I Hope You will Doodle More!

doodle thread spool collage

As I wrap up the Small Bites class, Doodle More!, I thought I’d share some thoughts about doodling...

As it turns out, doodling is pretty much a universal human activity.  Chances are that if you pick up a pen without anything else to do with it, you’ll find yourself mindlessly making a few marks in random—and not so random—patterns.

But while there is mindless doodling for its own good sake, we can bring it to a whole new level in mixed media work. We can create full compositions using "the doodle" as the elements themselves (Zentangle, for instance, or some kinds of illustration). 

a practice composition

a practice composition

OR we can incorporate doodling into our mixed media pieces as one of several elements—which is particularly intriguing to me because penwork such as doodling can add so much visual complexity, texture and beauty to a work—and because I really enjoy doing it.

With that said, I'm still working on doodling to the full extent I want in my pieces.

Just like anything, it takes some learning and practice and skill to create what you want to create.

The good news, though, is that the learning curve for doodling is not very steep at all, and it's fun to practice and learn. I like I spend time in my sketchbook or just art journal practicing my skills and developing visual "vocabulary.  Often while listening to podcasts or music. It's "fun" work as opposed to homework.

Unlimited Possibilities

Sometimes, when we’re first starting out we get stuck trying to “think up” new ways to doodle…but as we learned in class, there are plenty of strategies to get unstuck. The more you do your homework—I mean, "fun" work—and practice, experiment and challenge yourself to explore new patterns, the larger your doodle vocabulary becomes.

Yes, I believe we can all develop a doodle vocabulary. There is an endless universe of possibilities in lines, shapes, forms and patterns we can make. And everyone has (and can develop) their own style.

We covered a lot of ground in our very short Small Bites doodling class, including different ways to explore patterns and the many options for what to doodle with (pens, pencils, markers, other mark-makers…). It's very important to become familiar with the right tools. There are many, many pens on the market and the right pens (or pencils) can really make a difference. I plan to offer this class again in the future so I hope you will consider taking it.

In the meantime, here are some examples of some doodle practice and experimentation. I hope you are inspired to do your funwork too!

flower doodle

flower doodle


mandala doodle

mandala doodle

teardrop doodle

teardrop doodle


Denise Herman

Mixed media enthusiast & art journal evangelist, I love line, form, words, ideas, rusty metal, seaglass, paper...did I mention paint and ink and glue?