That doesn’t stop me from doodling, though, as I’ve told you before.
I’ve been doodling for a couple of years now, usually during various gatherings, conferences, or meetings. By sharing those doodles openly, I also seemed to have gained a bit of minor notoriety.
See, I mostly doodle during the monthly Creative Mornings Austin meetings (and SXSWedu Conference), snap a quick pic of the result, and send it out via Twitter. Those tweets get both “liked” and retweeted a bit.
Through these tweets, I’ve also met — both virtually and in person — some of the speakers when they saw the doodle from their presentation. Some have even asked to use the doodle on a website on in some sort of promo.
This tickles me but also startles me — I mean, I’m still an amateur and I still do it mostly for myself. You see, doodling helps me focus on the presentation, listen for the big ideas, and take notes in a way more meaningful to me and more likely to help me remember the experience.
Science backs me up on this, too, with recent research once again reinforcing the impact of what this article calls the “drawing effect.”
“The act of drawing is inherently complex. It involves our ability to visualize an image from a word, calling upon our previous understandings and interactions with that word, and then it uses our motor skills to bring the image to the page.”
Moreover, doodling while listening to a presentation or watching a video has a positive impact on memory regardless of how well you do it: “Even if your drawings are barely legible to the outside world.” That’s reassuring since — I CAN”T DRAW!
Well, the fine folks at Creative Mornings Austin recently asked me if I’d be interested in hosting one of the monthly “field trip” meetings to talk about my doodles and share some doodling techniques with a group of other folks. These field trips are smaller in size than our monthly meetings and often take the form of a workshop of some sort.
But how can it be a “WORKshop” if we’re going to doodle?
So, I’ll be hosting a “‘I Can’t Draw!’ doodle playground” instead, with exercises and interaction aplenty!
While I’m very excited about this opportunity to share not just my doodles but the joy of doodling, it’s been a long time since my training days, and the idea of leading a group of a dozen adults in doodling for an hour remains rather daunting.
Fortunately, there’s even more background material on doodling now than ever before, so I’m reviewing a number of resources, including my books by Dan Roam (Back of the Napkin) and Mike Rohde (Sketchnote Handbook) , as well as Sunni Brown, leader of the Doodle Revolution.
I also went straight to YouTube (where else for visuals about doodling?), where I found numerous resources, including this quick video clip of Sunni from several years ago, speaking in defense of doodling and redefining the word itself to reinforce its value.
“To doodle: to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think.”
Also on YouTube I ran across this marvelous set of quick exercises demonstrating how ANYONE can, in fact, draw. So, get your pencils (or pens) ready for this one and set aside your skepticism — Graham Shaw has taught all kinds of skeptical adults to draw these sorts of simple cartoons. He’ll have you doodling — even drawing — in no time.
“Why People Believe They Can’t Draw — and How to Prove They Can”
Even more powerful than these simple exercises to prove people can draw, though is the final thought Graham Shaw leaves us with:
When you walked in here today, many of you didn’t believe you could draw. And I’ve got a question for you about that: How many other beliefs and limiting thoughts do we all carry around with us every day? Beliefs that we could perhaps potentially challenge and think differently about. And if we did challenge those beliefs and think differently about them, apart from drawing, what else would be possible for us all?
I still can’t draw — but that sure doesn’t keep me from doodling!