The Joy of Doodling

I’ve doodled all my life. Nearly all my school papers from grade school on up were seldom doodle-free. Any shopping list I make nearly always has some “doodle-age” on it.

Has anyone ever taken a “Zentangles” course? I know of them, but haven’t actually participated in a class, but it looks like fun. Basically, you learn different methods of doodling and design, and anyone can do it.

However, just plain doodling is relaxing and fun. I’m sure that there is some study somewhere that tells you what your particular doodles mean, but frankly, I don’t care. Doodling for me is just fun for fun’s sake.

But if you’re going to doodle, you have to have a great doodling instrument. Years ago I bought myself a gorgeous Mont Blanc pen. It’s a beautiful thing; well-made, impressive looking, and feels good in the hand. It even has its own leather case. Neat, huh? But it’s a crap doodling pen.

For me, a black Sharpie fine-point pen is the ultimate doodling instrument—it makes great cartoons, doodles, and it’s the only one I use for addressing packages and snail mail.

My mom once found what was touted as “the premiere doodling pen” from Japan; the Uni-ball Signo. It comes in black and blue of course, but also delicious colors such as purple and emerald green. Mom fell hard for them, so I ordered them for her.

Well, they were not the glittering success she thought they would be, so I inherited them all. While they are pretty nice pens and do make an acceptable doodle, I’ll take the Sharpie fine-point pen, thank you very much.

So once you have “the” pen that works for you, start doodling. Why? Why not? Doodling is fun, relaxing and, in its way, sort of meditative (hence, the “Zen” in Zentangles).

There are even coloring books for adults now; everything from mandalas to exotic fish, flowers and animals. I have one that I occasionally work on, and it’s surprisingly relaxing.

In fact, if I’m having a bad day, just a few minutes of doodling is good therapy. Before you know it, the “bad” seeps away, leaving only the adventure of creating swirls, leaves, scrolls, cones and bubbles, cat faces and Egyptian eyes.

And it’s far from a waste of time. Anything at all that can calm you, relax you, put you in a better frame of mind and allow you a few minutes of sheer unsupervised fun—that’s a good thing.

So here’s my free prescription today: one great doodling pen and a big pad of paper. Directions: put pen on paper and go nuts.