To me, doodles are a wonderful way to access your personal symbology and inner world because we don’t have to think about doodling.
Last year in October 2014 I started a “Doodle a day” challenge on this blog. I had so much positive feedback and enthusiasm from those joining the challenge that I have decided to start another Doodle a day challenge beginning November 1st 2015. You may have heard that doodles are a wonderful way to engage your creative brain for thinking and for retaining information that you take in (see news video below). I often encourage my art therapy students to doodle during my lectures because I know it helps them stay focused. But did you know that doodles can also help you connect with your inner wisdom? How is that possible if it is just a doodle?
Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting started with using art for self-expression is our own self-judgement.
Doodles, because they are so spontaneous, usually quick and done without too much conscious planning have the ability to let us loosen up and express ourselves without the interference of the judging mind. Now that is not to say that the critique will not interfere by passing judgements or with discouraging feedback, however something about the spontaneity of the doodle allows you to bypass most of that interference, because after all it’s just a doodle.
Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting started with using art for self-expression is our own self-judgement. When we already have in mind that what we are going to do or we have a specified end result, we can sometimes become distracted and even paralyzed by those expectations. Doodles by their very nature are spontaneous, quick, unplanned, often “messy” and usually there is no end product in mind. Most people do not doodle with the intention of framing it afterwards. Doodles are process oriented, and the act of doodling gives us some pleasure. They are something that we can do while we are engaging in something else (think long boring meetings) or squeeze in as a 5 minute “rest” from the day.
Self exploration through doodling will work best if you let go of end results
To me, doodles are a wonderful way to access your personal symbology and inner world because we don’t have to think about doodling. And thinking too much can be a deterrent to creating authentically. Now before you get all excited and start planning to join me on November 1st for the Doodle a Day challenge, let’s get a few things straight. Self exploration through doodling will work best if you let go of end results, in other words don’t expect to find deep truths via all your doodling. Sometimes a doodle is just a doodle. Doodling can serve so many purposes, one of which simply is being present. The nice thing about doodling is that it is easy to do, and once we start putting too many expectations on this simple act we complicate it, which usually means we are thinking too much about it. In which case, we might as well openly invite our inner critic to the party, along with self-doubt, creative blockers and other censors to self-expression. Get the picture?
One last important note, instead of calling this a Doodle a Day Challenge as I did last year, I propose we call it a journey: the Doodle a Day Journey 2015. If you can join in each day fabulous! If you can join in every other day, fabulous! if You can join in once a week that too is Fabulous. Whatever makes sense for you to do is up to you. The main thing is that you follow your doodle where it takes you, let it lead you rather than trying to direct it and see and accept what unfolds, whatever that is.
#DoodleADayJourney Loose Guidelines:
- Stick with the doodle (you can come back to it) until it feels done to you.
- Not all doodles will be done in one sitting.
- Not all doodles will have colour added.
- It can take as long or as little time as you wish.
- It can be as small or as big as you wish.
- It can be drawn on any paper. You may find it easier to sustain your practice though if you to choose a journal to directly draw your doodles in or to place your doodles in. This way you can track your doodles and if you choose to do the optional free writing about your doodle (see below) you can write about them.
Remember to doodle until your doodle says its done. Do what you can and share it online as a way to keep you focused on taking this doodling journey and even for some accountability.
An optional part of the doodle challenge:
For those of you who would like to use the doodles for self exploration you can take it a step further by free writing about your doodle after making it. Describe what you see and then reflect on any metaphors or symbols you notice in your written response.
Follow the Challenge and Share your DoodleAday Journey!
I will be posting my doodle a day on the ArtTherapist.ca website and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to join in, you can share your doodle over at the Virtual Art Circle https://www.facebook.com/arttherapist.ca or post it on Twitter tagging @drawingselfout with #doodleadayJourney or via Instagram with #doodleadayJourney and tag @petreaadamidis
One more week and we will begin! Until then make sure you choose something to doodle with and on.