Nuoodles

Negatively Spaced © David Wesley Vaughan

I’ve always been a doodler. Mom would buy my younger brother Steve and I these little dime-store note pads to keep us busy drawing, while in the back seat on those long drives to see Grandma. Toss us a cheap motel pen and a couple of pads and we’d be happy for hours. Usually doing stick-man storyboards scenes from our favorite film experiences. In the mid-1960‘s, Saturday afternoon matinees featuring movies like Jason and the Argonauts, or King Kong vs. Godzilla hit our young minds with all the same wide-eyed wonder as films today do, but we didn’t care if you could see a string or two attached to the flying saucer. We came equipped with an extra scoop imagination, and filled in all the blanks rather nicely.

The only way I could re-visit the coolest scenes from my favorite matinée monster movies outside of simple recall, was to act out the scenes as I remembered them, or, if you wanted something in hardcopy form, you could draw what you remembered. There was no way to instantly view a movie trailer or stream anything live unless you happen in front of a TV when someone like Elvis was doing some gig in Hawaii. Had we had DVD players and iPods back then, I wonder if we’d have had the impetus to want to draw in the first place.Most of what I’ve doodled or drawn over the years, until now, has largely been tossed. I find that when you limit your palate to napkins, place mats, white boarders around newspaper inserts, bar coasters and the occasional temporary body doodle someone might ask you to do on their arm or yes, cleavage, that your “work” becomes as precariously poised for oblivion art  from an Etch A Sketch. All of the work comes out of my head these days. What I end up with is never meant to be nefarious or too particularly profound, just hopefully organic on some level, tribal maybe.

“Nuoodles,” are what I call these simple gesture drawings. Figures of whimsy found dancing in my head and bled out by whatever pen I have handy. It’s still more about process for me than a certain outcome. The crosshatching and shading, the motions of drawing, sketching is much like strumming my guitar. Hypnotic at times.

This series is drawn on a 6-inch square, white sketch pad. I’m enjoying the process of not worrying about proportions as much as a vibe, a lilt, a feeling of poise or dance that resonates instantly with me. I’m searching for a certain rhythm, not caring if something looks twisted, like the spirit of Picasso possessed my pen at that point in the drawing. If I want to put a third nipple in there somewhere, who can stop me? If it flows, it’s successful for me. If I have to think too long about the next line, I’m done with it.