Most of us have doodled on the back of our notebooks as students to fight boredom during class.
Tyler Foust was no different. While the patient safety nurse was in grad school about three years ago, he found his mind wandering during a four-hour lecture.
Tyler wanted to concentrate so he can understand what was being taught, so he started doodling repeating lines on paper.
And he discovered it was the perfect activity for him to stay in tune with the lecture. Tyler was able to keep his focus because doodling prevented him from checking on his phone.
Since then, Tyler became fascinated with the challenge of drawing abstract images with a single, non-touching line. He also became interested in optical art and art that looks three-dimensional.
“I enjoy the stress of having to make sure every turn is intentional,” he told My Modern Met. “The challenge of keeping the line as compact as possible without ever letting it touch. Keeping the gaps as consistent as possible. All of this while creating an image with hidden images inside.”
He decided to take some pictures of his doodles and posted them online. Shortly after, someone saw one of his posts and reached out to him. That person told him he has autism and that he always looked forward to his posts because he would print them and color them.
“This was thrilling to me!” said Tyler in an interview with Voyage Dallas. “To know that my doodles had some benefit to someone else made me feel pretty good.”
Not long after, Tyler got another message from another person on a forum. This man told him that he was a fan and asked if he could buy his art.
Tyler was caught off guard with the guy’s request—it was the first time someone wanted to buy anything he drew. Unsure how much to charge for his classroom doodles, Tyler asked him to name his price. The man asked if he would be willing to take $250.
Tyler immediately laughed it off, thinking it was just a scam. But he played along and gave him his Venmo details. The next thing he knew, the payment went through his account within five minutes!
“This was a pivotal moment for me. It was around this moment that I played with the idea that I was an artist to some degree. I doubled down on my efforts to draw during my 4-hour lectures. I continued to post more and more. As I posted more art, more commissioned projects came my way,” he said.
After a year of creating more of his one-line doodles, Tyler realized his art was bringing him out of his tuition debt. He then began taking on bigger projects, including designing for companies like The Hartford and the Innova Disc Golf Company.
Tyler also partnered with a clothing company based in Austin. That company did some research and informed him that he was the most upvoted artist on Reddit.
Tyler began doing live streams, and most of the time, he would have over 100K people watching him. Currently, he is building a larger house with a studio built into it so he can work on larger-scale projects.
This talented artist has sold art worldwide, but he has yet to showcase his creations in a gallery because of the pandemic.
The road hasn’t been easy, but Tyler is grateful for everything.
“I have been beyond fortunate to have such a good support base from fans of my work, along with my wife, who helps me package art for travel,” he said.
Check out the gallery below to see more of Tyler’s mesmerizing one-line doodles.
Watch Tyler at work in the video below.