In Pencil Me In, I talk about the different types of drawing: Life drawing, Drafting and “Idea” drawing, or doodling. Doodling is a icon-based drawing system, more resembling writing than what an artist would do.
That means rather than drawing something exactly as it looks, you draw an idea of how it looks.
Some things already have icons, like flower or house.
But sometimes you have to develop a new iconic image. My method is to try to draw a squirrel from memory. Then I do an image search, and look for repeated elements that scream “squirrel” to me.
Fluffy tail, rounded back, pointy larger ears, bunny face… now I can start roughing out some squirrel ideas
For my book, I really wanted a squirrel peeking around the corner. Without the “squirrel” characteristics of big tails and rounded form, I wasn’t sure I could get it right. Luckily my daughter reads squirrel Girl and that artist has already solved part of the problem for me.
So another google image search, now paying attention to the features the Squirrel Girl artist chose to caricature: eyes, nose, teeth.
I looked at the photos, and make a few more choices about “squirrelness” and then I had my squirrel face.
And now squirrels are part of my image vocabulary