Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

200 × 150 × 18 mm
176 pages
70 illustrations, 40 in colour
01 Apr 2013

Line Let Loose Scribbling, Doodling and Automatic Drawing David Maclagan

Line Let Loose is a sustained investigation of the evolution of scribbling, doodling and automatic drawing. Of these three forms of drafting, scribbling is the most basic: it is seen as playing a formative role in the drawings of both children and primates. Doodling, whilst still being a widespread phenomenon, is largely an adult preoccupation, a nomadic form of drawing typically produced during meetings or phone calls. Automatic drawing, on the other hand, even though those who engage in it are not necessarily trained artists, is a more dramatic event: the results of an absent-minded or trance-like state are sometimes astonishing. All three forms of drawing have, because of their amateur and spontaneous character, been adopted by modern artists seeking to escape from the constraints of their professional skills.

David Maclagan shows that each of these marginal forms of drawing has its own history, which includes Spiritualism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Psychedelic Art. Referring to Klee, Pollock, Miró, Twombly and Sol Lewitt, as well as many lesser-known or anonymous artists, he traces the links between them and a pervasive notion of the spontaneous and ‘unconscious’ creation of forms in art. He suggests that the original novelty of these unconventional drawing processes has begun to wear off, and he explores their new situation in our modern digital culture.

‘Like the humble doodle, this slim volume belies the profundity to be found within. Richly illustrated, this work can be enjoyed as much for its visual enchantments as for its insights on the creative self.’ — Fortean Times

‘Maclagan . . . constructs a carefully organized journey through what he calls marginal forms of drawing, i.e. the scribble, the doodle, automatic drawing, automatism, and elaborations on these forms . . . of particular value is Maclagans recognition of the markets impact on the character of a drawing if the drawing is undertaken initially with the aim of generating a sale. A valuable final chapter and conclusion address the impact of the computer. Recommended.’ — Choice

Show all

David Maclagan is a retired university lecturer and art therapist. based in Yorkshire. He has published numerous articles on Outsider art, art therapy and image-based psychology, and is the author of Creation Myths: Man's Introduction to the World (1977), and Psychological Aesthetics: Painting, Feeling and Making Sense (2001) and Outsider Art (Reaktion, 2009).

1. From Innocence to Experience
2. The Career of the Scribble
3. The Doodle and Beyond
4. Early Automatic Drawing
5. Automatism, the Unconscious and the Modern Art
6. Meta-doodles and Other Elaborations

Photo Acknowledgements