Top tips on how to doodle

Yellow and black doodles on notepad

Doodling is a brilliant task; it brings your creativity to life in such an easy, accessible way. Maybe you doodled a lot when you were at school and want to get back into it, or you're a complete newbie but want to give doodling a real go? Whatever your reasons are, we’ve conjured up a whole list of ideas, tips and tricks for you to take on board for when you next pick up your pens and pencils.

We’ve covered it all, from the benefits of doodling and professional scribbles to things to doodle when you’re bored. So, read on to get started; you’ll be a doodling whizz in no time!

What is doodling?

Doodle of pink and blue ballerinas

Doodles are simple drawings that are formed wherever your imagination takes you, from artistic scrolls to cartoon-like scribbles. It’s another form of illustration artwork that’s simple enough to do without a lot of guidance, which is part of its appeal!

You’d typically doodle while doing something else, like taking a phone call, listening to music, sitting in a meeting or to cure your boredom. We know, everyone thinks they have a round-about idea of what doodling is, but you might not have doodled before, just discussed this drawing process in depth (or noticed doodle-style in someone’s notepad or portfolio before).

What do doodles consist of?

Generally speaking, patterns, shapes, images and detailed drawings are classed as doodles – it’s really down to where your mind takes you when you start drawing. And these types of things are great things to doodle when boredom takes over, as you can jot away without really thinking about how it’s going to turn out.

What you’ll need for dream doodling

To start doodling, you need the right equipment to make the process as seamless as possible. So, you’ll need the following things to get your doodle on:

  • Coloured pens
  • Coloured pencils
  • Black fine-line pens
  • A circle maker.

These bits and bobs are all available from your local craft store, so be sure to pick these items up so you can doodle whenever you feel like it.

How to get started with doodling

Keith Haring blue, yellow and purple doodle illustration

Find the perfect spot

If you’re wondering how to doodle efficiently, first thing’s first – you need to find a haven that encourages relaxation. Where you choose to doodle is really important, as you want to be comfortable and at ease.

These are some of our top recommendations, so just choose the perfect room, light a candle and doodle away:

Your office

It might be that your study is the best place to doodle in because everything’s neatly organised, and you have a comfortable seat to sink into. Plus, being surrounded by your current office wall art will inspire you. 

Your bedroom

The most relaxing room for you might be your bedroom, as this might be where you make your all-important phone calls. If that’s the case, pop a sketchbook and pencils/pens by the side of your bed for when you fancy a quick doodle, to create easy bedroom artwork in a flash.

On the sofa

Calling a friend in your living room for a catchup, or do you just find your lounge the best place to relax in? Well then, curl up on your sofa and start doodling – you could even keep your equipment in an accessible spot, like storage cupboards or on your coffee table.

Don’t let perfectionism take over

Doodling in self care notepad

We all want our creative bursts to be as perfect as possible, but it’s no use doodling to relax and rest your brain if you’re going to criticise what you’ve created. So, make sure you check in with yourself when you’re reviewing your doodle, rather than letting your mind get away with you and trying to tidy up your final product.

Some easy doodling ideas

Cut out doodles of hearts and animals against striped background

If you’re a little stuck for ideas on what to doodle and how to get started, we’re here to help make things a whole lot easier.

Start with creating basic shapes

Thinking of what to doodle when you start the process isn’t always easy, and you shouldn’t be putting pressure on yourself to create a masterpiece  - that’s not the point of this creative process. Instead, start drawing the simplest shapes out there and work on your ideas as they come to you.

Just choose from the following shapes to doodle:

  • Circles
  • Ovals
  • Squares
  • Rectangles
  • Kite shapes.

For instance, you could doodle a picture of a book, a television, a swimming pool, an apple or even a moon – just use basic shapes and transform them into sketches!

Play with line thickness

Man's hand holding red pen doodling sketches in notepad

When you’re doodling, the main knack for this type of art is experimenting with line thickness. Doing so can change a circle into a sphere and so on, so you’ll be working with winning drawings as soon as you know it.

So, collect a variety of pens with varying thicknesses, and notice the different sizes of the nibs on each when you’re doodling away. To create professional doodles, we’d recommend drawing the outer lines of your sketches nice and thick, but keeping the details smaller in size and finer in design.

What are the benefits of doodling?

Black and white cut out doodle held in front of scenic field

Doodling brings so many great benefits because it’s not just about the art itself, but how this type of art makes you feel, how freeing it is and more importantly, how easy it is to pick up (or pick back up). But what are these benefits of doodling exactly?

1.       Doodling relaxes your busy brain

Doodling is so freeing; it gives you a sense of escapism because you’re letting your imagination run free. So, when the stresses of daily life take their toll, you can turn to doodling as a way to relax and refresh. And these psychological rewards include the joy you feel when putting pen to paper!

If you want to start doodling or doodle more frequently to reap these benefits, a few ideas spring to mind:

  • Start doodling on your lunch break.
  • For a little time out, draw a quick doodle after finishing large projects at work – you could do this instead of making your usual cup of tea!
  • Invite friends over for a relaxing, cosy day and doodle a picture for each other.
  • Round up the kids in your family and teach them how to doodle like you, and hold a competition for the greatest doodles.

2.     Doodling brings memories back!

As well as the artistic benefits, doodling is said to ignite your memories, which is another great reason to pick it up (or return to it after a long break away).

A study by Jackie Andrade, published by Wiley Online Library has proven this theory on doodling, as 40 people participated in an experiment to monitor a mock telephone message, listing the names of people attending a party. Half (20) of these people were randomly asked to doodle shaded printed shapes while they listened to the phone call.

And the results were that “the doodling group performed better on the monitoring task and recalled 29% more information on a surprise memory test. [So], unlike many dual-task situations, doodling while working can be beneficial.”

3.     Doodling boosts your creativity

When you doodle, your creativity is never ending, it practically flows through you like the blood in your veins. This is because when you’re scribbling away, there doesn’t need to be a specific strategy or plan of action, it can just be an endless stream of ideas that run from your brain through to your paper. You never know what you’ll end up producing when you’re doodling, and that’s the beauty of it!

Keep calm and doodle on!

After discovering all about the art of doodling, how to doodle and what to doodle, you’ll be ready to start your next scribbles! Simply take our tips and transform them into fun creations. And if you’re hoping to find more insightful information on crafting ideas, or anything art-related, head over to our blog.