In the past year, we’ve found ourselves looking for ways to give ourselves a break from the screen. For months we’ve been zooming meetings, online learning, streaming the latest much talked about shows. It was apparent on my own social media platforms that many wanted to turn away from their computers, phones and television. More people were rediscovering their kitchen skills and taking up new creative hobbies like knitting, painting, puzzling, and doodling. Myself included. I returned to doodling — a happy place. A friend of mine, who knew I loved this low-key activity, recently surprised me with a Dotidoodle kit. It was a customized pop art project that is a blend of mosaic and puzzling that is perfect for these pandemic times.
dotidoodle is a pop art based project that anyone can do. How it works? Upload your favourite image to their site and they’ll produce a pixelated large format (27″ x 27″) poster. Then, a personalized kit gets delivered complete with artist markers and instructions on how to fill in all the dots. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? It is! What I’ve found is that it’s richly satisfying project that stimulates your brain in ways that are different from our daily routine. While is sounds simple enough, it does require time and concentration. Which is why it is the ideal “mindful” activity we need right now.
The brains behind dotidoodle is Toronto-based graphic designer Mandy Schneider.
Originally from South Africa, Mandy studied at WITS Technicon School of Art and Design in Johannesburg. Before she immigrated to Canada, her last job in South Africa was very pivotal in shaping her future. “In 1988 I was given a first generation Mac and the first version of Adobe Illustrator ever (Illustrator 88),” says Mandy. “My job was to apply everything I had learned manually to creating on a computer. I soon became one of the leading experts in the field having all the technology and design software at my fingertips. In Toronto, I opened my own business and soon was doing package design for well-known brands.”
Mandy tells us she was on the cusp of launching another website for unique handmade products that she designed however, everything she was designing was created was meant for travel, camps, party industries and other businesses that were shut down during COVID19.
She began thinking about what to do at home to help pas the time and stay creative. Mandy always enjoyed painting and she tells us her style is very big and bold. Her art is often of faces that are zoomed in, rotated and at dynamic angles.
Then, the idea struck when her daughter moved home during the pandemic. “My daughter moved home and was doing puzzle after puzzle. When she finished each one, she would break it up and put it back in the box. I wanted to design something people could enjoy creating that would stay in one piece. Something that would be nice enough to put up on their walls.”
The concept was a blend of her love for art and her daughter’s puzzle projects. However, it wasn’t just about creating a fun art piece for passing time during the pandemic. With mindfulness and wellness on everyone’s minds these days, Mandy also recognized there were more benefits to this activity that goes beyond filling in spaces. For her, a dotidoodle is a mindful pastime that is very relaxing and calming. “When I dotidoodle, there is something so wonderful about the sound the marker makes as I colour in the dots. When I am close up colouring in each dot separately, I forget that I am actually creating my own masterpiece. Then I step back and see the image come to life. I never get tired of that feeling of stepping back to see the bigger picture.”
When it comes to deciding on what image to use on the dotidoodle, my mind was swirling at the endless possibilities. Immediately, I think of flowers, pets, kids, graffiti walls that I may have come across on my walks. Mandy tells me that it’s important to realize that this pop art format isn’t about recreating an exact replica of an image you love, but rather you are creating a unique piece of art.
But what if you don’t have an image in mind? That’s okay, dotidoodle has a library of images on their site to choose from and is updated frequently (yes rights are secured). They’ll also help with photoshop edits if there’s something in an image that you’d like to change.
By the way, there are 3600 dots on the poster to fill. I’ve been working on this piece over the past week spending anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour each time and when I need a quiet break. Having said that, I’ve lately been listening to Bachata music and have it playing in the background.
Mandy has shared that the feedback so far has been very positive. “It can be such a welcome break from the virtual world and a wonderful activity to
do with family members. I encourage everyone to try this positive, mindful creative activity!”
For more information visit dotidoodle.com
If you’re interested in trying, you can also receive 20% off your order by using our promo code: dotidog20 (valid until January 31, 2021)
Here’s a quick video on what it is…