Sunday, October 12, 2014

Do You Doodle?

RHYS BOWEN:  I am a compulsive doodler. When I'm listening to a lecture, taking notes at a seminar, waiting to board a plane or even plotting out the next scene in my books I doodle. Usually up the left hand margin of a page. I am told that what you doodle reveals a lot about your personality, and apparently you are more outgoing if you doodle on the right side. So I am a shrinking violet, as many of you know!

I flipped through old notebooks and found a fairly typical page of my doodles:

So what do they say about me? Well, first, I am quite a cheerful person. I'm not doodling graveyards or chainsaws, but birds and flowers. And the way my doodles all work is this. I start repeating a pattern until something emerges: I draw circles around circles until they remind me of an eye, then it turns into a bird or a person. I draw a shape, repeat it, and it becomes a flower. The other thing I like drawing is three dimensional shapes upon shapes. This is what I usually do when I am thinking hard.

I think any psychoanalyst could interpret those quite easily. I work on the germ of an idea until it makes sense to me. I try to find a pattern. I am creative. I like having fun.

So wondered if my fellow Reds might somehow be the same kind of doodlers. No way! Debs--who is still rushing around and speaking--says she only draws hearts. Well that's understandable too, isn't it? She has a big heart herself. Lucy says she doesn't doodle either.

And Hank says she always draws the same thing:

Again easy to interpret--she's on her way up! She's organized and forward thinking and has a plan!

But what about the other Reds? Any doodlers here?
HALLIE: I don’t doodle. Really I do not. Other than scratching holes in the paper if I don’t like what i hear. But my husband is a fabulous doodler.

>Here’s one of his, on the margin of a meeting agenda… a comment no doubt on the person who was speaking.

SUSAN: I don't doodle either — but like Hallie's husband, mine does, too. Here's one of his

It seems that Reds have very creative husbands! With great sense of humor.  I'd love to see what Ross doodles, Julia!

And how about you--do you doodle? Always the same thing? Fess up now!


  1. Love all your doodles, but neither John nor I are doodlers . . . .

  2. Well. In school I used to doodle my term papers in the margins of my notes. No, I guess that's not doodling. Is it? Sometimes I doodled sea glass if I had no assignments. But that's hard to make look like you're note taking. I sometimes find doodles in very old notes from high school in the garage. Usually they're sailboats or Mr. Herreshoff's castle across the street. Most of the boats I doodled were his Americas Cup racers. Or maybe they were Ted Hood's. Probably Ted Hood's.

  3. We aren't doodlers, either. I used to be; lots of big-eyed little girls in notebooks, and lots of concentric boxes, or 2D boxes, or spirals. (Hmm, I can guess what those say about me.) Nowadays, I will occasionally draw a garden plan, or a plan for my dream house or some other pie-in-the-sky project, but that's all.

    Except for my travel journal from Africa last year. I drew a picture of our guide, Zepha's, hat, which was poa--or "cool" in Swahili, and also the relative sizes of Steve's luggage and mine. He had five bags to my one, plus my big backpack-type handbag. (His were full of camera gear, and twice as many clothes as he needed. He's a terrible packer.)

    But just to sit and doodle while thinking or on the phone? Not any more.

  4. Isn't that funny how we don't doodle? Wonder what that means.. I hardly ever do anymore.

    Rhys! So lovely to see you last night. Reds, she prepared the most delicious dinner, and her home is fabulous. Her husband ins charming, and Cara BLack came, too! What a memorable night! xxoo

  5. I am a big fan of doodles. I love seeing what free form drawings people do when they are more or less unconsciously doing them. I would like to read some more on what research reveals about how a person doodles. I've often thought it would be interesting to have my doodles analyzed. I'm a straight line doodler, rather like Hank, in that I draw connecting straight lines, not in stairs, but in diamond shapes. Hmm, I don't think in straight lines, so it's a bit puzzling to me.

    Rhys, you have a nice variety of doodles, lots of rounded edges. Hallie and Susan, your husband's doodles are great drawings, more art than plain doodle. Something that has amazed me over the years is the dual talent of so many authors who can write brilliantly and draw incredibly, too. Two such authors that come to mind are Neil Gaiman and Maggie Stiefvater. When I got Gaiman's book The Wolves in the Walls signed by him ten years ago, he doodled/drew on the inside cover the head of a wolf. To him, it was a doodle. To me, it is a treasured drawing.

    Now, off to find some information on doodling analysis.

  6. Hank, I wonder if the reason has to do with technology? Back in the day, if we were yakking on the phone, we were able to hold the handset between our head and shoulder; in fact, there were special shoulder rests so you could do that. Now, it's impossible to hold your itty bitty cell phone (or even cordless landline phone that way, so you never have both hands free.

  7. I draw little seasonal pictures on the whiteboard calendar in my kitchen. They're not very good. Does that count? I used to draw trees, lots and lots of trees. And dogs. And birds...

    Do you suppose our doodling energy has been taken over by the digital world? Boo.

  8. Karen and Debs, I definitely think that technology has had an effect on doodling, resulting in its diminished state. Now, instead of doodling when we talk on the phone, we are online checking out FB, keeping up with our blogs, checking our email, and a myriad of other activities. First letter writing, now doodling. Another loss to technology that will reduce the ability of future generations to know us and our histories, both personal and public.

  9. I had junior high students who would doodle illustrations of the sentences we were editing. I'd give extra credit for the extra creative work involved, a big surprise to students who had been penalized in the past for "messing up" their papers. I don't doodle much any longer, but it used to be a way to keep my mind focused when I'd get restless.

  10. Karen, I keep my cell phone in the recharging stand when I talk. I almost always use the speaker at other times and leave the phone sitting on something flat. I learned that convenience from our son with the brain tumor who happened to work for Apple in Austin at the time.

  11. Debs, why do I love that you make little seasonal drawings on your whiteboard! Draw more trees, and we'll count it as doodling.

    I blame the Google Doodle!

  12. I don't doodle much anymore, except when I plan to doodle. But then I call it a Zentangle (even if I don't follow their rules) and treat it as a cross between art and meditation.

  13. I doodle if I'm on the phone and need to have a pen & pad handy - usually when talking to Verizon

    I have always doodled, some of my doodles seemed to end up on reports, papers in school (oops), can't tell you how many I had to rewrite - had a few teachers who did not appreciate "Doodle-ing"

    I think my teachers always conferred with my teachers from previous year....I always got the same comments - Mary is not attentive, stares out the window too much, writing when should be paying attention ;)

    I have obviously had an authority problem on top of being a day dreamer - which has carried over to adult hood

  14. I doodle, for sure. Hearts, trees, birds, geometric designs. My mother, a middle-school teacher, encourages her students to doodle. She attended a course once that explained that doodling keeps the mind active, and students who doodle will actually retain more of the content of the lecture/talk/discussion. So, I keep doodling.