Friday, June 02, 2017

Desktop Doodles

Sometimes you just need to doodle!

Deep in the darkest jungles of the Orange Counties (California & Florida, how cool is it that both Disneyland & Walt Disney World are in Orange County?)

There is a scene in the film "Pleasantville" where the Jeff Daniels character (the man who runs the diner) explains that his favorite thing in the world is to paint the Christmas decorations on his store windows. From this he realizes that his favorite thing to do is to paint, that is to do art. When I was in Junior High I was convinced by my Social Studies teacher to apply to be in"Leadership/Student Government". I really just wanted to be her Teacher's Assistant, but she would not sign my TA application unless I also submitted an application to Leadership/Student Government. I guess her(Mrs. Miller, 7th Grade Social Studies, Kolb Jr. High School, Rialto, CA)plan worked, as I was accepted into Leadership, never became a TA and stayed active in Student Government for several years.  Since I could draw I found myself the head of the "Publicity Department", which is to say I was the head poster maker. My Jeff Daniels Pleasantville moment, that time of the year I always could not wait for was the run up to the annual Disneyland field trip! Kolb Junior High School had a yearly trip to Disneyland, back when private parties were much more common at the Magic Kingdom. In those days there were "off season days" when the park would close early to the general public and would be open in the evening for special events.

Okay, so this is not my is from a children's book...but it is a depiction of showing up in a school bus to Disneyland.  Just like for the annual Kolb Junior High School Disneyland trip...except it was at night and we were not cartoon characters...but otherwise very accurate.

Now our school was never able to rent the park just for us, but somehow we were able to piggy back on another organizations event. Specifically I remember we attended one year the same night as the employees of the TRW Corporation. This yearly event was probably the social highlight of my year, tons of kids went, and there were bus upon bus caravaning from Rialto to Anaheim for the event. It seemed like a pretty long drive at school bus speeds...maybe 70-90 minutes? We would gather at school at dusk, board the busses and head those days Rialto-Fontana-Rancho Cucamonga did not melt into each other and there was no 210 freeway so we took a lot of surface streets through the barren abandoned vineyards to get to the interstate. But it didn't matter it was always so exciting going to Disneyland. I don't remember how long the parties were...I suppose we got there around 7PM and stayed until 12 or 1AM? I remember the school bus parking area was fairly close to the turnstiles and of course this was before California Adventure (I was in Junior High from 1989-1992).

I have enjoyed drawing Sleeping Beauty Castle since I was in elementary school. This is a drawing I did recently(not in Elementary School) using an iPad app, it is more than a doodle...but it has the same fantasy scale and detail I tended to include in my Junior High posters and my "napkin" doodles.

In order to drum up enthusiasm for the event and to pre-sell tickets I would draw tons of posters to put all over the campus.  Since I was a (and of course remain) a huge Disney nut my specialty was drawing Sleeping Beauty Castle. I have loved the castle as far back as I can remember and learned how to draw it more or less by memory by 5th or 6th grade. In fact I had to teach the class some sort of lesson as a school assignment in Elementary School and I picked teaching the class how to draw Sleeping Beauty Castle as my subject.  Although I did not know it at the time I was using what "The Simpsons" called the "Lombardo Method"(from the episode where Marge takes up painting..."Marvelous, Another triumph!") which is the technique of breaking down the subject into basic geometric shapes. This way you can use even a rhombus to draw an adorable bunny or in my case a fairy tale castle! I wish I had saved or photographed these drawings and the Jr. High posters. I drew from memory various vignettes of Disneyland. They didn't correspond to scale or actual reality(for example the mountains or castle might be much larger than in real life) but they captured the "feeling" of Disneyland. Some of my subject matter was the monorail riding along Harbor Blvd near the giant Disneyland sign, or maybe a view of Space Mountain, and of course many sketches of the Castle.

A fanciful view of "The Rivers of America", doodled in spare time using the mixed media of office supplies(recycled xerox paper, hi-lighter markers, and felt tip pens)
Lately I have taken up doodling these "back of a napkin" style sketches of my happy place. And all these years later they still recall my junior high posters...scale is a bit off, somethings are not in the right place...but the feeling is there. Being doodles, I sketch them from the details aren't quite correct...maybe a real Jungle Cruise Launch doesn't have that smokestack or the awning is a little different. The Mark Twain has three full decks and not two(or maybe not I didn't check), they are just little exercises to pass some time while a computer boots up or a file saves. So they are drawn on scrap Xerox paper and use markers and highlighters...all just for fun.  The full color sketch is a "Paper by 53" iPad app drawing...that took a little more time, but it is similar in spirit so I included it here.

Cinderella Castle doodle from Walt Disney World as seen from Tomorrowland .

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