Years ago when I worked at a hospital, every day started with morning rounds, in which staff going off night shift gave us day shift staff members a comprehensive report on each patient. I am not a morning person, so rounds was a great way for me to start the day. I could just listen, ask the occasional question, and…doodle. I doodled through rounds constantly in my Week at a Glance book with my favorite pen at the time, a Rotring cartridge pen. It might have looked like I was still half asleep, or bored, or not listening, but that was actually not true. In fact, I think it was the opposite; I think I was in an exceptionally tuned in zone. Throughout the years, doodling has remained an art activity of choice for me, both personally and in work with clients.
We think doodling is something you do when you lose focus, but in reality, it is a preemptive measure to stop you from losing focus. Additionally, it has a profound effect on creative problem-solving and deep information processing. -Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution
Doodling has gained more attention recently as a mindfulness technique. Good old doodling in book margins during class or meetings will probably always be around, but the use of more varied media and more methodized doodling techniques abound. Zentangle, for example, is a method of creating beautiful images by drawing structured patterns to enhance focus, relaxation, and creativity. When I searched doodling on youTube, I found a TED Talks presentation by Sunni Brown, a visual thinking consultant, instructional doodling videos, and many videos that people have made of their own doodles. Here’s a CBS report called The Higher Purpose of Doodling:
I also found numerous articles on doodling, including I Draw Pictures All Day by designer Alma Hoffmann, Doodling Your Way to a More Mindful Life by art therapist Cathy Malchiodi, and an interesting article about doodling as an art therapy process on a site called Enchanted Mind. You can cite these sources the next time your teacher or boss calls you out for not paying attention because you’re doodling.