‘Doodling is the brooding of the hand.’ Saul Steinberg.

04 Apr

 Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I have only recently taken up doodling again.  Or at least I should say, I have only recently ‘consciously’ taken up doodling again . . .

I used to doodle a lot, especially when I was working at the University where I seemed always to be taking Minutes for the (terminally dreary and seemingly endless) departmental meetings.  I never let anyone see my notes for those Minutes before they were all neatly typed up and distributed—partly because they were covered in elaborate doodles and scribbles—and partly because I tended to add my own thoughts on the conversations to my draft pages (some of which may well have got me sacked if anyone else had read them . . . )

Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time I think I used doodling as a way of keeping myself ‘present’ in those meetings.  I found if I just sat and listened my mind would invariably wander off (no doubt looking for my ‘happy place’) and I wouldn’t hear a thing that was being said (or I would become so bored I would find it a real struggle to not run screaming from the room) but oddly enough, if I drew on my pages as I listened I was more able to attend to the talk, remember who said what, and note down all the salient points.

It seems I knew what I was doing.  I recently read that research has now determined that people who doodle during meetings or through phone conversations can recall up to 29 percent more information afterwards than those who simply take notes.  It is also believed that the seemingly distracted scribbling also aids creativity, helps us to mull over problems and promotes ‘thinking outside the box’.  Who knew?

Although I don’t need to doodle my way through meetings to keep my sanity any more, I have started using doodling to ‘kick start’ me when I am in a sketching slump.  When I am tired or tetchy or in one of those I-really-want-to-draw-something-but-I-can’t-decide-what-to-draw kind of funks, I  just pick up a pen and a sketchbook and start scribbling.   And it works.  It gets my creative juices flowing, there’s no pressure to create a ‘final piece’, and it’s fun.

Nor am I alone in my enjoyment of this simple pastime.  Check out this Doodlers Anonymous website to see some seriously fabulous and artistic doodles.  

Or better still, spend some time doodling yourself and upload one of your own . . .


Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


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9 responses to “‘Doodling is the brooding of the hand.’ Saul Steinberg.

  1. Jenn Coulbeck

    April 5, 2017 at 3:30 am

    I absolutely agree and love every word of this post. Thank you for sharing.


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 5, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Thank you Jenn. I just had a look at your site and am looking forward to seeing your ‘work in progress’ completed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenn Coulbeck

        April 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm

        Thank you so much. I’m hoping to get a bit of time to work on the idea I have had for it soon. I’m glad you like it so far. 🙂


  2. stevetalbot51

    April 4, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    PS-I like the “floating fishes” on the DA web site 🙂


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 5, 2017 at 7:49 am

      There are some seriously fun doodles on that site. What fantastic imaginations some people have . . .


  3. stevetalbot51

    April 4, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Nice doodling Sal – you must have been inspired by our magpie visitors at the college:
    “Quardle oodle ardle wardle DOODLE – the magpies said”.


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 5, 2017 at 7:49 am

      A doodle of magpie tracks – there’s a thought!


  4. C. C. Cedras

    April 4, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I have never been a doodler, and while I’d like a technique to get my creative juices flowing, I think I’m too old to learn this new skill. Yours is seriously gorgeous!


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 5, 2017 at 7:48 am

      Never too old CC! and I really don’t see doodling as a skill. Doodles don’t have to be works of art (although some of them on the DA website really are) but a doodle can be anything – a signature, the same word over and over in a different style, squiggles, marks on a page – it’s surprising where it takes you when you let it. When my dad was on a long phonecall you could always guarantee when he was finished the pad next to the phone would be covered with doodles of what he called his ‘ears-es, eyes-es and noses’ . . . 🙂



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