Putting pen to paper and idly doodling during school is a memory many of us have. Back then, our teachers scolded us for not listening, telling us to sit up and concentrate – but was all that doodling actually good for us?
Sylvia Plath, Leonardo da Vinci and Mark Twain were all great minds who often let their imaginations run wild in a scrawl of messy doodles while contemplating future masterpieces. Evidence has since come to light showing that far from being the sign of an idle mind, doodling could in fact be the sign of a keen one.
Various studies have been carried out over the last few years to figure out the power of the doodle. In 2009 research carried out by Jackie Andrade (professor of psychology at Plymouth University) revealed that doodling increases our attention span during meetings. The study also showed an increased power of recollection by those who doodled compared to those who did not.
Other studies have found that doodling can even help those suffering with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a way of keeping their minds focused.
Aside from the science behind doodling, the results can also produce great pieces of art. Derbyshire-based artist Andrea Joseph gives her doodles pride of place, and they are now at the forefront of her work.
“Doodling is a way of developing creative ideas. I often find that my preparatory doodles for a finished drawing are much more interesting than the drawing itself.”
If you want to try doodling, remember – it’s all about instinct. Draw what you want, how you want, and – if you are planning it or rubbing out any mistakes… you’re doing it wrong.
Some counsellors take this idea a step further by using art therapy. If you think you could benefit from this type of therapy, please see our Other Therapies page to find out more.
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