Doodling: to draw pictures or patterns while thinking about something else or when you are bored (definition as per Cambridge University).
Doodle, I believe is to draw without giving much thought, drawing your way out from the mind directly.
We all have done that, during a boring lecture in school, not so intriguing training, while waiting for a friend. We might draw a hangman/sticks-man, flower(s) or many circles or boxes, a word, a phrase, a quote, something fancy or something really lame. Or just end up writing the date in the corner and go about decorating it with boxes, borders and flowers, like how I do sometimes.
Doodling is an expression of your mind state. With a topic, a subject or concept and a time constraint defined, it is easy to move ahead and complete it. But what to do when you have no external topic given, no doodle reference from Pinterest, no one watching over how much time you spend? You are just let free. You have a blank paper and a pen/pencil and your mind dictates what you draw. One might draw scenery, a mandala, a bunch of flowers, whatever comes to the mind at that moment. What would you draw if given a chance like that?
Whenever I have been through a rough patch, I choose either to read, write or sometimes doodle. It is meditative, a break from the exhausting routine and ever intriguing digital world. Sometimes, the speed of the ever ambitious lifestyle drags me too far, always trying to complete or achieve something. I decelerate then and resort to my “slowing-down” corner.
Over the past 1.5 years I have drawn a few. Sometimes with a lead pencil or color pencils, scribbled flowers or an uplifting quote.
But one thing is constant, I always drew on a not so good looking paper, usually a linear line notepad. Reason: I never felt the need or rather I never considered my doodle worth a handsome, blank, good quality paper. When I had to draw something with a color pen, I would first draw the outline with a pencil and then overwrite it with the color pen; fearing a mistake if I would make any.
But on the hindsight, the end result was always appreciated by my loving, humble family & friends. The comments always make my inner child happy no doubt but I would also look at my doodle and question: is it really good? Well!!
One of the Friday nights, I was at home with no plan whatsoever. The stressful week had exhausted me. I just sat there looking into nothing and then scrolling through Instagram. I saw this oil painting done by one of my Instagram friends (this seems like a new way to categorize friends! Duh!)
It was really pretty, a boy looking into the amazing landscape of the Himalayas. It took him 4 hours to complete it and I believe that was surely meditative. Inspired by him, I resorted to doodle something for myself, without thinking of the end result and just letting it flow free. I ended up drawing a colorful 3-D box :D. Being delighted with it, I shared it with my friend. He said, had I used a better paper and pencils, the end result would have been much more satisfying. He does a lot of paintings himself, so I thought his advice might make a difference and I should consider it. Well, on the other side, you should check out his Instagram gallery. I find his work phenomenal.
The next time I sat to doodle, I used a better paper (at least not with the linear lines) and went straight on drawing with the color pen. I decided yet again to draw with my mind rather than letting Pinterest dictate what the next stroke should be.
It was an unusual experience for me, similar to how we feel about Life. I had a blank paper and a black color pen. Any mistake I would do on the paper could not be undone, just like in Life, you are held back by the fear of making a faulty decision.
The 4 inch X 5 inch box space was a lot, to decide where to start from, how to start and what to draw. Analogous to Life, when confronted with an ocean full of choices and opportunities, we need to decide which choice we make, the road we take and the path we tread.
As an Asian living in Europe, I find the cultural difference probing the same questions to me. Back home, where most of our choices, routines are driven by families, traditions & society, it becomes an obligation to follow and sometimes rather easy to know what you want and what you don’t want to do. This is a Collectivism approach to Life. However in the western world, it is more of an Individualistic approach. One is free to decide which direction they take in Life, their career path, life partner, etc etc.
It was an individualistic approach for me while I was doodling. I didn’t want to blew up my first fair work doodle. So, I was taking small strokes on the paper. As I went on, I gained confidence and I started taking bigger strokes. Then, I was in the middle of the space making arches and flowers, freely and happily. But suddenly my old black pen died of the ink. I had no choice but to finish the doodle, I had to move on. So then I turned to my brown color pen and brought my doodle to completion.
We do have similar moments in our lives too. We make a particular choice and walk the path towards our destination. While we are on our journey, we sometimes lose friends, family, confidence, faith, determination and much more. However we shouldn’t be stopping there. It is fine to wait for a moment, trying to absorb what has happened and decipher the next step. But it is rather important that we make that choice, pick ourselves together and complete the beautiful doodle of our Life.
I hope you enjoyed reading and my rather raw, childlike experience helped you look at Life with a positive gleam in your eyes.
So, until next time, stay healthy, happy and awesome just like me. And ya, if you like doodling then keep doodling too.