November 27 2015

Freeform Doodle

 This post is about the simplicity of free form doodling, or doodling without trying to create a recognizable picture.  This type of drawing can be soothing after a long day, helping to clear your mind of all the things you may have been juggling or working on.  This is a great way to unwind and all you need is a blank piece of paper and a pen.


For this doodle, I started by drawing a loopy, free form shape that is closed.  You can make one large shape spread over the fold in the sketch book like I did here, or create several smaller shapes if you like.  The trick here is not to think to hard or aim for anything recognizable.


I decided to stick with circles for this activity because they are so easy to do and vary in size.  I began by drawing them in the bottom loop against the inside of the line, aiming to fill up the inside of the shape.  You could also make circles along the outside of the shape and leave the inside blank.  It’s completely up to you and what feels good today.


I love making the circles different sizes because it looks so cool to me!  It also keeps me from worrying about uniformity or perfection.  Remember we are trying to relax here.


After a while, I thought it would be easier to see the shape if I made the outside line thicker.  I liked that idea so much, I also chose to make some of the circles with a thick marker instead of a pen.


 I filled in the entire background to cover up a couple of small areas of the doodle I didn’t like.   After coloring the whole background black,  I liked having the empty white space here inside the shape.  Filling in the entire shape with circles felt overwhelming, so this is where I stopped.  If I feel like it down the road, I can always come back to it and doodle some more.


November 21 2015

Dividing a Sketch Journal Page

I love journaling, writing, drawing, doodling, pasting, coloring, and, in general, keeping a record of memories and ideas.  It helps me sort and organize all of my ideas for artwork and projects, and also keeps my mind free and clear to focus on the challenges of everyday family life.  I do not like ruled notebooks or even traditional journals, however, as they remind me of homework, and this is not work. It is play!!

 Instead, I start with a blank page and divide it into spaces for writing, or decorate it bearing in mind I will come back and write on it later.  Both ways of page preparation help me down the road as a sort of writing prompt.   This post is a demonstration of a form of page devision using a black marker or pen, a ruler, and a blank double page spread.  (I also used a couple of scrapbooking grids to quickly make different sized squares, but a ruler does the job.)

journal page with squaresThis blank sketchbook has thin paper and I have a heavy hand when it comes to drawing.  A thick paper is a better fit but, I like the smaller size for doodle pages, because it goes more quickly.


I chose to start by making two long rectangles down the sides, a great shape for lists or doodles.  I used my little ruler but did not measure exactly so they are not the same size.  I don’t work for perfection because, I feel that imperfection is an innately human characteristic that is worth embracing.

Adding Squares

With the help of my square making tools, I quickly made squares of varying sizes.  You can trace around small boxes or tupperware, or anything else you like the shape of, or use your ruler.  No ruler? Cards, index cards, the stiff fold of a piece of paper all work to make straight lines.

Rectangles in the gaps

The other spaces I filled in with different sized rectangles, or “text boxes” if you will.  Now, thinking outside the boxes, I have a great space for a decorative border.

Filling in the border

I started creating circles in the spaces between the boxes.  Making the circles different sizes adds interest.

Finished journal page with squares

Here is my journal page, ready for writing, drawing, gluing photos, adding color or whatever suits my fancy!

November 14 2015

The One and Only Contour Line Drawing

Let’s start at the beginning shall we? Every art teacher I have ever had the privilege of learning from, loved this little tool. A contour line drawing is done by creating a single, drawn line that shows the edges and details of an object. In a classroom setting, it is a tool used to enhance your powers of observation and your ability to translate what you are seeing into visual language (in this case, a line) and onto the paper. As an artist, I like to use this as a warm up before I begin painting, to switch gears from everyday life to let’s get creative mode!

So, here’s what you need:

  • Something to draw on.
  • Something to draw with.
  • A few of your favorite things to draw (keep it simple for now).

Here are the guidelines of the game:

  • Once you put your pen to the paper, don’t pick it up again until the drawing is finished, making one really long line.
  • Time yourself. Two minutes is plenty of time for this exercise.  Look carefully at the object you are drawing. Are there any reflections, straight edges? Where does the object curve?
  • These drawings always look kind of funny (at least they do to me!) Keep in mind, the purpose of this drawing is to help you see more thoroughly, not to create the next famous masterpiece.


These are the objects I picked out for this exercise. I love colored glass containers, especially green ones!


I chose to draw the wine bottle first because it has the least amount of detail.


I started this drawing with the top of the bottle, keeping in mind I need to fill in all of the details without lifting my pen off of the paper!


Now that you have finished your first drawing, why not try a few more?  Make it more challenging by choosing an object that is slightly more detailed, or by drawing more than one object as part of the same line.  Have fun and remember: You can do it!

October 13 2015

The Beginning

Hello everyone!  I Am Virginia Hodges and this is officially my very first blog post. I have started this blog for a number of reasons.  First, I am an artist and I love to share my creativity and inspiration with others.  On this blog site, I hope to offer drawing and doodling lessons for anyone and everyone who is interested in learning.  Secondly, there are many wonderful benefits to finding your own creativity, like increasing your memory capacity and problem solving skills,  finding stress relief in a fast paced society, improving focus or productivity at work, or entertaining children away from a flashy screen, even helping kids with homework!  There are many more ways learning creative skills can help in everyday life, but in order to keep this particular post short, we can explore those together in the future. Last of all, I want to really dive into using journaling and drawing together as a form of introspection, a tool for emotional health, and a way to know yourself.    Freely expressing yourself on paper (non-judgmentally) in some form or fashion, can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.  Yes, this does tie back into using creativity for stress relief!  I look forward to fleshing this site out more every week and can’t wait for us to get started together!