Perhaps you were the kid in school who was constantly being reprimanded by teachers to stop doodling during class. I know I was. One particularly boring grammar teacher went so far as to move my desk right up to the chalkboard and confiscate all my pens and pencils to keep my eager hands from scribbling on any scrap of paper I came across. I’m happy to say that I never learned my lesson. To this day, I cannot sit through a lecture or sermon without scratching out some sort of kooky cartoon or swirly pattern on the edges of my notes.
This genre of art is often overlooked and scoffed, yet I and so many others like me stand in favor of doodling’s surmounting pile of benefits and glories. Here are just a few quick reasons why you should keep your margins filled and notebooks ready.
1. It leads to creativity. While the effects of doodling on the brain may not be quantifiable, there is no doubt that it plays a role in creativity. Some of the most imaginative, quirky and elaborate drawings across the internet are actually doodles done absent-mindedly. Sunni Brown, founder of Sunni Brown Ink and The Doodle Revolution, successfully advocates for what she calls “visual literacy.” Doodling offers a different means of thinking and communicating and aids in the creative process as a whole. Curious about graphic recording, gamestorming and infodoodling? Check out Sunni Brown Ink.
2. It makes you smarter. Believe it or not, people have conducted entire studies on whether or not those grouchy teachers were justified in stopping students from doodling. And the results show that they were not! According to a scientific article by PBS and a study by psychology professor Jackie Andrade, doodling “may actually help the brain to process certain kinds of information” by boosting memory and driving the creative process.
3. It has always existed. Last year, CNN released images of several never-before-seen Medieval manuscripts, and would you guess what made these manuscripts so extraordinary? They contained secret doodles all over the place! Evidence of doodling goes back over 700 years and by no means will cease to exist anytime soon. These drawings range from impromptu musical compositions to goofy characters squished inside the letters. No matter what century, people are still people.
4. It’s controversial. While you shouldn’t do something just because it’s controversial, doodling has become a hot topic in a few sticky situations around the country. In 2010, the New York City police actually arrested a twelve-year-old student for scribbling a few of her buddies’ names on her desk. Three years prior to that, a thirteen-year-old in Arizona was suspended for five days after doodling what some thought resembled a gun. I suppose my punishment for doodling in class all those years ago doesn’t seem so harsh after all.
Need inspiration to get started? Below are a few masterpieces from some of my favorite famous doodlers – the Presidents of the United States of America.