{Art Together} Doodling

{This post is part of the art together series. You can see all the posts in the series here.}

“A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” –Paul Klee

Recently I treated myself to the Learning to See series of drawing primers. The first exercise I tried was the fourth one in the second book (yes, I pick and choose!), called, simply, “Doodle.” I challenged myself to fill an entire sketchbook page with pencil doodles, and this is what resulted.

My daughter saw what I was doing. Later on, she got her own paper and filled it with pencil doodles.

We decided to spend the next morning sitting on the floor with paper and a selection of colored pencils and markers, doodling. This is as simple as it gets: fill the page with doodles. You can make it more complicated, if you like. I chose a bigger piece of paper and challenged myself to fill it, and tried to pay attention to balancing the shapes, sizes, line, and white vs black.

I decided to keep it black and white, but I could have chosen to go into it with watercolors. I’m also interested in isolating parts of it that seem interesting to me. There are rhythms and patterns that might find their way into a future design. Doodling can bring forth all sorts of ideas to return to later.

My eight-year-old focused on colors for some of his doodles, preselecting markers to use.

In this next doodle, he focused on pattern, thinking of the zebras we saw at the zoo last weekend and the sign which informed him that zebras are camouflaged by their stripes; it’s hard to identify an individual zebra when they’re all together in a group.

He also completed a pencil doodle, which is in the Flickr group.

My four-year-old was a bit overjoyed with the choices of mark-making materials. She wanted to try them all!

The entire drawing session was a relaxing way to spend an hour–which is part of the goal of doing art together, to simply enjoy the time spent.

Further Resources

Books on doodling abound! I have Creative Doodling and Beyond, but truthfully it didn’t click for me on my first try with it. The exercises felt too focused on producing a complete finished work; I became completely inhibited. The Learning to See exercise, however, was wide open. Just get a pen and doodle. I didn’t feel any pressure, so it was easier. If the wide-open “doodle something on a blank page” approach leaves you wondering what to do, try a book that provides specific exercises. Maybe that will speak to you better. I’ve no doubt I’ll go back to the Creative Doodling book at some point.

If you want some visual inspiration, Flickr has many doodling groups. Oodles of Doodles is one that promises to be safe for all ages, so your kids can look, too.

Take it Further

Try doodling in black Sharpie and then choosing areas to wash over with watercolors or fill in with colored markers.

Choose a color palette (as my 8yo did) and limit yourself to it. That adds another design element to balance: not just shape, line, pattern, and size, but color, too.

Cut a 2-inch (or 3-inch, or 1-inch; experiment) square out of a piece of cardboard and use it as a frame to isolate different parts of your doodle. Are there any sections you’d like to try “blowing up” into a larger piece? Would any sections translate well to another medium, such as paint or stamp-carving?

Share Your Work

I’d love to see your work in the Flickr group; or if you have a link to posts describing art-making together, please share in the comments!

4 thoughts on “{Art Together} Doodling

  1. Michelle

    I almost asked you about the creative doodling book last week. :) Doodling paralyzes me. I have that internal script from hearing so many adults say to stop doodling and that it’s “bad.” At this point, I feel like I don’t even know HOW to doodle, which makes me so, so sad. And it’s the paralyzing blank white page TO THE MAX. I’ll definitely need a little more specific direction when I try again, so creative doodling might work for me.

    Oh, if you wanted to add watercolor, would you still do it on regular sketchbook paper?

    I love seeing what you guys all come up with. :)

    1. amy Post author

      That’s why I mentioned that book–it didn’t work for me at that time, but it could totally work for someone else. It all depends where you’re starting from–and you know how I believe in starting where you are. :-) For my doodle I used the Fabiano paper I link to on the materials page (http://amyhoodarts.com/art-together/materials/). It’s a heavy enough weight to hold watercolor as long as it’s not overdone. Sketchbooks come in various weights of paper, too.

  2. katepickle

    My five year old recently learned about ‘zentangles’ from his great Aunt as they say and doodled together… it was the most beautiful thing to watch… the old and the young simply creating freely together. It made me want to make more time to just sit and doodle with my kids, and this post has inspired me too! thank you.

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