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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A doodle doodle DO!

I have a friend, a talented artist and crafts person, who constantly denigrates her work by shrugging and calling them "just doodles." (Trust me they are gorgeous.) I also remember the fear of getting called out in class for "doodling" when I should have been listening. (Are they mutually exclusive?). And who among us has had to stop the pen from working down the margins of notes during a meeting for fear someone would think we weren't serious enough? (Tony Blair was derided publicly over interpretations of found doodles until it was confirmed they belonged to Bill Gates seated on the same panel.)
some doodlers go for angles, apparently I like circles

Turns out doodling has gotten a bad rap for no sound reason. In researching the topic recently I found a study (published in Applied Cognitive Psychology) that showed that those of us who doodle are actually retaining more than those who do not. Why? Well, in layman's terms it is because the brain does not like to be inactive; when faced with possible boredom most brains default to daydreaming which utilizes a tremendous amount of executive functioning. A daydreamer rides off into his own complicated world while the doodler, using just enough brain power to prevent daydreaming, is actually hearing and retaining the delivered message. Sometimes the doodle takes off from the message and actually reinforces it!

So Do doodle.

One of the most inspiring advocates of doodling is Sunni Brown in her TED talk; well worth a couple of your minutes, listen here. She actually calls doodling a powerful tool and revises the many negative dictionary definitions as: to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think. She tracks our native development of doodles and stops short of calling it an instinct that is unnatural to deny.

intentional doodling is a great way to
 shorthand ideas for later use

So go for it. Doodle away. You'll be in the company of great thinkers including Bill Gates, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan.....

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