Remember bell bottoms, peace signs on your zippers, and the harvest gold fridge in your kitchen? What about doing "your own thing in color?"
If you grew up in the ‘70s, you’ll recall affectionately the retro diversion called DoodleArt; kids, teens, adults, whoever, could happily spend hours coloring the detailed posters—or at least until the markers ran dry. A Canadian success story out of Vancouver, DoodleArt sold in the millions around the world.
But whatever happened to DoodleArt? That was the question a pair of Vancouverites had, who ended up buying the rights, trademark and artwork from the family that started it all.
Now, all the old favorites—butterflies, fairytales and flowers—are back, along with the first original poster in 31 years.
From the pen of Halifax native Liam Hayes, a NSCAD grad circa 1994, the newest poster has a decidedly more sinister edge—capturing zombies as they lumber through downtown streets in a search of fresh brains. All the old hysterias are worked in—toxic sludge, viruses run amuck and disease-carrying crows. It’s the kind of thing you can’t wait to see in colour, so long as the red marker holds out.
"People love doing it, you kinda just throw down some pens and they get engrossed," says Liam, who researched his assignment by going on a zombie-movie bender. "I just went for it and made it really graphic."
The Vancouver-based freelance artist pretty much works full-time for DoodleArt now. He’s developed DoodleArt websites (www.doodleartworld.com and thenewdoodleart.com ) and is now developing a DoodleArt typeface. As well, he’s a freelancer, doing work for local bands, and runs his own company, Grumpy Clothing, on a reduced scale; through Grumpy, he produces screen-printed T-shirts of his own somewhat warped designs. (Look for the Grumpy Clothing sign in the DoodleArt zombie poster.)
And while we’re talking zombies, Liam graciously let me pick his brains on what his NSCAD experience meant to him.
"NSCAD was magical for me—it was really tough but at the same time it was really fun," he says. "I think you learn as much from your peers as from your professors. I loved watching how different students would approach the same project I had to do and inject it with their own expression."
The other thing thing he learned at NSCAD, adds Liam, is that while the riskiest solution had the biggest potential for failure, it also offered the biggest payoff. "My attitude is nothing ventured, nothing gained. NSCAD encouraged us to seize a challenge and take a risk."