Creativity and Curiosity: doodle your way to ideas

Drawing is thinking. In my classes, I strongly push drawing as a means of ideation. That’s because drawing delivers more than the obvious image.

The process of drawing is a kind of meditation. As a practice, one can easily get lost in it. Take doodling for instance. It’s a bit of a lost art these days since you can’t rest the phone on your shoulder any more. But we can still do it. The beauty of the doodle is the image isn’t the goal. The act of drawing is. And that’s a good counter to our normal product oriented goals. Doodling enables one to daydream through creating marks. Resulting images can spark new insights which consciously focusing on a topic can’t.

One of the easiest ways to create effective doodles is to start by cutting two partial images from a magazine and pasting each on opposite sides of a drawing surface. The images shouldn’t relate in any way. Once they are mounted, create goofy lines and shapes until the two images are connected. The reason for the images being partial is that they appear incomplete. Since they are incomplete, it’s easy to see how to continue them.


doodle your way to ideas

Sketchbook Doodles on Pinterest

Another great way to think through drawing is to create tachism drawings. These are made with ink or coffee stains (taches) which are embellished with doodles. In creating these drawings I usually push nonobjective images to keep students from drawing houses or faces. But it doesn’t really matter. The stains serve as amorphous grounds which appear incomplete. Using a pencil or pen, one can just help the stain to be more resolved. Victor Hugo, the writer of Les Miserables, was exceptional at this.


Drawing has many positive outcomes. First, we gain a better sense of hand/eye coordination that links to thinking. Second, it’s physical. Third, images give us more conceptual understandings of topics. For this third part, look at an infographic and see how fast you come to understand the general intent of the designer. Then, try to read an article on that topic. The latter is much harder to gain a conceptual grasp.

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