Stuck somewhere, waiting or listening with pen in hand? Chances are you’ll start doodling. Printed letters grow faces and legs, an underlined word turns into a pile of boxes, or a decorative border appears round the edge. Wait long enough and the whole thing may get blocked out or scribbled over!
What are doodles?
Why do people doodle?
What can a doodle tell us?
How do you interpret a doodle?
Size and spacing
Style and strokes
What are doodles?
Doodles may be shapes, patterns, drawings or scribbles – anything we produce in an idle moment while the focus of our attention is elsewhere. It’s amazing how creative we can be without even trying! Strangely, doodles seem to take shape of their own accord, as if they had a life of their own in a parallel world. So you may suddenly find a circled word transformed into a sun beaming down on a desert island, punctuation turned into arrows or flowers, or a lover’s name emerging bold as brass from a memo.
“Because we doodle without thinking our doodles can be very revealing – like Freudian slips or body language that we are not aware of.”
“Doodles may be shapes, patterns, drawings or scribbles – anything we produce in an idle moment while the focus of our attention is elsewhere.”
Your doodles may meander round the page or be gone over so intensely that you’ve made a hole in the paper. They may be precise, slapdash, complex or childlike, but they are unlikely to look like works of art. Doodles are a form of drawing, but the more contrived they look, the greater the conscious effort that has gone into them. So, strictly speaking, some of the wonderful doodles in this book are not really doodles at all because they have been given a lot of thought and done specially for the occasion. Not that this makes them any less intriguing!
why do people doodle?
Meetings and phone calls can be very tedious and some people hate doing nothing.
They get tense and frustrated if they are short of time or have no opportunity to voice their opinions, so they while away dead time by doodling.
Doodling helps relieve boredom and frustration and the urge to doodle gets stronger as stress levels rise.
Doodling is like a safety valve that allows pressure to be dispelled in a playful and creative way.
Doodling has been defined as ‘to scribble or draw aimlessly, to play or improvise idly’. The word ‘play’ is interesting because we now know that play helps children deal with situations they find difficult. For example, playing ‘doctors and nurses’ can help a child cope with anxiety relating to illness.
When you are on automatic pilot and only half attending to what you are doing, you may find yourself thinking of something that has been at the back of your mind. Underlying preoccupations surface and, before you know it, take shape as doodles. Doodling maps the wandering of your mind as you plan a new venture, worry about money, or dream of a lover or holiday. At an unconscious level this seemingly aimless pastime may actually be helping people sort out their problems.
Doodles are like fragments of a map that shows how someone’s mind works.