The Health Benefits of Doodling

Janus © Sue O’Kieffe 2010

The name, given to the month of ‘January’, is derived from the ancient Roman name ‘Janus’ who presided over the gate to the new year. He was revered as the ‘God of Gateways’, ‘of Doorways’ and ‘of the Journey’, later known as ‘St. Januarius’. Janus protected the ‘Gate of Heaven’, known as the ‘Lord of Beginnings’, is associated with the ‘Goddess Juno-Janus’, and often symbolised by an image of a face that looks forwards and backwards at the same time. This symbolism can easily be associated with the month known as for many the start of a new year bodes opportunity, casting out the old and in with the new. It is the time when many reflect on events of the previous year and often resolve to redress or improve some aspect of daily life or personal philosophy. ~mystical world wide web

I have a doodle ritual. Every night before I go to bed, I take sharpie to paper for an hour or so. I unwind. I don’t eat after 8 pm. I sleep like a baby.  I have great dreams.

Having just begun a new health regimen of more nutritious eating and exercising on a daily basis, I am happy to realize doodling helps me maintain my goals of no late night munching and eight hours of sleep per night.

Dr. Oz would be so proud!

What personal benefits do you derive from your doodle love?

SueDoodles

Thoughts on Doodling

Love Drops and Bubbles © Sue O’Kieffe 2010

Last week someone left a comment about how to begin doodling.   The simplest answer I can offer is to just begin. Go to an art supply store and find a sketch pad. Do you like how the paper feels? Get some pens. I’ve experimented with microns and sharpies and stay with sharpies because I like the line it produces. Find some markers. Crayola has some good ones that aren’t expensive. My art splurge is prismacolor pencils. I’ve had a set for a long time and 48 colors just weren’t enough. Yesterday I bought more colors. A girl cannot have enough colors.

Put your pen to paper and see where your hand takes you. There are no rules except for the ones you make for yourself.

Find inspiration. You will find tons of inspiration on my blog roll. Flickr and YouTube are other great sources. Google *doodle*. The internet is your playground.

Be willing to explore. Two years ago I believed I could not draw, and what I have learned in the past two years is that I love to create abstract patterns. Doodling feeds that love.

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I am quite methodical  and a little obsessive when it comes to learning a new skill. It is my way of gaining confidence. And so for the past couple of months this is how I have been learning the zentangle patterns that Zentangles offers in their monthly newsletter. I’ve been drawing the patterns over and over.  I’ve been doing this because I was a little bored with what I was doing and wanted to learn a different approach to line drawing. Eventually I want to incorporate these patterns into my own doodle style.

~SueDoodles

What to do after an earthquake

We had a 6.5 earthquake up here on the North Coast of California. It’s probably been 10 years since I’ve experienced a quake of that magnitude, and I have experienced larger ones. They are a scary and fascinating at the same time. Other areas of the county had more damage than where I live, but I was without electricity for about four hours. God bless those folks who work for the power company, and thank goodness it wasn’t raining last night. I’m sure it made life easier for them as they made repairs.

As soon as I realized I was in no danger, I got out my sharpie and sketchpad and started doodling. What else is there to do? What people say about doodling being a calmative is true. I worked on my drawing until it got too dark to see, and then I decided (since I have electric cooking) to see if anywhere with food was open. I took my sketchpad with me. The restaurant was hoppin’ and I doodled away while waiting for my food. I had a very nice chat with another woman sitting at the counter next to me who was worried about her nesting finches, and shared  a good laugh with her imagining what they might have thought.

I came home after eating a pretty good chicken salad, lit a couple of candles, and finished my drawing. I’d never drawn to candlelight before. It was an interesting, almost eerie experience, as the light flickered against the page. My hand knew almost instinctively where to go.

About the time I decided to go to sleep, the power was restored. I finished my drawing, only adding the shading.

After an Earthquake © Sue O’Kieffe 2010

What I learned from this is that doodling really IS an excellent way to stay in the present, when really there is nothing left to do.

SueDoodles

Bliss Light Now

Bliss Tangle © Sue O’Kieffe 2010

Light Tangle © Sue O’Kieffe 2010


Now Tangle © Sue O’Kieffe 2010

Im having fun playing with different tangle patterns. Some of them I’ve  learned pretty quickly and others take practice. When I practice something I enjoy, it’s not a chore. I like engraving new neural pathways into my brain. I like learning.  A year ago learning these patterns seemed like too much work to me. Something shifted!

DOODLE NEWS

Margaret Storer-Roche is doing a ZenJournal on her blog Water Blossoms.  Her drawings are awesome. Be sure to go take a look. And over at Daisy Yellow, Tammy is offering creativity prompts for the month of January. Art=Happy indeed!

SueDoodles