Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

Why you should never resist the urge to doodle

Self DevelopmentKerrie Woodhouse

Today, I had the urge to add doodles to the petals of my flower face. And one should never resist the urge to doodle.

I have been a doodling fan for quite some considerable time. I stumbled upon Zentangle very early on in my creative journey. I was drawn to it as a less intimidating form of artistic expression. Life drawing, perspective, proportions, value scales.... these are all pretty intimidating to a beginner. But lines and dots and repeated patterns? Everyone can have a go at that. Little did I realise how soothing it was. I concluded that it was like meditation for people who struggle to meditate.

Aside from Zentangle, I often feel drawn to including doodle patterns in my journal pages. (If you want to have a go at this you could hop over to Joanne Sharpe's website and take one of her doodle classes - she is a lot of fun and so are her classes.)

I realise I was originally prey to the invisible indoctrination of the 'doodling is the antithesis of intellectual thought movement'. Not for serious people.

It turns out that science came to the fore a few years ago and proved this to be false*. Doodling actually has been shown to enhance memory function, and stimulate creativity. Although we generally tend to believe that doodling signifies a loss of attention or concentration, it is in fact a preemptive measure that engages the brain and prevents it from losing focus.

In her terrific TED talk, Sunni Brown explains that we  take in information in 4 ways:

  • auditory
  • visual
  • reading/writing
  • kinesthetic

In order for deep learning and engagement with this information, two of these forms must be simultaneously present, or one form plus an emotional experience. Doodling combines all four forms and the possibility of an emotional experience.

Well, I don't need any more convincing than that. But I have just added another book to my reading list. Sunni Brown's Doodle Revolution. I will tell you all about it in due course... Have you already read it? What did you think?

*Andrade, J. (2010). What does doodling do? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24: 100–106. doi: 10.1002/acp.1561.

Explore the rest of the Flower Faces Series.