More Musings on the Possibilities in a Scribble Drawing…

I have been exploring and obsessing about the scribble drawing lately, both in my practice but especially in my personal art work. It is an interesting journey I’ve never been on before. Last times I assigned myself a kind of “frequent diary entry drawing” in my journal, they have mostly been mandalas or whatever I felt like doing at the time. Now I’m back to the scribble. I think of it as the origin of drawing. So here I am at its source!

Wikipedia definitition of the verb scribble:

[1] To write hastily or carelessly without regard to legibility or form. To cover with careless or worthless writings or drawings

[1] Etymology: Middle English scriblen, from Medieval Latin scribillare, from Latin scribere to write

How interesteing that it is defined as being a “worthless” product or activity, yet the origin of the word is from the word to write! Writing conveys something of some communication or other.

Generally the scribble drawing is associated with automatic drawing; as I mentioned recently in another post, the person doing the drawing is instructed to relax and draw lines and scribbles on the paper while looking or averting/closing their eyes. Sometimes it’s interesting to keep the pen on the paper and not take it off until one finishes the scribbling.

I started out doing this kind of drawing the usual way, scribbling and then trying to find something recognizable in the drawing arising from my unconscious. I posted some of these ones recently. Then over this week I’ve become obsessed for lack of a better work, with this new genre of scribble drawing with collage. The result looks really controlled; at the same time I’ve followed a lot of the original random scribbls and just darkened them. A lot of oval shapes are emerging and I’ve been into filling the spaces with small black circles. Unlike most scribble drawings with are meant to be fast and to bypass the “thinking” part of the brain, these drawings are taking longer and longer to complete. I was making them on very small paper and recently moved to a bigger size paper. I will post the one I’m in progress with.

The other interesting food for thought that has arisen in this process is that the weekly scribble drawing I’ve been doing emerged and began as a kind of art therapy exercise for myself, a kind of weekly check in. As I continued with the collages, I noticed that I’m thinking of them not as my “art therapy” personal drawings but as works in progress, part of a new series of works on paper that I will likely post on my artist website. The scribble bridged the way between self therapy and “artist” art work. Often those lines can become blurred anyway. This will likely be my topic of the next post… The photo is of a work in progress begun today…



5 thoughts on “More Musings on the Possibilities in a Scribble Drawing…

  1. Hi,
    This process is very interesting. I am an art therapist and a art teacher. I use this technique with my students (in a non art therapeutic way) as a first exercise at the beginning of the school year. It helps them to be less judgmental about their ability to make “art”. At the end they gain confidence and I note an impact on their self esteem being proud of their results. All of them are unique, and they get to see that!


    1. hello. i relate to this page very much! i’ve been using scribble technique for 12yrs with biro pen, charcoal and oils. i have schizophrenia and in the beginning used scribble art as therapy. it is now becoming my voice. i’m on facebook with scribble art on my profile page, please click on photos. would love to share with other scribbler artists. chrisxx thanks for sharing!


      1. its genuinely a big discovery for me to have read the story above, how the lady’s art therapy is becoming less theraputic and more ‘works in progress’. is ther any way you can help me share my scribble art with other scribble artists? my facebook address is just click on photos to view work, chrisxx


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