreme doodle" of your own, send it to and I'll put your doodle on the blog!

I am looking forward to adding a little watercolor to my drawings at some point, and maybe trying some colored fine tip markers.


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