Doodle Therapy

If you open a sketch pad to a blank page, what will you draw? You can draw anything you want, so what will it be?

I’m very pro-doodling. It’s a way to be away from technology (although I always have music playing) and lose yourself in a different world. I’ve always loved art. I went to so many camps growing up, created illustrated magazines out of construction paper, made homemade cards for every holiday, and put my insane amount of gel pens to use. I’d seriously lug a plastic briefcase of my gel pens to school and was the coolest cat in second grade. Gel pens were IN. As I got into high school, I discovered my talent for realism. I would spend an entire semester on one single drawing. I really fell in love with drawing at this point. But when I went to college and my Drawing I professor told me to make a 30 second sketch, I was like heh ?????? I was so lost. When you only make two drawings a year, you care about the outcome and you’re very careful with your marks. But that all changed. I learned how to make sketches using so many different types of materials for all different lengths of time without being so careful of the result. And now I make impulsive art that’s sometimes ugly and always enjoyable to create!!

If you’re looking for a relaxing activity before bed, or just have an interest in art, let me pitch this whole doodling concept to you. I doodle for many reasons. To come up with design ideas, to pass the time, and the kind of doodling I’m referring to as therapy… it’s the kind I do before bed, usually don’t show to anyone, and don’t have a plan for what I’m going to make.

In order for doodling to become therapy:

Don’t care about the result.

Open up a blank page and just draw. No one ever has to see what you make. Don’t spend a lot on a sketch book because then you’ll care about what goes in it. Get something cheap or use scrap paper. This will help you make bold marks and take risks in your doodles.

Draw what feels good.

Find out what feels good to draw. I like to make circles and organic lines because they feel good to draw. The actual action of drawing them is nice. Experiment with hard lines, soft lines, intersecting lines, geometric shapes, organic shapes, patters, busy design, simple designs… anything and everything you think of. This could change based on your mood. Feeling angry? Draw some heavy, aggressive lines all over a page.  Not sure how you’re currently feeling? Maybe you’ll know after you doodle. Your subconscious will come out through your art.

Make the same drawing multiple times.

Once you find some elements that feel good (lines, shapes, etc.), fill up a few pages using those elements. Each one will be different, but remain true to your discovered style and be enjoyable to make. It’ll help you further develop that style because you’ll discover what looks good and not so good each time you make a new composition. The important part is to enjoy the process and not worry about the outcome. Keep refining what you enjoy making while finding out what else you can create.

Try out different mediums.

Don’t stick with pen or pencil or sharpie or paint or gel pen (lol). Try all of those! And everything else! Use multiple mediums, colors, and don’t stick with one type of paper. Try tracing paper, cardboard, wood and every combination of medium and surface. Although when sketching on the go or while lying in bed, a little sketchpad is definitely the most practical 🙂

Maybe doodling isn’t for everyone, but having an outlet is definitely beneficial for everyone. Doing something that feels good, helps distract you if you need it to, or helps you get out emotions is how we can deal with all the stress in this crazy, wonderful world. Of course I’m biased, but I think art is the best way to get out what I’m feeling. Whether it’s through drawing, painting, or dancing, art helps me deal with my problems big and small. I hope you all have discovered your outlet and consider giving drawing a try!

Happy stress relieving!


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