Talking With Doodles And Other Things That Make Life More Fun

My friend, the doodle.

My friend, the doodle.


I love, love, love my doodles. My hand will draw one automatically if it can find a drawing instrument.

So, the other day, my hand found a pen and was drawing along, when I took a look to see what was going on, and I decided to add curved stripes to see how much more three dimensional these grape shapes could be using just line. But then, individually and as a group, they cried out for even more form. So, I said, “oh my goodness, let’s see how I can help,”  and that’s when the pencils came out and the shading began.

I frequently talk to my doodles, but they usually start the conversation. And, I think, most likely, that this sort of delusion makes me, at the very least, seven shades of crazy. C’est la vie!

To fully satisfy this doodle’s dimensional longing, I imagined a light source above and slightly to the front, so that each grape could cast a shadow on the one below. Cast shadows always give a zingy boost to the illusion of 3d form on 2d paper.

Brass Tacks

Putting our delusions aside for now, my dearest fellow drawing nerds, let us get down to how I did it, and how you can do it too.

Doodle flat and inflated.

Flat and inflated.

Drawing with contour lines.

Here it is with part of the line drawing still showing. You can see how I added the stripes, or contour lines, to liven things up.

This is when the whole “longing for form” thing set in, and I sat up the imaginary light source and began shading.


First shading layer.

First shading layer.

First Shading Layer

I shaded one grape a time. There was no reason for this, other than my personal quirkiness. You could do the same working each layer of shading over entire bunch at the same time.

The circled grape is the first shading “layer.” It’s just an overall tone with darkened edges to make it look roundish.

Doodle Shading Layer Two

Doodle Shading Layer Two

Second Shading Layer

I added cast shadow from the grape above, and deepened the contour shading. (That’s the shading that made it look roundish in the first layer.)

Doodle's third shading layer.

Third shading layer.

Third Shading Layer

I pushed the contour shading even farther. See how this grape looks really well rounded? I don’t know what the technical term is, but I call this “pushing the shadows” and “pulling the highlights,” and it’s what makes a shaded drawing pop off the page. I used a soft pencil to lay in those darkest darks, and pulled some value out of the highlight with a kneaded eraser to make the top look more domed.

Final layer of doodle shading.

Final Layer

Forth Shading Layer

There is a most beautiful drawing moment when you perceive how the shape of the entire form affects the lighting of the forms within it.

For example, in my drawing the top grapes are generally lighter because the light hits them directly, and the bottom grapes become darker as they pull back under the bunch and move out of the light.

Since I worked on each grape individually, the last step was to establish the larger shape’s lighting. My light source was made-up though, so I just kinda pretended to see all that. (It still was a lovely moment, however.)

Doodles Forever

Okay folks, it’s time to get those delusions back on, and I hope I’ve inspired you to add imaginary light sources too them also. It’s an awesome world!

Until next time, Doodle On!!!

About Carol

I'm an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I've been writing (and drawing) this website since 1999.
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