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About Gary Hirsch

Gary Hirsch, a self protrait

A Story

In 1971, a seven year-old boy growing up in Cleveland Heights Ohio was having nightmares. You know your basic, run of the mill nightmares- giant hands swooping down from the attic, grabbing him out of his bed and swallowing him whole where he would land in a stomach that was really a grave yard populated by zombies. Those kinds of nightmares. On these nights the boy's Dad would crawl out of bed throw on a robe and sit next to the boy with a pen and paper. " You want to show me what you're afraid of?" He would ask. They would stay up for hours. The boy would draw these creatures and the Dad would help him name them. They collected hundreds 'Swap Creature', 'Red Zombie' 'Giant Hand', to name a few. After a while the nightmares would come a bit less frequently. When asked about this, the boy's Dad said, "If you can create them, then you can also erase them."

Love The Doodle

The seven year-old boy is now in his mid 40s, married with two phenomenal kids, and has helped found a ridiculously fun business that combines improv theater with business, but he is still doodling. This site is dedicated to his love of that endeavor. The thing about doodling is that no one can really stop you from doing it (many of my elementary school teachers tried). No one ever has to see what you've made. The act of doing it reminds me that I am alive and that I can constantly surprise myself if I 'let go' a little bit. There is no fear of getting it wrong- so you can make lots of 'mistakes'; you're just screwing around. You can always erase it, turn the page, and start again.

Drawing and Improvisation

Every doodle is an act of improvisation. I always start with the eyes, but have no idea what will happen after that. Each new element (eye, nose, etc) is an offer for me to add on to incrementally until the piece tells me that it is done (whoa flakey, but true). I am also an improv performer, and marvel at the stories that a group of people can co-create without any time, rehearsal, script, or plan. Some of the principles, thoughts and theory of improv are captured in my illustrations and t-shirt text (Let Go, Don't Self Censor, Meet Your Monster- all come from the world of improv where pushing further and taking big risks are highly encouraged). Story telling, improvisation, and doodling are all inter-related for me, when I am doing any of these endeavors there are never enough hours in the day.