If you’re trying to develop your skills as an artist or even just starting out on your artistic journey, you can benefit from doodling. But what do we mean by doodling? Basically, we’re talking about unplanned drawing. We mean the artistic activity that lies somewhere between drawing in the margins of a notebook and creating a super fancy planned illustration.
Wait, why do artists care about doodling?
Just like Zen coloring or Zen-tangling, doodling is actually good for your creativity and your brain. Yes! When you allow yourself to just draw without any restraints, your brain goes into a freeform creative mode, which can improve brain function. Scientists have proven that doodling lets your brain play around with ideas, which in turn improves focus, memory retention, and learning.
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How To Doodle Efficiently
So we know that doodling is good for cognition and memory, but how do you harness the power of doodling? It’s possible to create some really cute drawings when you’re in that freeform creative mode. If you want to produce quality drawings while just playing around, keep these tips in mind when doodling!
Vary your line quality. One of those artist tricks to making something look good is to use different thicknesses in your lines. This creates visual interest in a piece. You can doodle using a thin line and then go back and fill in some others. A tip for when you decide to use pens to outline your sketch is to use different widths. That’s a quick and easy way to add variation to your line quality.
Pick one focus and add other elements. Find one main thing that you want your viewer’s eyes focus on and really develop that picture. Then you can add other elements to it if you want, embellishing that main drawing. Say you’ve drawn a flower. Add some leaves or a vine to the surrounding area to draw more attention to your flower without distracting away from it.
Don’t be afraid of negative space. Negative space is the white space or the parts of your drawing where there aren’t any lines or color. While this may seem just like blank space, it’s really useful for your design. Utilizing negative space properly can take a basic drawing to something much more advanced. It’
s like the Coco Chanel quote, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off,” – that’s how you should treat your doodling. Draw the whole thing and then when you’re done, take one element out.
Add little details. – In any drawing, the details are what make it. Even a simple drawing like a cute cactus needs details like needles. The little details may seem silly, but when you add them, it takes a basic or potentially simple drawing to the next level. The best details to add are those defining details.
Let yourself zone out. – The part of doodling that’s good for your brain is the stress relieving zoning out time, anyway. So don’t be afraid to get into your doodling and forget the outside world. That’s kind of the point! If you’re worried about losing track of time, there’s no shame in setting an alarm on your phone to alert you when you need to get back to work.
My Favorite Doodling Tools
It can seem pretty daunting when you go to the art store and there are so many tools, right? I’m going to go over my absolute favorite tools to start you on the right foot with doodling.
Micron Pens. These guys are quintessential art pens. They last for a very long time, they’re waterproof and archival. These pens are my go to pens when it comes to doodling– especially if I want to use colors other than black.
Faber-Castell Pens. Lately these pens have been my absolute favorites. They last a long time, they have smooth and sketchy color. They also have pen packs that give you a variety of widths from the start. If you’re looking for a good pack of pens to buy that will cover everything you need, you want this pack of pens.
Graphite Pencil. For sketching when I doodle, I use graphite pencils, but not any graphite. I use woodless graphite because I just like it better. I feel like they’re easier to shade with and to sharpen. I’m sure that’s trivial, but it’s one of those weird artist things, y’know. I also try to use 4H – HB pencils. If that is foreign to you, graphite comes in different numbers. Your basic #2 pencil that we were always told to use in high school? That is a 2B pencil. It’s soft so a lot of graphite flecks off and makes your brush strokes darker. HB is a hard pencil which means less graphite flecks off and your brush strokes are lighter and easier to erase. So 4H – HB is the best range when you’re sketching, in my opinion. If you want to do a detailed graphite drawing, it’s best to have the whole range of pencils at your disposal to give your drawing depth.
White Eraser. There are three types of erasers. Plastic ones, gummy ones, and rubber ones. Rubber ones are usually black and hard, gummy ones are the ones that feel like sticky tack that you can destroy and piece back together, and the plastic ones are best for erasing sketch lines.
With these tips and tools, you can take your doodling to the next level. When you incorporate these artistic methods, you’ll improve your drawing but also get the most out of the doodling experience. Much of the art on this site started as doodles too, so you know they really work.
Looking for more doodling tips and tricks? Go check out my Youtube!
Do you doodle? Got any tips to add? Show us your favorites in the comments!