The Art of Doodling

Lost Somewhere Along the Way –

When I was little, like most kids, I doodled A LOT. From preschool to 6th grade, I remember doodling lots of cats, butterflies, and big eyed characters. I even enjoyed coming up with storylines and expanding a few doodles into short storybooks.

Pencil Doodle

But sometime after 6th grade I just stopped doodling, and I’m not sure why. In grade school, most of the days were filled with subjects taught by the same teacher. And most of the work was done during class. Which often left plenty of free time for doodling or reading in-between lessons.

So, maybe I lost my doodling once middle school started. Maybe it was the pressures of switching to 7 or 8 class periods a day, each with a different teacher. And each focused on lectures with busy class work filling the period, or homework assigned for later.

Pencil Doodle Detail

Either way, I think it’s a shame I lost my love of doodling. It’s such an innocent form of creativity. There’s no pressure, just anticipation. Anticipation to see what results from the act of doodling. Maybe it’s another cat to add to your repertoire of cat doodles, or maybe it’s something new…something you’ve never seen or even imagined. You never know where a doodle will take you!

Doodling as a Second Language –

Even though I lost my love of doodling somewhere along the way, I didn’t lose my love of art. (Hallelujah!) Whether it was art class in middle school and high school, or art and design courses in college, I pretty much always had something art related happening in my life.

Watercolor Doodle

Heck, even during my primarily speech-language-hearing days in college, I was still getting my fill of art through various art history courses. Needless to say, I am very thankful and grateful my love of art never escaped me. However, I think it wasn’t until I hit my college days that I even realized I had lost my love of doodling.

You see…in college art and design courses, a good portion of the students and professors practically doodle as a second language. It’s a skill they’ve worked on most of—if not all of—their lives. (That’s why they’re in art and design, duh!) I, on the other hand, had worked on my skill of note taking. So, as you can imagine, I was pretty taken aback when I’d compare my daily notes…to their daily “notes.”

Watercolor Doodle Detail

Luckily for me, my lack of doodling was not graded against me, as doodling was not formally a part of the curriculum. And luckily for me, if it came down to it, I could always draw which is (in my opinion) a good stand-in for doodling. However, I couldn’t help but envy those students and professors who doodled as a second language. Because it is a very valuable, creativity enhancing, and skill building tool for artists and designers to have.

An Effort to Doodle –

Can you see where I’m going with this…? After last week’s post about “Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Badly” (click here to read), now seems like a good time to throw myself back into doodling. I don’t know if, or when, my love of doodling will be revived, but for something that once gave me so much joy…what’s the harm in trying?

So, in an effort to begin doodling, I reached out to the resident doodle expert—my husband! Unless you’ve had a class with Damon, you probably don’t know he’s an expert doodler. I say expert, because he practically power doodled his way through college…and law school. (Who does that?!) Every time I saw his handwritten notes, there was a 1 to 1 ratio of doodles to notes. Obviously, he’s primarily an auditory learner—lucky!

Final Doodle

I asked Damon for his advice on doodling, and here’s what he had to offer: “Sometimes I just want to draw, so I just go for shapes or geometric patterns, because I like to find interesting patterns. Other times, I feel creative and just come up with a story or a dragon and start drawing. And then sometimes I think I’m a great artist and try to draw realistic, or with perspective.”

Heeding his advice, I chose the easiest of the three options: doodling geometric patterns. If you look at the doodle featured in this post, you’ll notice I didn’t get very far into the geometric pattern before I was churning out flowers and polka dots! But that’s how doodling works…you never know where it’ll take you!

Final Doodle Detail

So, go ahead, pick up a pencil, pen, marker, or paintbrush of your choice, and start doodling! It can take as little or as long as your time permits; as small or large as your format can fit; as detailed or minimal as you desire; and as plain or colorful as your materials allow. The main thing to remember is that IT’S JUST A DOODLE—enjoy where it takes you!




  1. I had a student this year that doodled constantly. She told me if there was paper in front of here she couldn’t help but draw. She is quite talented. I asked her to make a jungle scene full of animals which she gave me on the last day of school. I will always treasure it.

    • That’s awesome! I bet she’ll always remember you appreciating her artwork. Who knows, maybe she’ll make a career out of her artistic abilities one day!

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