Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Doodle-ing

Perhaps it was the example of Nola's focus on the simplicity of one gift, one activity, but I was amazed by how successful this DoodleArt poster was in drawing everyone together. I'd wrapped one for Daughter # 3 (above), and when she opened it, her older sister exclaimed immediately that she'd loved the DoodleArts she'd had as a child.  Out of some magical intuition, I had bought another poster and tucked it away in my just-in-case closet, and I whisked it out and set up a doodle-ing station at the dining table.

My son-in-law doodled while he talked to his family, far away. . .
Two daughters (one wasn't here this Christmas, sadly) and a someday daughter-in-law consulted on colours,   negotiated doodle-ing territory, and admired results. . .
Little Girl worked nearby on a project of her own with her fine new set of pencil crayons (24!) . . .
Four . . .
Then five artists clustered around the table, proving that childhood activities become even better with beer. . (although, unfortunately, even that beer wasn't enough to lure in my son, only sons-in-law).
First son-in-law even absconded with the poster for a while, moving it over to the grand piano top -- the girls tried to rouse my indignation at this chancy use of the surface, but they were on their own for that one.
I love the way each of these photos shows the image becoming more colourful, with Meg and Joey left to work out the remainder on Boxing Day. I also love the concentration on all the faces above -- it reminds me a tiny bit of the sense of responsibility I once felt tackling a brand new Paint-by-Numbers canvas, decades and decades ago, that rich, vaguely intimidating yet wonderfully adult, professional smell of the oil paints. It reminds me as well of watching my younger siblings opening a new crayoning book and a brand new box of Crayola. Then, last round, my own children and their friends with crayons, projects, scissors, glue, and, as Bronwen's spontaneous exclamation testified, the memory of those magically intricate DoodleArt posters.

And this tradition, made new this Christmas for me, is one that I know we'll bring forward. I'm sure you invigorated old traditions at your place this year as well -- care to share?


  1. I did not know about these but it looks like such a fun way to share time together.

  2. It looks like so much fun! I haven't done Doodle Art in a long time, but I wished I had brought my Fluevog coloring book to Louisiana with me a couple of times.

  3. A more materials-rich version of the group puzzle, a standby at my relatives' houses. Wonderful to see the kids of all ages getting into it.

  4. This is exactly what love about family gathering together.
    It's often the simplest things that bind us.

    Clever you :)

  5. I love this idea...and am tucking it away for future family get-togethers at our house! It is wonderful to watch the poster fill with color...

  6. What a wonderful new tradition! We're looking for something to provide a focal activity for a New Year's Eve open house. I fear our gang may not be as visually inclined, and was thinking of penny-ante blackjack, and maybe a table for dominoes, for the less gambling-inclined.

    The sequential shots of the increasingly colorful poster are delightful!

  7. Definitely on my list for next year. Only one question - should I ask for it for myself or give one to the children?

  8. Thanks for all your comments -- For anyone who's interested in the DoodleArt, I know Chapters carries the posters in Canada and Amazon may in the US. A Vancouver man got the company going again last year. A single poster, with felts, is $21, so it's not cheap, but hours and hours and hours of entertainment.
    My kids wouldn't have done a jigsaw puzzle the same way -- with the poster, you can start immediately, not too much thinking whereas they claim they'd lack the patience for finding pieces. Another plus to the puzzle is the surface can easily be cleared (budging the people is a bit harder) whereas a puzzle requires an undisturbed spot.

    I'm planning to pick up a few more of these to tuck away -- and Lesley, it may just be that I purloin one for myself . . .

  9. We did Doodle Art posters this year too! My mum picked them up at the hobby store in Victoria, remembering how much we'd enjoyed them as kids. It was a pack of 4 pictures about placemat sized, and we passed them around the table whenever someone got bored with their picture. Kept us entertained for hours, but they still aren't finished, so will likely be pulled out next year...

  10. Sarah: Thanks for visiting, and commenting -- nice to have some island neighbours here. Those 4-picture packages are exactly what my daughter remembered and I'll keep an eye out for them. The large poster is fun also because so many can fit around it. I love your idea of pulling them out from year to year for completion, subbing in new ones when necessary. Happy New Year!


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