Do you Doodle? Put me in a meeting with paper and pen and I’m there doodling. Are professional artists an extension of casual doodlers? Who knows. All I know is that I find it relaxing and makes important meetings bearable. So when I doodle am I goofing off or am I tapping into my creative juices and imagination? Just how many of us when we drift takeout pencils with us and go to another place? To a doodler a canvas can be anything from a napkin, to a pad of paper to even the back of an envelope no surface is really safe.
One thing for sure, a doodler gets no respect. Even the Oxford English dictionary reduces the doodle to a drawing made absentmindedly. I don’t think that is an accurate representation of a doodler. I don’t think it’s a mindless activity. I think it engages the mind. I know I doodle when I’m bored. Perhaps it helps me think. Junni Brown is so passionate about doodling that she even wrote a book about it. The book is called The Doodle Revolution. In her book she wants to change the perception of doodlers and acknowledge the habit as a valuable tool or a valuable technique.
On her Austin based consultant agency she offers doodling workshops for her clients who are major retailers and media companies. There are skeptics everywhere who still say it is a waste of time but I think they just don’t understand that it promotes thinking and creativity. There are people that are so proud of their doodling that they save their creations. The longer the meetings, the more detailed the doodles. The idea that doodling can add to more concentration is attracting researchers. In a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology in 2009 an experiment was recorded where some people were told to doodle during a detailed phone call. The doodlers remembered more details from the call than the non doodling group.
It is one of the most under analyzed human activities. Some doodles become into a work of art. At some point it is the doodle that becomes more important than the chatter heard in the background. It keeps you just attentive enough to be able to do two tasks at once. Some people say that dull people don’t doodle. It can become an obsession to some where they will do 5 to 10 doodles per day. Everyone will have their own unique style and becomes drawings by the unconscious mind. It is where your hand just takes over in a soothing and relaxing way.
Many of our U.S. Presidents doodled. John F. Kennedy liked to draw sailboats. Ronald Regan drew cowboys. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was caught doodling during a United Nations security council meeting. Mark Twain was a habitual doodler. Do doodles define us? All I know is that it’s a habit that we shouldn’t be all that embarrassed about. If it gets us through a boring day, then why not? It is simply a form of expression that gives many comfort. I think it’s a sign of brilliance. A way of multitasking . Keeping your mind busy without really thinking about anything. If you are a doodler, be proud. If you are not a doodler, than continue to stare at the wall throughout your boring business meeting. Or better yet, try something new. Doodle!