A focus on artist, MaryDoodles


Unofficial fan art by MaryDoodles

Joanna Yu

Hello hello! Joanna here, and welcome back to this cozy nook of Bearing News! In this week’s installment, I will be moving away from digital art to the world of traditional mediums to detail the work of one of my favorite artists, the wonderful MaryDoodles!
Mary is a talented individual based in the United States whose quirky personality clearly comes through in her stunning art pieces. Showcasing amazing sketches on her Instagram, entertaining her fans, known as “doodlebugs”, on her YouTube channel, to releasing entertaining podcasts with her friend, GiveMeMotion, on their SoundCloud, she offers a wide variety of content to the viewers that visit her sites.
I am always entertained by the work that Mary creates. Commanding markers, graphite, India ink and watercolors, her art pieces are full of life, varying from fun and eccentric characters to intricate and beautiful paintings. Mary’s work tackles a wide variety of content in her online galleries that embody her humor and endless imagination. I love her cartoony style, which consists of bold and confident lines as well as sharp angles that add to the intensity of her strokes. Here are some examples of such:

In addition to her still pieces, Mary also uploads the progress of many of her works on her YouTube channel, a platform on which she posts speedpaints, tutorials, real time art videos and q and a sessions dubbed “artcasts.” I find myself going to her channel whenever I feel stuck on art projects and need inspiration, or if I just have some time to kill. Mary’s jovial and hilarious commentary is something I always look forward to, and it accompanies well with the creative and humorous nature of her pieces. (This speedpaint is one of my favorites!)
Among her great variety of videos, she also releases a series called What Will I Draw?! in which she turns a randomly drawn scribble into a full piece of artwork. The way she can turn a few lines made by hand, foot, or even by stuffing a marker in her nose and then dragging it across the page into a colorful creation is both inspiring and enthralling. In fact, it was this series that first got me interested in Mary’s work two years ago; I remember being awestruck after watching my first video in the series and asking friends at school to scribble in my sketchbook before coming home to flesh out those chaotic lines. It truly was difficult envisioning full pieces, but I enjoyed the creative exercise and how it really pushed me to think endlessly for the possible concepts and ideas hidden in just a few sporadic lines. (Check out Mary’s playlist here!)
Another one of the main reasons I admire Mary is because she incorporates ink in so many of her pieces. Personally, I’m terrified of ink and its various forms, and the very idea of its permanence and unchangeable nature is both pressuring and intimidating to me. I am so afraid of ruining a picture with one wrong flick of the pen or brush that I try to avoid using ink outside of my sketchbook. While I’ve made strides in getting more comfortable with the medium by forcing myself to use ink pens instead of pencils when sketching, I’m still unfamiliar with the world of India ink.
Despite my fear of this type of ink, I still want to be able to utilize it because of the medium’s versatility: You can dilute it with water for grey tones, outline sketches by using a dip pen to make lines pop, or even use it like watercolor through bleed effects and washes. Mary has fully implemented its many uses in her work. By watching her art videos and scrolling through her galleries, I have always wanted to get comfortable using the medium. However, I find myself shying away from it and instead choosing the watercolor, acrylic and digital paintings that I feel at ease with.
Nonetheless, feeling uncomfortable in one’s art journey is good sign and indicates the possibilities and growth an artist can make with time and practice, so I went ahead and just dove into using ink one night. Here are a few of the practice drawings that I made in my sketchbook: 
As I expected, I was terrified using the liquid ink. While I’ve used watercolor numerous times in the past, using ink was an interesting experience; it does have a similar feel to watercolor, but it had a much more intense pigment that I’ve never experimented with. In the rightmost photo, my strokes are very shaky and the marks on the face are extremely scratchy and thin, lacking the confidence and experience of Mary’s lines. I also used a few color inks, diluting them with water to make colored washes — I enjoyed this very much, probably due to its similarity with watercolor. I was also able to get line width and quality within an instant when using the dip pen, another tool that I have yet to experiment more with, which definitely had a different feel than the inking pens that I’m accustomed to using.
After these practices, I decided to go ahead and force myself to do an ink piece with just black India ink and to combine it with a twist on Mary’s scribble challenge. To prepare, I used a piece of Canson XL mixed media paper, threw on some water, and then touched an ink filled brush to the wet areas. From there, the ink spread out to where water had covered the paper and I left the sheet to dry.
After this was all over, I was left with this design:

I will say that this week’s piece was indeed a challenge. Looking at the ink blots, I honestly did not know what to do with what I had. I saw numerous different shapes that could lead to several different outcomes, but I also wanted to add a sense of life to the piece — a factor that is devoid of many of my previous artworks. After staring at the marks for a good amount of time, I took out a brush, a dip pen, a bottle of black ink, a bottle of white ink, turned on an episode of Peas in a Podcast, and started drawing. 
Artwork by Joanna Yu
Artwork by Joanna Yu
Through this piece, I found that working with ink wasn’t as scary as I had thought but, in fact, quite entertaining. There’s something fulfilling about making bold, strong strokes with a brush as it glides over the paper and it was thrilling to command such a powerful and permanent medium. I definitely got more comfortable using the liquid form of ink and I felt a sense of nostalgia from when I used to do scribble challenges two years ago along with the frustration of not knowing how to transform a seemingly simple blob into an artwork. I also have not done a piece in just black and white in a long time, which gave a whole new level of difficulty through the limited color palette I had to work with.
Nonetheless, I’ve discovered a newfound love for India ink and even more respect for Mary; while she makes it look so easy to implement character and humor into her work, I don’t think my piece comes even close to what she’s able to do on a daily basis. However, without this challenge, when else would I draw a T-Rex skull-wearing businessman with his two mace-tailed cats? I’ve missed doing challenges like these, and I will make sure that I do more in the future for the strange but intriguing results.  
I’d like to thank Mary for all of the creativity, inspiration and dedication she has given to her work and her flock of doodlebugs. For everyone who read this week’s installment, please send your love, support and a few cats to Mary on her various platforms! Until next time, have a gradient day, and keep drawing!
All photos were used with the permission of MaryDoodles