How do you do(odle)?

Psychologist have newly found the existence of a crazy and extremely interesting species that are all among all  human beings. They draw and they do it everywhere and everytime ’till the last lead is gone: While talking on the phone, watching tv or sitting bored in class they kill absent-mindedly time by drawing little pictures or shapes on worksheets, notebooks or even desks. Who do I mean? Of course: The doodlers!

Why do people doodle?

As designed by nature, human individuals always feel the need to be engaged in a productive action. Everytime we have to stand still and stiff we long for moving. Isn’t it that what mother nature gaves us hands for? Working?! Even if we just fiddle, fidjet or do pennspinning, we need to divert our hands.

What does it reveal?

In accordance with Dr. Robert Burns, former director of the Institue for Human Development in Seattle who studied doodles to use them to diagnose emotional problems of clinical parents, doodles reveal ideas locked in our head, provide hints to our obsessions and carry messages from the unconscious. Also, other experts like neurologists Sigmund Freud and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung observed and analyzed this phenomenon: Due to their theories, doodling people are meanwhile in a kind of “autopilot mode”: The individual is concious whereas the drawing is unconcious.

Nevertheless, most experts think that a doodle is nothing that could serve as tool for a proper psychological analysis. Doodles cannot be interpreted like dreams or a handwritings but it is helpful to consider doodles as means of getting a rough idea of a person’s desires or fears, mental attitude or memories.


There exist lots of different approaches of how to interpret doodles: Some say it matters where a doodle is allocated on a sheet,some consider also the colours as an indicator of one’s personality and others believe in differences between a man’s and a women’s doodle. In my opinion, you need to consider a combination of all these approaches to reveal somebody’s personality.

If you want to analyze your own doodles, I collected some of the interpretative meanings I found on the web:

Good or bad?

Doodling is a controversial issue: Some people see it as an anti-intelectual activity of stressed people. As a perfect example serves the case of Tony Blair: In 2005, doodles have been found on the Prime Minister’s desk in N°10 Downing Street. Their analysis has reputedly shown that Mr. Blair is “not a natural leader” and “struggles to concentrate”. It then turned out that a mistake had occurred: The doodles were not drawn by the prime minister but by a visitor – Bill Gates!

On the other hand, some people see it as a kind of “frustrated artistic expression”. They say our society reserves arts for the talented which lets the rest of us be embarrassed to publish any artistic work. Through this social pressure, we do not dare to sing, dance or draw in public as we fear to fail. As we constantly suppress our creative talent it only appears in our subconscious doodles. Hence, we might conclude that doodling relieves frustration and (social) stress and dispells pressure in a playful way.

I experienced doodling as a means of maintain my concentration during a lecture. I am Pro-Doodling!

If you are not yet convinced of doodling, just watch Sunni Brown’s absolutely fantastic TED talk:

(Nobody could explain doodling better than she does!)

Now, let’s doodle!

4 responses to “How do you do(odle)?

  1. Wow Nicole I have always known that one can interpret a lot into a simple doodle, but I never knew that doodling could also be “an anti-intelectual activity of stressed people”! Now I really hope that my occassional doodling is not an result of too much time spent on macroeconomics! 😉

    I really liked how you combined facts and theory with humor (loved the video in the end, had to laugh more than once). You really managed to keep the reader on his toes. The only thing that I would have done differently is maybe the arrangement of the photos. In my opinion the different sizes and positions are a bit distracting.

    Still, very nice blogspot. I look forward to reading more from you!

  2. We all doodle, but honestly I never thought about it that deeply and it just flashed me that you can look at such a simple thingh from so many perspectives.
    At first I thought it is kind of a boring subject but you certainly proved the oppsite! As you have an interesting and appealing writing style. – With all that facts you mentioned about “doodeling” in the beginning you had a nice fundament to build on. Hence it was great to see how your own opinion grew out of those facts.
    Furthermore I loved that you included a lot of questions in your text, as this always helps the reader to deal with the subject more deeply by himself.

  3. Pingback: The Power of Doodling | Global Citizens Art·

  4. Pingback: The Power of Doodling | Global Citizens Art·

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