How to Doodle, Freehand

    Surrounded by DoodlesThe Question

    “How do you Doodle?” That’s been a difficult question to answer because Doodling is something I “just do.” Inspired by my recently completed 30-Day Doodle Challenge, here’s my first attempt at breaking down and clarifying the Freehand Doodle process.

    The Answer, Part One ~ The Tools

    Doodles I post online are mixed and matched. Some are doodled directly into the computer via Wacom tablet. Others are drawn using permanent markers and then scanned. Sometimes I alter the scanned images. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I combine pieces of various doodles.

    I use Photoshop for all computer doodle work.

    When I doodle on paper, I use basic 8-1/2 x 11 copy paper and permanent markers. For a long time, they were strictly Sharpies. (I still use the fine point and ultra fine points.) However, quality control for its chisel point has been sketchy of late so I recently began using Staples’ brand permanent marker.

    The Answer, Part Two ~ The Philosophy

    The basic idea behind a Freehand Doodle is you draw a –>line, dash, dot, shape, squiggle, look at it; add another line, dash, dot, shape, squiggle, look at it. You keep repeating the process until you feel the doodle is complete. Also, doodles are heavy on the “ish” factor. The circles are circle-ish. Animals are animal-ish. People are people-ish. You get the idea. Therein lies the freedom of the Doodle Factor.

    The Answer, Part Three ~ The DIY/Step-by-Step Instructions

    For the sake of consistency and ease of explanation, the first draw made on each of the three examples was circle-ish. (Keep in mind, it takes longer to explain what I did than do it.) I had no idea what the doodle would be until completed.

    Doodle #B — “Circle-ish Doodle”

    c.224bw. circle-ish doodle1. head/body: circle
    2. eyebrows: line, squiggle
    3. eye: circles, filled
    4. mouth: half circle
    5. feet: little circles
    6. arms: checkmarks
    7. hands: lines, straight, smooshed



    Doodle #C — Girl

    Girl1. head: ellipse
    2. body & legs: lines, straight
    3. feet: ellipses
    4. arms: lines, straight
    5. hands: lines, straight, smooshed
    6: eyes: ellipses
    6b: iris: dot
    7: eyelashes: lines, straight
    8. nose: half-circle, vertical
    9. mouth: half-circle, horizontal
    10. freckles: dots
    11a. bangs: 1/2 ellipses
    11b. side hair: squiggle lines
    11c. top hair: 1/2 circles
    12. skirt: triangle, filled

    Doodle #D — Cat

    Cat1. head: circle
    2. ears: triangle
    2b. ears: triangle filled
    3. eyes: ellipses
    3b. iris: 1/2 circle
    3c. pupils: dots
    4: nose: triangle filled
    5. mouth: “j” forward/”j” backward
    6. whiskers: lines, straight
    7. body: circle
    8. paws: circles
    9. tail: “s”
    9b: tail tip: two half-ellipses

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    Sheila Bergquist - February 5, 2014 - 9:13 pm

    This is a great guide for people who have never done this. However, I still think there has to be talent there to do this and you definitely have it! I don’t think I could even get one right…haha. Love your doodles!

    Tana Bevan - February 6, 2014 - 5:26 pm

    Sheila — The whole thing about doodles, at least my take on doodles, is there truly is no right or wrong. A doodle, is a doodle, is a doodle. What some call doodles, I call art as they are very elaborate and complex. They may say the same thing about my doodles. I know not. I do know that approaching the doodle with the “anything goes” mindset is very freeing, and fun. (At least for the freehand doodles.) I also appreciate the simplicity of the doodles (that I doodle). This is a very doodley answer. Bottom line. If you decide to try your hand at doodling, have fun with it. That’s really what’s important.