Decades of doodles

Very quietly some time last week, Michigan State University professor and international graphics voice Karl Gude posted 27 years’ worth of drawings he did while in news meetings — from his days starting at UPI through his decade of service at Newsweek just before coming to MSU. The drawings offer a unique, visual perspective on the world and what was happening on certain days. And on meetings. We asked Karl to tell us more about the postings.

I spent hundreds of hours in newsmeetings during the 80s at UPI, AP and the NY Daily News. I concentrated best while drawing. The best part of these is reading what was going on in the news that day…

Clearly, I have attention issues, but I really did focus better when I was doodling.

I’ve never studied art or design and learned how to draw by doodling and sketching from life. I tell my students that doodling is “mind/hand” coordination and sketching is “eye/hand” corrdination. Both have are enormously useful. I draw as much as I doodle (I hate that word… let’s invent another!), so I have a zillion drawings, too. I was just in a faculty meeting at Michigan State and spent the whole time drawing on a plastic coke bottle with a marker!

Q: What time frame do these drawings range?
The UPI, AP, National Sports Daily and Daily News ones are from between 1980 and 1995 (15 years) The Newsweek ones were drawn between 1996 and 2006.

Q: Which is your favorite and why?
I really like the two I’ve attached, particularly the eyes. They feel whimsical and happy and I know I was feeling good when I drew them. Beyond a lot of the drawings, I really like reading what was going on in the news on given days. The weird drawings mixed with current events going on outside make a nice juxtaposition.

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Q: What were you supposed to be doing usually when you were drawing?
I was supposed to be feigning attention like everyone else, even though they were often as bored as I was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved going to the meetings; it’s how I got the jump on my day, but sometimes the meetings were overly predictable. Once, the editor of the AP actually told me to stay after the meeting and then asked me to pay more attention, but I assured him that I could focus better when I was doodling, and he let me continue. Drawing distracts the part of my mind that wants to wander. It’s like there area two people in my head, fighting for control, one a child who gets bored easily and has to be
doing something fun, and the other a grown up who understands that what’s happening around him is important to know.

Doodles from Newsweek meetings: link

Doodles exclusively of eyes, from Newsweek meetings: “When nothing else came into my head, I drew eyes…” Link.

Doodles from UPI, AP and NY Daily News: Link.