Time was when, as a student, I would doodle on the last page of most of my school notebooks. Slowly more pages from the notebooks end would be consumed by fish, cats, butterflies, flowers, bees and random designs; sometimes even moustaches and earrings on photographs in textbooks! I was chided parents and teachers for goofing and not paying attention to studies. But I never managed to tell them that my abstract creations helped me memorise what was being taught in the class.
Years later, I came to know that doodling actually boosts learning abilities. There have researches to prove it. And then when my daughter started going to school, I never chided her for doodling. For some strange reason, she was obsessed with drawing cows, and she drew them in different shapes and sizes! I even came across a parent who had framed her son’s doodle-art and hung them on a living room wall!
Cut to present: One of my friends always carries a small doodling notebook. She takes a five-minute break from work every day to doodle. “It’s therapeutic,” she says. Another friend uses colouring books to stay refreshed and be more focused.
According to Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Different, doodling is deep thinking in disguise and it is a simple tool that helps in problem-solving.
A study published in The Arts in Psychotherapy says the brain's reward pathways become active during art-making activities like doodling. Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, led a team that used functional near-infrared spectroscopy technology to measure blood flow in the areas of the brain related to rewards while study participants completed a variety of art-making projects. "This shows that there might be inherent pleasure in doing art activities independent of the end results. Sometimes, we tend to be very critical of what we do because we have internalized, societal judgements of what is good or bad art and, therefore, who is skilled and who is not," said Kaimal.
In another research published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, 40 people were studied, with half of participants instructed to doodle while listening to a phone message about people confirming that they would attend a party. Those who were drawing had 29% better recollection of the calls than those who weren’t.
Go on and doodle as you read this; and while you are at it, I will continue to hone my drawing skills.