Doodling: As a Creative Outlet and a “Stress Buster”
Most of us have sat in some boring meeting, or maybe talked on a long telephone call, and we’ve picked up a pen or pencil and a piece of paper, and
we aimlessly ‘doodled’ to pass the time. Doodles are simple drawings that can have actual representational meaning or may just be composed of random patterns and abstract lines. We might make squiggles or geometric shapes or sketchy images – there is no absolute look to a doodle. Doodling is pure play – often aimless and free. We move our pencils naturally and spontaneously, and we also don’t worry a whole lot how our doodles look. They can be spontaneous, and may look incomplete, rough and simple.
We may doodle on an old envelope or a scrap of paper laying nearby, or even on the borders of the page of notes from your meeting – there is no special format that doodling should be created.
How to Doodle? It’s a very simple and spontaneous action: Begin by letting your pencil or pen go in any direction it wants – you might end of with a jumble of lines & spirals that overlap each other, or you may circle back to where you started, so that the line encloses as an abstract shape. At this point, you may add more lines or shapes to build on your initial doodle. As mentioned earlier, there’s no set formula – just draw (or add) to whatever comes to your mind.
Your doodle may be made up of an unlimited amount of shapes: Geometrics and waves, tangles and shape clusters, building blocks, Silhouetting and shading, to name just a few motifs. But your doodle may also take on the shape of a comic-style face or figure, fantasy landscapes or letters and numbers – as we keep saying: Anything goes!
As artists and designers, we naturally think of doodling as an essential part of our sketching and idea generation (brainstorming) activities. But doodling is also recognized as a way to aid a person’s memory and to retain information, and as a stress-relieving technique. Doodling is often incorporated into art therapy, allowing its users to slow down, focus and de-stress. As one art therapist stated, “Doodling becomes a way of problem solving on an unconscious level.”
In the business world, companies may use a form of doodling as “brainstorming” – a way to problem solve and come up with ideas for new products or programs.
As an artist/educator, I personally find doodling to be a form of relaxing meditation, and it works as a ‘stress buster’ to my daily concerns. Occasionally, what begins as a mindless doodle might even turn into an idea for an illustration or finished logo design!