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.


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.


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.



Stretch © Sue O’Kieffe 2009

It came to me last night while I  playing with my latest zentangle , what my word for 2010 would be. Do you follow Christine Kane? Isn’t she inspiring? I like her exercise of choosing a word of intent for the upcoming year, instead of setting yourself up for failure with resolutions that are impossible to keep. Last year I chose Balance.

I like the feel of the word Stretch. It is active rather than passive. It encourages  me to face fears and stretch past them. One way I am looking forward to stretching is by opening a shop with my doodles on Etsy and other places by June.

I’m stretching in other ways as well. I took a huge leap by deciding I was worth it to participate in the smARTist Telesummit. I had it on my radar for 2011, but my little voices kept saying “why wait?” With a money back guarantee I decided I really didn’t have anything to lose.

The smARTist Telesummit is a professional art-career conference that you attend from your own phone, or listen to from a webcast on your computer. You never have to leave home or travel to hear all 7 days of keynote presentations from experts and successful artists. And the best part is that you get a chance to ask questions. I also like that the Telesummit is all content driven with zero time for the presenters to add any self promotion of their own during the time that they are presenting.

If you are an artist who wants to learn more about marketing and you know that you are worth it too, you might want to check out this program. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that I am part of an affiliate program that is available to anyone who signs up. If you join under this link, I will be compensated. If you join, you can become an affiliate and be compensated as well. We all win. That’s how I see it.

So, have you decided on a word for 2010 yet? I’d love for you to share with me, if you feel inclined.



I am officially declaring myself obsessed with learning about Zentangles. I think it is supposed to be a soothing exercise, but right now I think my brain is more tangled up than it is relaxed. But you know how brains can be. Who do they think they are anyway, and why do we let them be the boss of us?

I think I did these over the past week. I’ve kind of lost track of time with the holidays and all


I guess this is a very elaborate paisley or totally wild tear drop.

There is a definite seaside influence here. I like how pattern making offers me yet another new way of seeing things.


Day 30 – AEDM 30

Day 30 – © Sue O’Kieffe 2009

Late evening play. How many different patterns can I doodle on an 8.5×5.5 playing field?  Stay open. Don’t think too much. Be imperfect. It’s OK.

What a month. How can it possibly be over? 30 days of art plus launching the second phase of my art biz. I did it all. Wowee.

I didn’t get to some of the things I wanted to do. My moleskin is still in its wrapper and so are the pitt pens. But they aren’t going anywhere. I will open them when I can relax a little bit more. I’ve so appreciated meeting new artists and the inspiration received from you all.



I Just Wanted to Color – AEDM 29

I Just Wanted to Color © Sue O’Kieffe 2009

I can’t believe AEDM is almost over. This has been the funnest month for me, and I love how it kept me busy with my art. There were things I wanted to do that I didn’t get to, and I hope I get to those want-to’s sooner than next November.

I didn’t really have anything in mind when I created this doodle except coloring it in. Choosing the colors is the best part of a project anyway, don’t you think?

I’ve loved meeting so many wonderful creatives this month. You’ve inspired and wowed me.