Archive for the ‘doodling’ Tag

Presidential doodles

Wow.  What a lot of fun …’s story this morning about presidential doodles.  Check it out.  Obama is a caricaturist!  Now, we know this guy is really smart, but who knew he was an artist?  Actually, these are very advanced, almost not what one would call doodles.  Still, they were apparently produced in that distracted state of usual doodling, which takes place as one listens to something entirely unrelated, such as a speaker at a meeting.  They came, in other words, from Obama’s subconscious; and as such, they reveal that his subconscious is extraordinarily organized.

In contrast, the CNN story made fun of Palin’s messy scribbles.  It also briefly showed the doodles of past presidents.  Apparently, there’s a book that has collected these souveniers.  I’ll have to look it up.

Of course, the story goes a long way towards proving my deep belief in the benefits of doodling.  Perhaps, rather than using the words of a politician to judge their worth, we should look hard at their doodles.  I wonder what McCain’s style is. 

It’s not that drawing excellence, or precision, or organization is necessary in doodling.  But a page of scribbles from any individual, created while their attention was on something else, will reveal with absolute honesty the state of their inner being. 

It appears that, in electing Barack Obama, we have for once made a choice for someone whose inner being reflects all the sense and sensitivity of the outer man.

Doodle mania continues

One of the obvious and most exciting uses of creativity is in problem solving.  Artists are problem solvers and, if scrutinized even more finely, they are problem creators as well, but that’s another post.

When confronted with a problem – be it simple or profound – the human species uses native creativity to work through the barriers.  That is, when facing any issue, we call in our abilities to listen openly and synthesize spontaneously.

You can use your doodling to become intimate with this natural capability which you possess but seldom trust.  Keep a small bit of paper and pen next to you during work and let your hand dance with these instruments at moments throughout your day.   (Doodling in meetings can be a great way to keep proper perspective through the discussions.)   It’s best to use a pen rather than pencil, so you get past the concept of ‘making mistakes.’ 

As you look over your doodles, what problems do you see?  I do not mean problems with the ‘artistic quality;’ I mean, what parts of your doodles seem to want changing, modifying, extending, completing?  Go back and play just as instinctively with your ‘fixes’ as you did with the original mark-making.  Your pen just moves of its own accord.  If and when it stops moving, go on to a different doodle and return later to the first. 

It’s very important not to approach your doodles with anything remotely resembling a plan.  Both your fresh marks and your subsequent ‘problem-solving’ doodling must be entirely free form before they will reveal any new information to you.

And this information is not the only benefit of doodling, but it is key.  As you review your doodles, what insights do you have?  What does your very individual line say about who and where you are right now?  What new possibilities do your ‘problem solving’ marks suggest?  What kind of energy, courage, confidence, appreciation, etc. do your doodles manifest?  Save all these drawings as records of your life, your challenges, and the naturally brilliant ways you have of problem-solving.

More about doodling

I wrote last week a little about doodling.  I’ve no doubt that most readers will shun such an exercise, claiming they just can’t draw.  The old, ‘I can’t draw a straight line’ is oft repeated. 

Get over it, folks.  No one’s interested in straight lines anyway.  Doodling is not about drawing, it’s about making marks on paper.  It’s about saying yes to yourself. 

Have you seen a child who draws something and then decides he’s made a mistake and, in horror, refuses to continue until the mistake is eradicated?  Most of us discontinue our creative attunement at this juncture, remaining childish in our understanding.  But the growth pattern is to encourage the child to make something out of his mistake, to see it as raw material and to go on from there.  A wonderful children’s art teacher I know says, ‘You don’t make mistakes, you just change your mind.’

Making marks on paper is a way to let expression flow through you, and a serious practice in self-affirmation.  When I started drawing for the first time, a mere few years ago, I was all the time cancelling my urges with self-criticism.  Doodling taught me to say yes to the spontaneous me, no matter how dumb or clumsy the line was on the paper.  By allowing one line to lead to another, by letting the drawing inform me instead of the other way around, I came to appreciate a vastly wider horizon of possibility for me and my world.

Our reliance on things digital means that interaction with pencil and paper is increasingly rare.  What’s the consequence of placing these instruments by your computer and filling waiting moments with your doodles?  Notice your energy flow as you follow this routine through the working day, and send me a comment about it!


Dr. Ken Hudson offers up a nice couple of paragraphs in his blog today about making improvements.  He notes that usually one improves something incrementally, using an additive method of modification.  But the other approach he suggests involves starting not with what you already have, but with an entirely new idea.  You work subtractively to proceed from your ideal new product to what is possible right now.

This brave approach requires skill in visioning.  Our education seldom promotes the development of creative vision, so few people practice it.  How often do you spend more than a second with a crazy new idea?  How often do you allow yourself to daydream in detail?  How open are you to the possibility of perfection, the realization of your dreams?

To envision means to open the door to a bit of chaos and lunacy.  It means to trust the process enough to actually dedicate some time to it.  It means to believe in and work seriously at creating a better world. 

Most of us are so oppressed that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to daydream.  If you want to rectify this situation, if you want to reawaken your dreaming capabilities, one way to start is by doodling.  While on the phone, or waiting for downloads, or at the doctor’s office, let your hand move a pen or pencil around a little piece of paper.  Don’t try to draw anything, just let the instrument make marks.  Follow your impulses with simple curiosity, and keep the pen moving without intellectual involvement. 

What does this exercise have to do with envisioning?  The successful dreamer has learned to allow and track the free flow of impulse.  Doodling can get you started.