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For Times Like These

For Times Like These

The University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy Blog



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

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

It was suggested that I write something
about doodling for this Christmas-time blog –
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.

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
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
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
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

*Lynda Barry’s Making Comics;
**Austin Kleon’s blog:
A brief appreciation of John Baldessari:
^The doodle alphabet compr
ises 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

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