The artist first takes pictures and then decides what to doodle on them ( Source: Metrodoodle) Photograph: (Facebook)
Who knew drawing was different from doodling, up until the time Google started innovating with its logo on the homepage of its search engine. Most of us, including I thank the web giant for bringing the much-loved art form into the mainstream. Every kid’s favourite pastime would have otherwise remained between the last pages of school textbooks or on the paper napkins.
While Google in its everyday doodles commemorates important events of the world and people’s contribution in different fields of study, there is a software developer in India who doodles away his time while travelling in the modest metro train, to and fro work.
The Delhi-based artist features his work under the label Metrodoodle on both Facebook and Instagram but he got famous when he first published an Instagram post on October 29, 2016. Users on the picture-sharing social network app poured in their appreciation for the doodle with some even saying: “You have made our day with this”.
He has never stopped since.
Metrodoodler says, “I've been doodling all this time since I was a kid. It started with doodling on the last pages of the notebooks during school. You can find something in every notebook that I’ve ever used. Now I doodle on my phone as it is always with me. It’s amazing how I can draw anytime, anywhere whenever I feel. Metrodoodle basically helped me to put my time in travelling to some use. One thing is that I was able to create doodles for people to enjoy, another was that it was a daily practice for me to work and improve my skills.”
Doodling monsters, aliens, fictional characters, superheroes and mythical animals, he keeps reinventing with his doodles. He says, “There isn’t any specific area the inspiration comes from rather it’s a mixture of so many things. The stuff I like to watch, read and think about, the people, the conversations and almost everything. The Metro gives me a huge canvas to imagine things and draw. When I am creating my artwork, I try to keep it different from reality.”
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I asked him whether this requires professional training in drawing or software.
Metrodoodler says, “I haven’t learnt it anywhere. I have grown drawing and sketching, so I would say it has come naturally to me. I am a software developer by profession and I take up freelance art projects for my weekends.”
Doodles are a new way of expressing creativity among the new generation of artists. According to a paper titled What does Doodling do? by Jackie Andrade in 2009, doodling has a couple of benefits for the artist. In his paper, he theorised that doodling helps you concentrate.
Doodling also helps artists from coming out of a creative block, experienced by almost all practising artists. Initially used as a tool to pass the time before setting out to work, many artists feel that it can be taken up as a career. Metrodoodler says, “I do consider this to be a career option. Right now there aren't any monetary benefits involved.”
Using his imagination to doodle animate and inanimate objects around people, he talks about his inspiration: “I am constantly inspired by the work of all the artists shared on Instagram by them. Instagram is probably my favourite app. The work done by Subwaydoodle triggered me to start something of my own, as a result Metrodoodle happened. I made sure to keep my artwork different and unique by portraying my own imagination in my work. I try to put in some humour in my doodles, whenever possible. It feels nice if you can bring a smile on people’s face.”
Do you ask for permission before clicking images of people?
He says, “Till now, there hasn’t been a situation where I have been stopped from clicking pictures but in case it happens, I’ll introduce them to me and the purpose for which I am clicking the photograph and if they still don’t want it taken, then I won’t. On the contrary, I keep getting requests from people who want to be featured in my artwork.”
He adds, “Whenever I am clicking pictures, I am not sure if I’ll be using it for my doodles. I look to capture raw and candid pictures, without grabbing people’s attention. Sometimes my camera shots are planned, but most of the time I just keep clicking whatever interests me and look for the idea for my doodles later. I never draw anything that would upset someone in my drawing. In case I feel it might, then I try to make them unrecognisable by adding things or blurring their face.”
Working on doodles only when he has the time, the artist behind Metrodoodle hopes that his work is appreciated by all. He is happy that people identify doodling as unique and can connect with it. He believes that currently no one apart from him is doodling in India.