Doodling 101 - Finding Your Doodle Style

Are you a prolific doodler or a doodle dabbler?  Do your doodles flow easily from your pen/marker or are they stuck somewhere in doodle limbo?

If you sometimes find yourself trying to imitate the style of someone else or wishing you could draw like someone else, I would say that you just haven't found your doodle signature yet.

And the best way to discover your doodle style is to set off on a doodle quest.  You already have some clues to start you off on your quest - your personality and your personal style (fashion or decor). 

Is your personality big and bold, soft and romantic or natural and casual.  Chances are your doodle style will reflect that.  However, you may find contradictions.  For example, if you find that you love bold designs, but are having trouble expressing that in your art, I'm willing to bet that it's a part of your personality that is also having trouble getting expressed adequately. 

Here's where Doodle Therapy can help develop and bring that style to life and put you on a path to creative self-expression.  Yes, working on (or I should say, playing) developing your creative style will also strengthen your personal self-expression and confidence.  

Here's a simple experiment to try to get an idea of your general preference and where to start on your doodle quest.  You may be able to answer this without trying the exercise.  But if you don't try it, you won't experience the most valuable part of this exercise, which is - discovering what it feels like to draw in a way that is natural to you vs. what feels uncomfortable. 

Knowing and responding to "that feeling" will be your inner compass guiding you along your creative journey. 

The Straight or Curved Path - Down the Straight and Narrow or Around the Bend
  • For this exercise, all you need is a sheet of paper or your journal and a pencil or marker.
  • The goal is to FEEL which type of line is more expressive to you: curved or straight.  Seems to simplistic?  Please try it anyway.  If you have a strong preference, you will feel the difference.  And this feeling is what you want to recognize and rely on in the future - the voice of your intuition.
  • Start filling up one half of your paper with any kind of curving vine, spiral or circular line - preferably one continuous line building up momentum as you draw.  Note how you feel while you do this.  Is there any tension, discomfort, boredom or distraction?  Or do you feel at ease and totally immersed in what you're doing?
  • Now, try filling up the other half of your paper with any kind of straight, angular forms, and again note how you feel.  Even if you don't feel any difference, you should find that certain shapes and lines flow easier than others.
  • Take time to reflect on the two patterns.  Do you find certain elements very appealing?  Any surprises?
An interesting thing happened when I first tried this.  I love the curvilinear approach to life.  My life is a curved line winding in and out, turning here, twisting there.  So naturally, I started the exercise with the curved line and progressed to the straight line.  And, of course, no surprise, I started feeling tension as I was drawing the straight lines. 

I decided to do another page, this time doing the straight designs first.  Amazingly, as I then started to draw the curved line, it did not flow in the same way as the first time.  There was a carry over of the tension from being in the linear mode.

Working by day, in the business world and land of numbers, I am constantly switching from left brain dominance to right brain and most of the time hovering somewhere in the middle, where I am most comfortable.  While I have found ways over the years to get back to a creative state, it was interesting to see how just concentrating on straight lines was enough to tip the balance.  Not everyone will have a strong reaction to such a simple exercise.

The main point of this is the importance of finding and developing your style - your Personal Signature.  You have a Personal Signature style in your home decor, your fashion preferences and your art.

Developing your style will keep the creative juices flowing.  Go in another direction, that is not your own, and you will find the flow disrupted.

Continue this exercise with examples of drawings or patterns you find by other artists.  Pick out elements to draw side by side to discover which are easier to draw and which feel more in line with your personal style.  Then add your flourishes or slant to put your stamp on it.  Keep cultivating your style.  And every time you look at another artists work, first appreciate their talent, skill and style, but then, never being critical, envision how you would would do it with your unique personal signature. 

And don't forget to keep up or start your Daily Doodle Journal to keep those creative ideas flowing.

Happy Doodling!