The Doodle Man Interview: Above and Beyond

by Cass Art Student Ambassador

Since graduating from BA Illustration in 2015, serial scribbler Sam Cox has set out to achieve World-Doodle-Domination. Armed with his pen, he is on a quest to turn the universe into his canvas, and his drawings have now escaped the confines of a sketchbook to fill the walls, interiors and floors of galleries and public spaces across the UK. With commissions flooding in from big name companies including the BBC, Sky and Pepsi, The Doodle Man is definitely one to watch in 2016.

We caught up with Sam to ask him about The Doodle Man and find out how he brings his doodles to life...

The Doodle Man is certainly very interesting! Would you consider him a character or is he the true version of yourself?

The Doodle Man is a character, but he's based on an observation and exaggeration of myself. He has his own story, with his own enemies (Mas, The Anti- Doodle Squad), his own pets, and his own love interests. You can see his story summarized in the very start of this video.

How has being The Doodle Man helped with your artistic practice?

I developed The Doodle Man to engage more directly with my audience, in a way that would be harder to do through simply two-dimensional drawings. The invention of The Doodle Man has allowed me to make a louder statement about who I am and what I do- and since adopting this character people have definitely become more aware of my presence and my work.

What is it like to work in such large public spaces, and what reactions do you usually get while you are making your work?

I love working in large public spaces- a bigger space is always more fun for me than a smaller confined area (that's a hint to anybody who wants me to paint a whole city!) I especially enjoy creating spaces that people can actually step into and experience from all angles- why just look at a drawing when you could be walking around inside it?! I get lots of different reactions to my work, but people are generally really nice. I've been told many times that my work makes people happy, which is something I'm really pleased about.

Do you plan each doodle before you begin, or do you make them up as you go along?

While I describe myself and my work as "Doodley" or "Doodle-based", my illustrations are actually created using a system that I have spent years inventing and moulding- finding the best way to space out characters, fit parts together, fill areas and compose illustrations takes lots of practice! I always take time to consider the theme I'm trying to get across in a piece, which is often dependent on its surroundings, the client and the brief. This makes sure that I tailor each individual piece of work to its specific project.

Are there any symbols or motifs that you repeat in your work, and if so what are they and why are they important?

I create characters in my work who often have stories leading from one mural to another. For instance, in one piece a couple of characters can be seen falling in love, in the next the same two characters are getting married, and the next mural sees them getting divorced. These elements are often hidden within the main composition, and are there as little rewards for those who spend a long time looking at the work. It's important to me to have these humorous elements, which also make me laugh while I am making a piece.

How has your practice developed over time, and what are your plans for the future?

Development in my practice has been driven by a continued desire to find new ways to present my work and merge artistic disciplines. I've experimented with drawing, painting, print, video, animation, installation, performance art and music, and I love mixing these ways of working- The more I do that, the more I find myself creating interesting and original work.

Would you encourage people to pick up their pens and start doodling?

I don't expect that drawing doodles is the right medium for everyone- so I wouldn't expect people to pick up their pens and start doodling (unless they actually want to!) but I certainly would encourage people to express themselves to the maximum in everything they do, be creative, and never be afraid of looking weird!

What is the most useful piece of advice you have been given that you can pass on to other aspiring doodlers?

I'm not sure about the most useful piece of advice, but in general I would just say to follow your own instincts, and try to put as much "you" as you can into whatever you're doing.

Feeling Inspired?

Find out more about The Doodle Man and his upcoming projects here

Shop for doodling equipment online at Cass Art.  

This interview was conducted by Fine Art student, Laura Chafer

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