People sometimes ask me, when did you start drawing? The answer is, I don't remember. I don't remember starting, and so far I've never really stopped. My mother put a pen in my hand as soon as I could hold it, and that, I suppose, is when I started drawing. I often think that for someone who's been drawing for quite so long that I'm not much cop, really. I ought to be much better by now. There are people around who started drawing far later, and they're miles better than I am, and it just isn't fair. You'd think, with all the practice I get, I'd be a bit better than this by now, but we all have our crosses to bear, and compulsive doodling is mine. Genuinely compulsive. White tablecloths are a serious problem for me. I have to work to avoid drawing on things like windows, computer screens, and cars. I have a glittery, gel-ink, stinky-marker, felt-tip pen habit which leaves me at the mercy of stationery stores, and I never look like I'm listening at meetings, even if I am.
But it's tables and desks that are the real problem. Do you remember the desks you used to wreck at school? Mine were covered in intricate drawings. This proved to be a problem; unlike the people who gouged holes with compasses, my vandalism was instantly recognisable. Almost uniquely in my class, I was required to stay in and sand my drawings off ... well, off a (large, white) wall, admittedly, but I'm straying from the point here. The point is I have jobs now, in offices, and now that I'm a grown up I get the feeling that drawing all over everything ... well it wouldn't be approved of in my offices. They're not the sort of places I can get away with drawing all over. Hence the rough paper.
The rough paper goes under my keyboard, under my left arm, and under my mouse mat. It's usually the backs of old strategy documents, failed print-outs of pdfs and word documents with my bosses' names spelled wrong, that sort of thing. I draw on the white side, unless I'm really not looking at what I'm doing. That saves the desk. It doesn't really save the current strategy documents, the minutes from the team meeting, or the crucial photocopied handouts about saving paper though. As I read, I draw. As I listen, I draw. As I click through the next five websites on the list, I draw.
And despite my best attempts, half the time I fetch up drawing on strategy documents and my boss' draft objectives, and that absolutely crucial annual report.
Napkins and sweet wrappers and credit card bills and postcards from old, dear friends.
And still, occasionally, walls.
Cover The doodles Notes Escape