hand-doodled background textures


After drawing ‘twist’ for illustration friday, i got quite caught up in the micro-doodling as background shading/texture idea. I think that next i am going to make one that is big enough to be my background image.

Also, i find that doodling like this is a great way to warm up. Somewhere i read, or heard that it takes 15 minutes to fully ‘switch gears’ in your brain. So, when i sit down to draw something, i have to doodle and do warm-up stuff for 15 minutes before i start producing stuff that is remotely decent. Anecdotally, i have found that doing this background, the first large chunk of shapes were just squares and triangles and circles, then suddenly i whipped out a little flower in a pot, then a little house, and so on.

If you are familiar with the Meisner Method of acting, i think that these texture-doodles are a similar form for myself as an illustrator. (if youa re not familiar, or need a badly-explained refresher: the idea is to get out of your ‘head’ while acting and get into the ‘moment’. Ie stop thinking about what you are supposed to be ‘pretending’ to do, and just do it. This is much much harder than it sounds. some of the ‘acting’ exercises that you do to get into this ‘in the moment’ state is to pair up and do really really basic things (like repeat everything the other person says, and they do the same, which amounts to saying the same thing over and over again). at some point you will stop repeating and start saying other things and be ‘in the moment’ (this is possibly the worst explanation of this excercise ever, but i have done it and it is very cool once you get into it) ) Anyhow, similarly, with this strange rote sketching technique after awhile i just spontaneously draw something that is not a square a circle or a triangle. and i draw it quick, almost before i can think about it, and then usually it is pretty groovy.

The same thing happened with the twisty bits of ‘twist’. I was just oging along drawing spirals and twisty lines when all of a sudded i busted out a twistly little face. After that i was sort of looking for inspiration in the shapes i was producing and when something came out that looked like an ear, or a nose, or a coffee cup, or bird, or Cthulu, or whatever, i would quickly fill in the other attributes. It is actually amazingly fun to be drawing simple shapes and all of a sudden just bust out some little masterpiece.

The other great thing i love about these micro-sketches is their simplicity. I dont have time to over think the forms, and just a few lines to convey the image. It is great fun.

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4 Responses to hand-doodled background textures

  1. jreed says:

    Mind if I use background for my music page? I really like this. I might try to make my own but yours is perfect. myspace.com/fredericchopin333

  2. Ben says:

    yeah, sure, and thanks for asking. I should have put it on this image, but obviously have not, but all my artwork is licensed creative commons attribution. so use it all you want, but please attach a small note somewhere on your page saying you got it from here.


  3. nickdb93 says:

    Hey, I’m going to use this on one of my label’s band’s websites. (onestepbeyond.damonrecords.com). I don’t have any money to give you, since the label is run more like a charity than anything else, but if I ever make money off this image I’ll be sure to share.

    The reason I’m not asking politely like the previous person is because I’ve been procrastinating this and I really need to get the site done. HOWEVER, if you would prefer that I not use, please email me or something. We’re quite fond of all types of artists, and violating their rights is not something that we do.

    The band is quite a fan of the informal, doodling, art style. They may want more art done, like, custom stuff, and I’m not very good at drawing. So, if they like this stuff, I may be in contact with you to do some custom stuff, if that’s something that you are interested in.

    Very good job.


  4. Ben says:

    Hey Nick,

    No worries, this is under a creative commons attribution license, so as long as you put ‘artwork by ben britten’ somewhere on the site then it is all good :-) (and perhaps a link back to here would also be cool, but not required)


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