Thursday, March 08, 2007

With Pen and Paper

Memories of my years as a childhood doodler resurface from time to time.

As a child, I would often sketch on the pages of books being read, on the walls in my home, and on the soles of feet. Years later, I still sketch and draw, with pencils, pens and Adobe software mind you, but not with the same frequency, precision and passion, as I did when I was a child. Anyone who saw those early sketches would have passed them over as mere scribbles (as the folks often did) but for me, I saw something entirely different. I created a world onto my own.

At age 2, I drew this "house".
It was sprawled within the pages of a bedtime story book.

It didn’t matter to me that many of the characters I created were neck-less and always stood in the same position (hands on hips and feet spread apart with heels touching) and wore similar puffed out hairdos (even at that age, hair was of extreme importance). What mattered to me was that these characters and the stories that surrounded their short-lived existence brought me intense pleasure and a means of understanding people in my own world, which for most of my childhood was a dark, bleak and incredibly lonely place.

I would furnish these characters in lovely homes, spending a painstaking amount of time fleshing out the details of every sofa set, teacup and floral drape. There was no reason why these characters, almost all of whom were women, mostly sisters and friends, (except for that period when I couldn’t stop drawing bunnies, their houses and families) couldn’t live better than I did. They also dressed in fancy garb. Some were extremely conservative and covered up every inch of flesh; I suppose they weren’t in the mood to be ogled, at that point in time. Then there were those who were the village trollops and didn’t mind being ogled or anything else for that matter. These trampy dames wore short, tight dresses, off the shoulder shirts and high inched heels. As the eighties wore on, they wore a lot of tights and florescent clothing. As I grew, they grew and they changed with the times also.

I was also 2 years of age when I penned this "bunny".
I'm not sure what the green thing is.

I would detail their highs and lows with mislaid, coloured pens and scraps (mostly discarded backsides) of paper. Occasionally my brother and I would receive pads of Hilroy newsprint with spherical, blue and white graphics of a happy smiling sun looking over birds on palm trees on the cover. These multi-coloured sheets of paper (and oh how yummy the smell of fresh paper) brought us both such joy and were the perfect place to document the world of bizarre and mysterious characters that inhabited our minds. I still get rather giddy over new pens and empty sheets of paper.

Here's a "police car" sketched by my brother (at age 3).

Note: all of the sketches included in this entry were scribbled onto story books (we were too busy to just read). I wish I could share all of them with you, some of them are hysterical.


  1. Scribbled on the soles of feet? I'm surprised you didn't take up body painting.

    And what IS it about fresh stationery and school supplies?

  2. I absolutely love new pens and fresh paper! I wish I could see the rest of your sketches, and for 2 years old those are very good!! Believe me-I have always observed children's art, and you can tell alot about a child from doing so.

    I hate to hear that your childhood was dark and unpleasant in any way. You've never indicated that, and I hadn't asked, and you seem so happy go lucky!! If childhood was dark, what makes you miss it (If I may ask)?

  3. MJ: Body painting sounds like fun. :)

    Fresh stationery and school supplies! Mmm! Always loved that.

    Thank you for your kind words AuntJackie! :) There were some tough times but there were some wonderful moments too. And those are the one's I like to blog about here. I miss the innocence and silliness of those times. Imagination (and cartoons) make you goofy and happy go lucky! :)


  4. I totally Agree Chelly... everyone has their good and bad, but if you let it the good can outshine all the bleak... And we can be kids forever if we so choose.

  5. So true Aunt Jax! A lovely way of putting it! :)


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