The Fine Art of Doodling

Emil Sands 13 April 2019
Image Credit: DeviantArt

It’s exam time. I’m trying to revise. I’m making notes. This is going well! So far I’ve got “Aeneid Book 1 is about the future and also the what happened before it.” Lets hope in an exam my brain can remember the word ‘past’. Let’s also hope I don’t write such crap. You guessed it – work is not going that well. I can’t even seem to string a sentence together for an article, let alone an essay on ancient literature. But one thing I can do in this period of revision, remorse at your poor choice of subject, and boredom, is doodle. Pages and pages of hand-scribbled notes are covered in weird and wacky creations.

I am rifling through revision notes. On one piece of paper, I have the beginnings of the verb endings for the greek verb ‘I miss’. I have tailed off by the future tense (that, bear in mind, is the second thing you write down – essentially, I have not gotten very far). But stringing down from the greek letters I have created a world of drag-queen cowboys throwing lassoos that just miss (see! it is relevant to my work!) their desired point, the necks of dragons and Marmite pots (apparently I was hungry?). Another is covered with Oliver Twist’s gang of street urchins in black dresses decked out with mohawks. One more has some minimalist (can I describe my own doodles as minimalist?) line structures, meant as poster designs maybe?

I don’t think that when I made these drawing a week ago I either realised that I was doing it or even thought about it after. That, to me, is why doodling is so great. A look into the wandering brain of a bored, 20 year old – drawing as a totally subconscious act. It is often at these points of boredom that your brain wanders off into recesses of thought you did not know were there. Suddenly all of Dickensian England has mohawks. Cowboys’ ultra-masculine status is reversed and the world looks fresh! Plus, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting the word ‘I miss’ anytime soon. Thank you doodling for reminding me why I love art. You can create a whole new world. A world that reflects or rejects how we live and what we value. Art can hold a mirror up to our society’s problems and show us new ways to tackle them. It can also be funny, silly, and unimportant. I realise that is a lot to get from my own tiny doodles, but let me have this one…it was writing this article or reading more of the Aeneid. I know which one I’d rather.