An Online Guide for the Offline Doodler

Confessions of an Avid Doodler*

I enjoy doodling.  In elementary school, my doodles reflected (often magnified) particular characteristics of teachers I considered amusing.  In high school, doodling offered the outlet for my attempt at “coolness,” as I willfully disengaged from classes I did not find useful.  And in college, doodling helped me survive three hour lectures on gender history when it was, in fact, difficult to appear willfully engaged.

I imagined that this passion for doodling would die when I entered the teaching world, but then I encountered my first staff meeting.  There is only so long you can pretend to be concerned with the hot lunch routines for 100 elementary aged children, particularly when these issues manage to take on UN proportions.  As teachers teamed up to “tackle” the most efficient way to separate the 2% milk crowd from the chocolate milk crowd without offending the lactose intolerant, my mind wandered and my notes slowly transformed into a series of squiggles, shapes and designs.  The meeting ended, and I was left once again, with a page of doodles.

If the following testimony resonates with you, there is a good chance that you too, are a doodler.  As such, you have wrestled with the guilt that comes with the territory, plaguing yourself with questions:  Why do I doodle?  Why can’t I focus in this meeting?  Is it impossible to just leave this piece of paper alone?  Are these doodles even useful?  What the what, is a doodle anyway?  And how long can I hide this passion from my teachers or my students, my employers or my employees before they notice where my energy is being used?  In order to prevent this existential crisis in the doodle community, the following blog post presents an online guide for the offline doodler.  Step-by-step we will scratch the surface at these gnawing questions before you go and do something drastic, like take serious notes about chocolate milk rations.

*Disclaimer:  The following blog post is intended for doodlers.  However, those of you who look down on doodlers are welcome to read and are encouraged to doodle.

Step 1: Defining the Doodle 

A.  The Public Perception:  Merriam-Webster Definition

The dictionary illuminates a publicly held view of the practice.  A quick glance at the Merriam-Webster page on “doodle” and the negative connotation of doodling is clear with synonyms such as “fiddle, goof, or monkey (around).”

B. A New Understanding: The Doodle Manifesto

“We, the Doodlers of every nation, in order to form a more perfect world, establish semantic truth, promote whole-mind learning, provide for the struggling knowledge worker and student, enhance educational well-being, and secure the benefits of the Doodle for ourselves and our posterity, to ordain and establish this Manifesto for Doodlers everywhere.” – Set Forth by the Founding Strategic Doodlers this 14th day of February of the Year 2011)  Contrary to public opinion, the architects of the Doodle Revolution argue that there is no such thing as a mindless doodle.  Rather, doodling is to be understood as thinking in disguise.  Check out the Doodle Revolution website for Bootcamps and Webinars, online Toolkits, and professional doodle projects.

Step 2:  You are Not Alone – Doodling in History

Doodlers can take comfort in the number of famous historical figures who doodled during their careers.

A. Monastic Doodling – Illuminating a Dark Age

Monks illuminated manuscripts for years.  You can imagine their minds wandered from time to time, often resulting in beautiful doodle work.

B. The American Presidents:  All the Presidents Doodles

This article makes it clear that Presidents are human.  They daydream and therefore, they doodle.

Andrew Jackson: 1833

C. George Lucas on the Set of Star Wars

These Doodles were found on the set of the first Star Wars movies.  Using the psychology of the doodle, try to figure out what goes on in the mind of Lucas?  (This might explain the Jar Jar Binks debacle).

D.  Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum

Doodles found in Tony Blairs seat at the W.E.F. caused a stir, until they were identified as the work of Bill Gates.

Step 3:  Doodle Like It’s Your Job…and maybe it will be.

A.  Google Doodles

Google Doodles Over Time

If you are familiar with the doodles of Google check out why the company believes “Doodling is Real Work

B. Kickstarter Business Plan: Andrew and Tom will Teach the World How to Doodle

Take your passion and create a book like Andrew and Tom through Kickstarter!

C. Web Design

Read how this is one profession where doodling creativity is an asset, and not a waste of time.

D.  RSA Animation

Doodling that morphs into animation, can express information in radically new ways.  RSA Animated videos model the educational value of doodling done right.


This quick guide is meant to offer hope to the doodlers of the world.  If you are still not convinced that doodling matters, read further studies presented by NPR or Time Magazine.  Perhaps next year you will make it into the Hall of Fame on National Doodle Day.


3 thoughts on “An Online Guide for the Offline Doodler

  1. As an avid doodle-er myself, it’s nice to know there is such an active community online. Also, in response to George Lucas’ doodle: Kashmir would have been an amazing choice. But what would they play in the Cantina? Black Dog…the Immigrant Song?

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