by teacher and author Alyssa Bermudez
The Power of Doodling
I have been an art teacher for various age groups over the last decade and have witnessed the impact of doodling among students. It can be a powerful tool for children across any range of drawing skills. In addition to teaching, I have written in diaries for most of my life and recently wrote and illustrated a book based on these diaries.
Doodling is a superb way to express yourself, escape into a world of imagination, and build confidence. It can be a way to communicate big ideas or intense feelings that are hard to put into words alone. These drawings can be simple, combined with words and descriptions or developed into bigger art pieces and comics.
Wondering where to begin? Start off by introducing yourself! Create a page that is all about you. Maybe it’s a stick figure holding a soccer ball, or perhaps a more detailed drawing with symbols and colors. You can add labels to describe things that might not be clear. If someone isn’t ready to draw a full person, they could create their name in funky block letters, while filling in each letter with some of their personal preferences. You can make one of these name doodles for a friend or family member too, which is a really kind gesture.
A wonderful place to gather ideas for doodling is through lists. Lists are a great addition or alternative to journalling and serve a similar purpose. Children can create a visual list to capture feelings and make sense of the world around them in a simple way. Some list examples could include:
- Ways I Would Make The World A Better Place
- Methods for Feeling Happy
- People I Really Admire
- Things That Really Get On My Nerves
- What’s in my Dream Vacation Suitcase
By adding drawings and doodles to these lists, it can add an extra layer of fun to this expressive experience. It can be helpful to create diagrams big or small to describe the contents of your world: Parents, siblings, school friends, favorite places, foods, likes or dislikes, school subjects, music, books, and more!
How about a visual pros & cons type of list? This can be a creative way for a child to make decisions and navigate their world as they grow up and have an increasing amount of say in their own lives.
Doodling without descriptions can also be a powerful way to communicate feelings that are difficult to put into words. Whether children are dealing with life-altering events, stresses, or anything in between, capturing the mood with doodling can be healing. This kind of doodle can be started with the shape of a thought bubble first and then filled up with symbols or sketches that make sense to them.
Perhaps they can spell out the list titles with letters from newspaper and magazine clippings. Why not decorate entries with collaged elements? Use your favorite pen, coloring pencils, or markers if you like. Make it as fun as possible!
I also think it’s fantastic to keep these expressive creations in a folder or notebook so they remain together and can serve as a time capsule for what matters in your world right now. You never know if you’ll share some of it with the world as a grown-up as I did.
About Alyssa Bermudez
Alyssa Bermudez is a born and bred New Yorker living down under in Tasmania! She studied illustration and animation at the Fashion Institute of Technology for undergraduate and graduate courses. As an author, illustrator, and art teacher for students aged 5-75+, she strives to put the KA-POW into stories and learning, while representing children of diverse backgrounds. Big Apple Diaries is her debut graphic novel. Her illustrations can be found in fabric and fashion, in magazines, many children’s books and even on stage! She is obsessed with dogs, books, live sketching, mountain biking, traveling and keeping plants alive. Follow Alyssa on Instagram and Twitter.