How to start Stop judging Whoever taught us that what we draw is right or wrong? Maybe it is self inflicted, but essentially, doodling requires freedom from these kinds of constraints. It really is the biggest key to drawing and enjoying it. Stop judging what you draw and start simply exploring. If you need a kick off, just draw a freehand border. Who cares if it's bumpy and not straight? Inside your unique border add a squiggle, a curve, a dot on the end, it doesn't matter, just start. Don't even think about what you are drawing for awhile and never ever think that something you've drawn isn't 'right'. There are no right or wrongs when we create... it is just expression.
Essentially all you need to doodle is a pen and something to work on, but trying different papers and writing implements can be fun and an expression of your uniqueness. I love a visual diary or art journal but maybe you could try playing around with different "papers" for inspiration? Use the pages from an old book, or trace something you like the look of, but then take it (creatively) somewhere personal. There is also old newspaper, cardboard, brown paper...
Next is the pen. Sharpies are excellent and come in different sizes. Felt tips are great but maybe you are used to a pencil? Try black paper with a white gel pen or even white charcoal.
Techniques to get you going The key with doodling is to find you own style. Start to really enjoy whatever it is you draw, forgetting about whether it looks like anything or not. It's all about enjoying the process. Some old techniques for exploring your style are: draw someone/something with your non-dominant hand. draw something from an upside down picture. close your eyes and draw from memory.
- just start drawing with a swirly line, now add some dots, now some crosses... let loose, be free.
- think basic shapes and then perhaps expand into more complicated ones.
- start drawing a line and keep swirling it around the page up and down, all over... keep going for awhile then take your pencil off the page and see what jumps out at you. Add some definition to highlight what you see.
There are loads of doodling websites out there offering zillions of examples to inspire you. But it is crucial that you find your own form and you will only do that by enjoying what you create and not being critical. Give yourself that freedom. The world of art journaling has become super popular lately and is worth googling to broaden your horizons about how people are doing it. If you go on a holiday, why not create an art travel journal? This combines doodling with travel pictures, tickets, menus, business cards, tourist pamphlets,etc. The end result is a fun, creative memory that will be enjoyed long after.
Don't just stop at black pen and white paper. As you get more familiar with your own style, why not try adding some interesting extras to enhance your doodling? For example, some simple watercolour paint can be washed around lines for interesting effect or shading with watercolour pencils. There is also glitter, fabric, sequins (bling lovers take note), scrapbook paper, rubber stamps, rub-ons (good fun) and anything you can think of, to glue in, trace over, paint over or whatever. The sky is the limit. Check out some amazing examples of mixed media on Youtube if you want to take your doodling down this path. Remember you can always cut out your doodles, mix them around and glue them back on a background.
Ideas to use your doodles
- Start a journal - instead of writing what you're feeling or thinking, why not draw it?
- Bookmark - Cut your doodles up, paste them on or simply doodle straight onto a piece of cardboard (can be cut out of a cereal pack for interesting effect). Tie a ribbon or string in the end and there's a bookmark for you or a friend.
- Gift tags - Using technique above.
- Convert your doodles into a wall art masterpiece by tracing your doodles onto a canvas or just do it straight onto the canvas/paper/wood/cardboard or whatever you have lying around.