Creativity and doodling

As a child I was always doodling in class.  I distinctly remember one teacher telling me I had a very creative mind just after telling me to stop doodling and to get on with my work.  I’m sure everyone has done it at some point. At first glance, it’s a trivial waste of time. But upon closer examination, those squiggles, drawings of animals or tiny sketches of the boss as the Wile E Coyote seem to have some value.  As it turns out, doodling can help you to be creative and innovative!  By doodling, you can:

  • Use visual language to accurately represent a concept or conversation
  • Rapid sketch and prototype ideas within a group
  • Simplify and display complex information
  • Build plans
  • Have fun

Tracking content using imagery, colour, word pictures and typography can change the way you understand information and also dramatically increase your level of knowledge and retention.  I often use a game called “Draw the challenge” where every member of the team has to draw their understanding of the problem / challenge using symbols and sketches.  It’s fun and it gets the members of the team who are highly visual engaged.  Unfortunately, many adults need to relearn this skill. Kids, it seems, have it right.



image taken from

George Washington, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, Ronald Reagan and Vladimir Nabokov were all doodlers. Bill Gates and Frank Gehry are among today’s active doodlers.  You can see some great examples here.

Psychologist Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth in England found that people who doodle remember 29 percent more than those who do not.  Andrade suggested that when people doodle, they don’t daydream.  You can be looking directly at a teacher or speaker, appearing to hang on every word, but your mind is miles away.  Doodling, on the other hand, forces the brain to keep working and not daydream.

If you’ve never heard of Sunni Brown or the Doodle Institute, I suggest you have a look.  You can also download the first free chapter of the Doodle Institute’s new book “Discovery Doodle’s the first chapter” by Alicia Diane Durand.  It covers the basics of doodling and will help to get you started in your creativity games.

Images courtesy of Doodle Institute.

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Hope it helps

+Alesandra Blakeston


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