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Found Object Doodles (a.k.a. Sometimes It’s Ok To Play With Your Food Before Eating It) plus a print-ready template for young people

***For those asking whether I’m doing a found object book, please see About My Food Art, Found Object Book Update and Other Found Object Artists.

“A Portrait In Ink And Parsley”: click image to see responses when I posted this Found Art doodle on Twitter.

(Edit: Thanks so much to Chicago Tribune website and Tessa Wegert for highlighting this blog post in their Dec.27th, 2013 article)

As some of my Instagram followers may have noticed recently, I’ve been posting more Found Object Doodles…especially Food Doodles. This all began at a Lost Weekend With David Diaz, when I was intrigued by David’s habit of drawing on found objects (such as promo postcards that came by snailmail).

David Diaz shows Alice Ratteree and other Lost Weekend attendees samples of his work

Earlier this year, I realized that I had been neglecting my daily doodle habit…which was having a negative impact on my other work. So I took advantage of a sale at DeSerres and bought a bunch of art supplies:

I purposely avoided getting the more expensive watercolor paints and sketchbooks so I wouldn’t feel as inhibited when it came to artplay and experimentation. I did buy a ton of refills for my Pentel Brush Pen, however, because the latter has become my go-to sketching pen. For those interested in trying out this pen, the cheapest price I’ve found online is on Amazon.con so far, especially the refills. Price on is much higher, so if you don’t live in the U.S., I’d advise checking out sales at your local art shop first.

Anyway, I started doing a lot of sketching on found objects, like my husband’s 2010 Royal Astronomical Society Of Canada Observer’s Handbook (I intercepted its journey to the recycling bin):

and shamelessly vandalized my inflight magazine on the way to a board gaming convention last month:

(and yes, I left it in the seat pocket.)

Then I was having brunch with my husband and a friend, and there was a point in the conversation where they were talking about something very specific that didn’t involve me…so I started doodling. Keep in mind that Jeff and most of our closer friends are used to me doodling at random times, so this wasn’t quite as rude as it may seem. 🙂

Anyway, I hadn’t brought my sketchbook with me but had a couple of blank index cards, so I decided to incorporate my used mint tea bag into a doodle:

My Tea Doodle, created at Bestellen in Toronto.

On whim, I decided to post this to Instagram and Facebook, and was surprised at all the positive response. My author friend, Vikki VanSikkle, suggested on Instagram that I do a “tea doodle series.” I didn’t think that I’d want to restrict myself to tea but WAS intrigued by the idea of doing more Found Object doodles.

I love the idea of quickie doodles created with ink and found objects that are destroyed (or eaten :-)) afterward. Doing these will help me keep from being too “precious” about my art, I think. Plus they’re FUN TO DO.

Recently, for example, Vikki challenged me to do one of my Found Art doodles while AT the Torkidlit holiday party:

And here’s what I came up with:

I also created 7-Layer Dip Tyrannosaurus RexMeat Head Santa and Nice Puppy Snowman (using a real puppy)!.

Here’s a photo that my YA author friend, Derek Silver, tweeted from the party:

And all this helps remind me of something I’ve learned since the whole I’m Bored adventure began and my career took off: that while the whole “being an anti-social introverted artist/writer who works away in isolation, creating stuff” idea may be fine for some, I have grown SO MUCH in my creative efforts as a result of meeting other children’s book writers and illustrators in person and online.

YES, you have to make sure you don’t let socializing and networking (networking is NOT a bad word, in contrast to what some people think! I could rant for an entire book on that topic) time take over your life, that you keep your focus on your creative work. BUT in my experience, the interactions I have with other children’s book writers and illustrators online and offline has greatly helped me not only in my career, but also as a creative individual.

Another lesson I’ve learned: That there is potential art EVERYWHERE. You just need to look. I’m hoping that my doodles encourage some people to look at the world a little differently, to not take so much for granted. I also think that Found Object Doodles are a great way to inspire creativity in young people. I’ve created a print-ready PDF for those interested:

Click image for print-ready PDF

One last comment about Found Object Doodles: There are soooo many wonderful artists out there who work with found objects, and I encourage you to check out their work. Here are just a few:

Check out CintaScotch‘s creative ink and found object doodles on Instagram. Artist’s real name: Javier Pérez.

Children’s book illustrator Lori Nichols sometimes posts her found object doodles on Instagram as well. Her Instagram feed seems to be down right now, but you can see samples of her found object art on Seven Impossible Things.

Hanoch Pivan creates faces out of found objects.

I’m also in the midst of compiling a list of children’s book illustrators who have published books using found object art. So far, I have Alma FullertonSuzanne Del RizzoBarbara ReidDenise FlemingMarthe JocelynLindsay Ward. I’ll create a separate post on Inkygirl in the New Year; feel free to comment below if you know of any children’s book illustrators I should add to this list.

Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing to gradually add my Found Object doodles to:

My Food Doodles and other Found Object art on Flickr

My Found Object doodle portfolio section (selection)


Tumblr (selection)

Pinterest (selection)

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