Doodle and Creativity

A Working Team

Doodle and creativity; if you consider the phrase as a whole you will realize how perfectly matched the two are. When you combine the two as a working team they can’t be beat. They compliment each other perfectly because they both come from the same place, your imagination.

Doodling isn’t restricted

The entire point of doodles is that no matter what they turn out like, they are perfect. It’s golden moments of not thinking about anything but creative freedom. You can use pencil, pen, paint, charcoal, anything goes. Use color, or don’t, it’s all up to you. There is no wrong or right way to doodle.

You expect nothing from of a doodle

When you think of doodling you think of play. Perhaps you’re filling in time while you are doing something considered more important, but basically you’re bored out of your skull. You doodle to entertain yourself.

Doodles are just squiggles you did to fill in some time. They’re unimportant, trivial, time fillers. And because that’s what they are, you enjoy doing them.

You even show them to others. “Check this out, I did this through Simpson’s proposal.” You don’t expect a critique and will most often get, “You have to show this to Claire, she’ll love it.” You show it to Claire too, and then you forget about it. Your doodle has served its purpose. Simply to be.

Even if someone would criticize your masterpiece, you would just laugh it off, and next week, next proposal, you would do another one. No worries. None at all. It’s just a doodle.

And creativity?

You expect big things. Huge things. Your creativity has a purpose. It is supposed to make a living for you. Gain the respect of people you know – and perfect strangers too. Make you famous. All that and it’s supposed to relax and fulfill you, too.

When was the last time you showed off your creativity with the same carefree heart as your doodle? I’ll bet a long, long time ago, if ever.

When you first started out being creative you didn’t think about what it could get you.

Chances are you didn’t even think about being creative – you were just doing something you liked to do. All that other stuff came later. So did all the blocks and false starts, all the procrastinating, and inner judgement.

If you could hold the freedom of your doodle and your creativity’s passion in the same hand, then mesh the two together, you would form an unbeatable team.

Doodling as a freeing exercise.

Get yourself some paper, and something that will leave a mark. For the next 20 minutes we’re going to doodle.

Now mess up that nice clean sheet with absolutely anything.

If you hesitated for even a second you were among about 75% of the population.

Most of us don’t know how to let go.

We hesitate. We try to decide what kind of paper we should use, blank sheet? Can’t use that envelope right in front of us, or that lined sheet, or that empty corner of the notepad we were using. Then we had to decide on pen or pencil. Then came the biggest decision – lines, or curlicues, or a house, a hat, a clown?

You missed the entire point. This is a freeing exercise. Let your doodle be born and become what nature intended it to be – a doodle – an aimless drawing. That’s its purpose in creation. It isn’t meant to be anything in particular, unless that’s the fancy that took you at the time. Just let it happen.

This is not a test. This is the real thing. A doodle.

And creativity can just ride along.

Let’s try again.

Simply make a mark with anything on anything. Make lots of marks. Squiggy up your paper. Any paper.

Don’t rush yourself, it can be work to learn how to play.

I did say 20 minutes, because I wanted you to come back at some point, but mostly because it takes a bit of time to get into the spirit of doing something, even having fun. When you first plan any free exercise you have to give yourself enough time to really settle into it. After you get into the practice of freeing yourself you can doodle for as long, or short a time, as you like. For now, plan on 20 minutes.

Let’s combine your doodle and creativity
Exercise 2

You can prepare for this exercise, it’s a step removed from free doodling.

Remember there is no right or wrong way to do a doodle, that still holds. I like to repeat that just to keep it in the forefront. You can not mess this up, there is no such thing as a bad doodle. And creativity is just doodling on a higher scale.

Put some time aside, 20 minutes is good, but you can cut it a bit, not fewer than 10 though, your brain won’t get on board before your time is up.

  • Get all your supplies together. Get something that will make marks and something to mark on.
  • Go ahead, basically decide what to doodle

Your doodle should be anything you feel comfortable with. I like to doodle with symbols – they’re not real symbols just a series of curlicues and lines which I like to add color to. You can use a house, a cat, just a mass of shading, it doesn’t matter. Go where ever your imagination takes you.

  • Settle yourself, a deep breath works wonders.
  • While keeping your creative project in mind, but knowing you are doodling and the outcome isn’t important, begin to doodle.

You’re actively thinking of your project this time. Let the marks give you ideas. Make marks that you think will spark ideas. Do a bunch of marks and look for ideas.

You can stop and write any ideas down, they can fade quickly if you don’t. The point of this doodling is to get ideas flowing for a specific project, so it’s ok to break your concentration when you get one. If you get a real shot of inspiration and want to stop the doodle and get to work, go ahead.

This is another doodle and creativity exercise to try:

  • Put your marker to the page, without lifting it roll around, crossing, crisscrossing, leaving wide open spaces, and some tiny ones. Cover the page until you’re happy with it.
  • Make a few copies of your masterpiece.
  • Now fill in certain spots with color, or just fill them in if color doesn’t do it for you.
  • On the other sheets fill in different spots.
  • Hold your sheets up beside each other and see how different each one is, even though they are the same!

The next step for any of your doodles

Show them off to someone!

This usually puts on the brakes, all four wheels, for a lot of people. To start you can just leave them around where someone will spot them. Later, actually make sure someone sees them. Don’t wait forever on this one, take the jump.


It can be paralyzing to think someone is going to see your creative work. Many people never get past creating to the ‘show it’ stage, and too often it’s a sad waste. They are literally terrified into inactivity when they think someone will see their work. Surely they will judge. And people will.

No matter if you are an absolute bona fide genius, you will create things that some people will love, and others will hate. Think about this, realize it, and accept it.

Showing off your doodles is a good place to start. Because they are just doodles they will not make or break you. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of them. It’s good practice for real life. The more you practice baring yourself the easier it will get. Show off your doodle.

It will take a few tries to free your ideas

Your ideas will be hampered by you concentrating on your project, and more hampered thinking someone will see them. As you get comfortable, and I promise you will, you will be able to focus your doodling with generating truly free, creative projects as a combined exercise.

After a time the concept of being totally free and working within some form of structure will blend, until finally, they will work in harmony with each other without you forcing them together, – doodle and creativity, the perfect team.