The 12 days of doodling

Before writing and drawing were separated they were conjoined.*
Scott McCloud

Pictures and words together make a third thing.**
John Baldessari

It had been suggested that I write something
about doodling for a Christmas-time blog
at the University of Edinburgh,
So I thought that I would share this here – 
It’s a great time to doodle – So here we are: 
Twelve good reasons for doodling and 
twelve doodling things to do – 
all you need is a black pen and paper. 
Merry Doodling Christmas!

Day 1
Doodle comes from dawdle, 
It is a great way to come aside from all the
busyness and noise and slow down: 
Use the doodle alphabet to create an abstract illustration,
Filling a 10x10cms square.^
Make it busy.

Day 2
Colouring in a doodle is for
relaxing. 
Slowly use crayons, pencils or pens to 
colour in yesterday’s doodle, and
see how it changes; 
Notice how you change:
Changing what the body does can change our feelings, perception, and thoughts.^^

Day 3
Colouring is for relaxing,
Doodling is for listening,
But there are six other art-for-learning skills:
A means to record,
Understand better,
Create something, 
Present something.
Add your doodle to the following text by way of illustration:
Before writing and drawing were separated they were conjoined.*

Day 4
Doodling is one of the smallest ways of moving,
And moving is one way we extend our minds 
and keep our thoughts moving.
Draw an A5 frame on a sheet of paper:
You have one line with which to fill this shape – 
You can’t break contact, so
You’ll be able to use all the shapes from the doodle alphabet except 
the dot: 
Write the words, “Keep Moving” on your sheet. 

Day 5 
Doodles and text together take us 
into the world of semiotics, 
In this case,
Conveying meaning in as few words of possible,
Enhancing with a doodle.
Try copying this doodle from Hugh Macleod*^ 

Day 6
We remember more when doodling: 
One study found that people who were directed to doodle while carrying out a boring
listening task remembered 29 percent more information than people who did not doodle,
likely because the latter group had let their attention slip away entirely.^^
Write out the following Jean Rhys quote,
Create a doodle to go with it
The hide this and recall all the objects, 
Including those you imagined to be present: 
I got a box of Jnibs, the sort I liked, an ordinary penholder, a bottle of ink and a cheap ink-stand.  Now that old table won’t look so bare, I thought.^*

Day 7
Just about everything looks better with an illustration;
Check out the novels of Edward Carey
For which he prepares both
illustrations and sculptures to help his writing process. 
Create a character or two of your own by firstly
copying Quentin Blake’s illustrations

Day 8
There are doodling shapes everywhere. 
I took a load of pictures of buildings and spaces whilst on holiday 
in Florence and at a conference
in Washington, which I later used to create
a colouring book.
Why not get out your holiday pictures and 
use the features of buildings and spaces to create 
your doodle for today? 

Day 9
You can doodle anywhere – 
All you need is a small notebook and a black pen.
Hugh Macleod began doodling on the back of 
business cards, and still creates images that are this size.
Play with small doodles by cutting out some paper
or card
the size of a bank or loyalty card. 

Day 10
You never know where doodling will lead you.
I ended up with illustrating requests for books and 
even a board game. 
Doodle often, don’t worry about what others think, 
Don’t look at likes or anything, just 
doodle.
Create a doodle with the text:
Doodling with attitude. 

Day 11
Everyone can doodle;
It’s simply a sad fact that
someone, somewhere, told us that we couldn’t draw:
How old do you have to be to make a bad drawing?
If you can remember who or when,
Create a doodle that has on the left when you 
stopped drawing and on the right has 
today’s date – 
Then go crazy doodling. 

Day 12
Doodling is for Christmas; 
For several years now I have created a Christmas card. 
Here’s your turn for Christmas 2023 – 
or Yule or Winter or Solstice or Hannukah or 
Dongzhi or Shab-e Yalda. 
Have fun and a great holiday however you
celebrate.  

*Scott McClooud’s Making Comics;
**Austin Kleon’s blog: A brief appreciation of John Baldessari:
^The doodle alphabet comprises a: square, circle, straight line, curved line, wavy line, dot, ellipse, cloud, zigzag, swirl, loop, arch; everything you need to create a doodle;
^^Annie Murphy Paul’s The Extended Mind
*^Hugh Macleod triggered my doodling; copying his work is a great place to develop our own doodling; 
^*Lauren Elkin’s Flaneuse.  
⁺Lynda Barry’s Making Comics.

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