In todays’s art podcast we are going to talk about the joys of doodling and how drawing for fun can boost your creativity
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Doodling lets you have fun with the process
So, over time, once you found your place in the art world and you have found the thing you’re best at, and that people start expecting you to do, whilst that is a good place to find yourself in, it’s easy then, to forget to play and experiment with other things. And I am so guilty of this. I get so lost in painting, that my sketchbooks start gathering dust, but actually they are the place where I can have the most fun!
And it is it’s such a joy to just have fun with the process and see what happens, instead of having this image in my head that I find myself trying to match.
Doodling gives you freedom
Doodling gives you the freedom to draw whatever you like, however, you like with no rules. If you usually draw faces like me you might doodle completely different things, like shapes or cute characters or landscapes. Basically anything goes. I would say my sketchbooks are more like doodle book. They aren’t things of beauty, they are just little experiments. Some which work and some don’t.
Bring doodle ideas into your more refined work
You might also discover new things that you can bring into your more refined work. Perhaps you draw something in a way you never tried before or doodled unusual colours together and realise how much you like it. Maybe you overlapped some doodles and liked the way that looked.
Doodling kills your inner critic
What I find as well, is it’s a time when my inner critic has far less to say because I’ve already decided that what I’m doing just for fun and I have no expectations. And that’s great because it’s the polar opposite to when I paint! And as much as I have learned to ignore that inner critic, It’s nice to spend some time doing something without it wittering on in my head.
And you can have a lot of fun deliberately creating doodles that are probably going to be bad, and likely even silly. But, weirdly they will often make the most fun additions to your sketchbook.
One of my favourite things that I love to draw, is blind-contour faces. It’s something I can do in 5 minutes, and yet they are the pages I like looking back on the most. They are just so quirky, and again, the polar opposite to what I’m know for, which is realism painting.
Doodling is like meditation
It really is a time just to let your mind flow. I guess for me it’s a form of meditation, where I can just scribble, be engrossed and not worry.
Doodling lets you try things out
Doodling lets you try things that you might never do in a “real” drawing for fear of it being rubbish. What it a person’s eyes were sticking out half way out of their head or you combined unrelated things. I remember drawing some little cartoons once where I combined animals and flowers – dog daisy, cow bell, fox glove etc
Doodling can help you get out of a creative slump
If you are in a creative slump, doodling is a really good way to get your creative juices flowing again.
So I’ve been getting back into the habit of daily sketching, even if it’s for just a few minutes. And the thing about daily sketching, is that you don’t always feel like doing it!
But, what I find is that if I start with something mindless, it gets me into a different mindset and I’m in a much more creative mood within minutes.
Sometimes the simple act of putting pen to paper and moving it around can make you want to create.
Doodling can help you warm up
It can also help you to warm up before a more polished drawing and it can help you to mentally focus before a painting session.
So, sometimes I can go in the art studio and it takes me a while to get the noise out of my head: All of those things that I forgot to do earlier, the things I need to do later… All the things that are constantly swimming around in my head.
If I do something like a blind contour drawing, my mind is instantly quieter. So it makes that process of getting in the right mindset to paint, happen a lot quicker. I think it’s because it brings you into the moment, into the present and that is exactly where you need to be when you are painting.
Work out a visual language by doodling
Doodling can help you work out a visual language. When I heard people say this in the past I used to thing what on earth is a visual language, but now I get it. It’s our shorthand for how we draw something. For instance when you sketch a tree maybe you use a thick marker for the trunk or perhaps you draw a series of different lines. Everyone does it differently.. Doodling can help you experiment and work out how you like drawing things.
Doodling is a stress reliever
It is also a fantastic stress reliever and it really helps me to unwind. Actually I always make sure I draw for at least 30 minutes on a Monday morning before work. Mondays are the most stressful, so it get’s me in a much better mindset before I start.
I’ve never been good at meditation, but it has exactly the same effect, the only difference being that you’ve actually created something in the process.
And because of that effect, which is basically quietening down your mind, it also allows your creative ideas to flow much more freely.
Some doodling ideas to try
Hold your pen or pencil loosely at the end, make some marks and then make them into something. It’s a bit like those Phsycologist inkblots when you have to decide what they are. I have had fun creating a lot of different characters this way. These were ideas I would never have had otherwise
We show an exercise like this in our characters and cartoon course
Years ago I also used to prepare sketchbook pages with random ripped up bits of coloured paper that I would stick down. You then turn the paper different ways around and doodle over the top to make them into something
As I mentioned earlier, my favourite thing is blind contour drawing and I’ll often throw a bit of watercolour on afterwards and I always love the result.
Continuous line, that’s another good one.
Try zentangling where you draw shapes and repeating lines – check out the work of Anna Zubarev who was on the podcast EP 113
Another fun exercise is to put down blobs of paint let them dry then doodle into them
You can also doodle over things – like old book pages, music sheets, old tickets, napkins etc. It makes for a much more interesting page and also gets rid of the fear of the blank page. If you like what you do then you can always add colour afterwards.
You could try incorporating text into your doodles, so it could become like an art journal too.
I love when people add text to their pages. And your writing doesn’t have to be neat either. In fact for the purpose of doodling, probably the messier the better!
The main purpose of doodling is just to have fun and give your mind five minutes piece.
And if you think you don’t have five minutes, then just keep a sketchbook next to your toilet!
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This week’s creative question
Q. What is the weirdest thing you have ever painted/drawn?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.