Keep Calm and Doodle!by Nicola on 2015-10-11
Doodling is Fun: and it’s Good for you, too!
Dr Nicola Davies
Doodling is a simple pastime. All you really need is something to draw with and something to draw on. Doodlers draw with no clear plan in mind. They simply draw lines, curves, people, plants or patterns at random as the mood takes them. When people doodle, they are often thought of as being bored or not paying attention, but nowadays, we know that isn’t necessarily true.
The Benefits of Doodling
- It helps you to concentrate
A 2009 study conducted in the UK showed that people who doodled while listening to a phone conversation actually remembered 29% more of the information they heard than those who tried to take notes. When we are listening to someone else, our minds can wander, but if we engage in a non-verbal activity like doodling, we’re actually able to concentrate better on what’s being said. Our minds like to multi-task, but doodling isn’t a distraction unless you are supposed to be busy with a visual task.
- It can be a form of note-taking
Students and journalists report that they often remember the details of meetings or lectures better by creating doodles that will remind them of what was going on in the board room or class. Trying to think of words would distract them, but when they look at their doodles, they can remember what was being said and what was happening at the time when they drew certain elements.
- It is a form of artistic expression
We have all heard that expressing ourselves through art is a great creative outlet, but when we actually have to draw or paint something, we can feel intimidated. Doodling takes the pressure off. Nobody expects a doodle to turn into a work of art, even though some doodles can be very beautiful. There are even professional artists who find that doodling gives them new inspiration – or whose doodles have become artworks in their own right.
- It helps you to get new ideas
Have you ever gone to bed thinking about a problem you can’t solve, only to find yourself waking up in the morning with the answer? Quieting your conscious thoughts seems to help your subconscious mind process information better so that you can get a fresh perspective.
Keep Calm and Doodle
Anybody who doodles will tell you that it helps them relax, but some are even taking it a step further and calling it ‘graphotherapy,’ hailing it as a breakthrough in stress-reduction techniques. Whatever you call it, you will find that doodling really is a calming activity. Try it when you’re feeling stressed out and see what you think!
Does Doodling Reveal our Secrets?
Some people believe that the way we write or draw says a lot about what we are actually thinking. Others say that while our doodles might provide some clues, they don’t really reveal much about our thoughts and personalities. You might decide that you actually want your doodle to take on a meaning, or you can just relax and draw!
The back of an envelope or the margins of an exercise book and a pen or pencil are the most basic tools of the doodler, but you can turn doodling into an exciting project or even a sociable one. Grab a big piece of paper and invite friends to join you, or add a touch of creativity to a dull concrete wall. Some shop owners are even encouraging doodling while you queue or shop; just look at the doodles below. Maybe you could suggest a community doodling project to someone you know can help make this happen?
The Artists Way
You may also be surprised at how pretty some of your doodles are, and that’s a pity when your drawing isn’t on a nice piece of paper. Get a sketchbook and some colours to play around with – doodling is a great way to while away a cold winter evening. Just 30 minutes per day doing something creative really helps you to unwind. And who knows? You might transcend the doodle and create real art!