Review: Doodling for Papercrafters

Part of the fun of owning a blank journal is the flexibility to use the blank page as a canvas for your ideas. You can choose to write or draw on the pages, sometimes at the same time. Most of the time, however, blank books go marked only with the printed word across the pages. Sometimes, rarely, do we ever think to decorate the pages with quick sketches of images our eyes have seen throughout the day. Even more rarely do we ever just practice the fine art of doodling around the entries with a basic pen.

Enter Doodling for Papercrafters, by Maelynn Cheung. Cheung has written a fun, creative, how-to guide to creating original, hand drawn embellishments to your paper arts. This fast paced and quirky book takes you on a crash course through the joys of doodling on paper. The book teaches you simple and complex ways to add some personalized art to your creative works. Learn simple techniques like making lines and squigglies to advanced flower and paisleys. Doodling for Papercrafters is heavily illustrated which helps to show the diversity of doodles artists have implemented in their own works.

Cheung is a scrapbook artist who believes that adding simple doodles gives paper projects a touch of personality. And this book delivers a lot of personality; starting with the cover--which caught my eye and compelled me to buy it. I imagine she wrote this book as if she were giving one of her classes in a creative room. Her tone is friendly and every step is illustrated with both hand drawn and real-life (with commentary) examples.

The book is broken up into six sections. Each section builds on one another and each one is color coded so you can reference the book easily. The first section, Introduction, gives you background information on what Cheung thinks doodling is, why bother learning how to doodle, and recommended tools. The next section, Doodles, begins to teach you how to make amazing and fun doodles using simple elements such as lines, circles, waves, swirls, vines and flowers. In Lettering, she then teaches you how to use the alphabet as a doodling technique. The next section, Journaling, builds off the last section and helps gives you ideas to doodle journalling work. The last how-to section in this tutorial covers advance techniques like creating paisleys and making your doodles 3-dimensional. The book closes with Inspiration, which is a selection of layouts and creations that showcase all the techniques Cheung presents in this book.

Curious about the book but don't want to invest in it? Go visit Cheung's website and download three sample PDFs of her doodling techniques. Each file gives you a condensed preview of the techniques she explores in-depth in her book:

Bottom line is that Doodling for Papercrafters is a fast, fun and practical introduction to doodling. While this book may seem focused on scrapbooks and their design, don't be fooled. The ideas within can be applied to all your creative projects. Expand your artistic abilities by applying these concepts to your own journals or scrapbook layouts as soon as you read about them. Many examples in the book also reinforce this idea as they range from traditional scrapbook layouts to CDs to fabric arts.

Doodling for Papercrafts is a quick read, at only 100 pages; but it's printed in full-color glory so you can see how to use color within each doodling example. It costs $19.95 but is well worth the purchase.

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doodling validation!

Cool. I'm very artistically challenged, but I've always been a doodler. Waaaaay back in high school, we were asked AFTER a week long discussion of Beowulf to turn in all of our discussion notes. EEK. Mine were complete doodles, only a sentence here and there. The teacher made me turn them anyway. She made no comments on them thank goodness, and luckily it wasn't part of the grade.

Even to this day, notes from meetings are very liberally interspersed with doodles. Mine are mostly geometric. But I do switch between red and black ink pens. It's pretty funny to go back and look at doodles made by such a verbally oriented person.

ahhh, this website is so good for personal quirk validation.

Thanks for the review!
-kmorris

A professor's validation

I am a doodler, too. One of my undergrad profs noticed that while I doodled away in his class, and looked otherwise uninterested, I still was getting very good grades. He explained that for some, doodling can keep your scattered subconcious busy so that you are able to concentrate on what's really at hand. Same thing for other "quirks" like spinning, humming, munching while studying, etc. Not sure if that's true or not...
JWhitt

Distracting the chorus in your mind

Yes!!! I found the same thing, all through high school and college. In classes where I was doodling and then stopped, my grades dropped. Distracting the latent daydreams in my head by drawing on the back of my notebooks gave my rational, listening mind the ability to be rational and, well, listen.

The positive side was that I had art to share, some of it, and decent grades. Also moved pretty quickly from cheap ballpoints to more well-made ones, and then to drafting pens (this was years before I discovered fountain pens).

Simple explanation for this phenomenon

Believe it or not, there is a simple explanation for what you described, and your professor experienced....

It turns out that there are different ways of learning, assimilating information/knowledge. Some people are auditory--they absorb what they here, and taking notes can actually be a distraction for them. They would rather sit, and hear (even eyes closed). Others are visual learners... they need to see to understand. Reading, or watching demonstrations works best for them.

These first two are rather simple to both understand _and_ accomodate in the classroom. The last one, however, is somewhat more complicated to grasp for the auditory and visual learners, and worse, most difficult to adapt education methods too--this third is the kinetic learn. they must _do_--be in constant motion, so to speak. These are the "hands-on" people. They are also the people who tend to pace while studying, and doodle while on the phone or taking notes. Often, they like to draw pictures to explain things, rather than words (a way of making "kinetic" notes) As you can well imagine, having a classroom full of pacing, doodling kids would make teaching difficult. ;-) Hence, this last style of learning is the least-accomodated in the classroom. My personal suspicion is that many AD/HD kids are actually kinetic learners, who are frustrated with the typical classroom approach--listening and reading.

Personally, I'm an auditory learning, with a slight bent also towards the visual. My 14yr old daughter, on the other hand, is _massively_ kinetic! One thing she loves to do is listen to music on her mp3, and spin... often while _reading_! We home school, and have been allowed to let her fully utilize her style of learning, but I'll be honest with you, it's _quite_ disconcerting to me to watch her.... "in action..." ;-) But she is a fountain of knowledge, and more so, is an artist extraordinaire! She draws and paints, and does sculpture, and plays the piano, etc. So, doodlers of the world, untie! loosen up, and feel free in your style of learning/gaining/retaining information. :-)

-Jon

Kinesthetic-visual AND ADD

That's me!

Weird - I can go to a restaurant were there's tons of stuff going on and get just immersed in a book.

If I'm doing maths, though, I need near absolute quiet - especially if it's algebra and not geometry.

Though I do find that classical music (or any music sans lyrics) does help the concentration on some days.

Conference calls are absolute awfulness for me - I listen and listen and listen - and never remember a thing.

Conference Calls

So doodle! I've created some very intricate stuff during interminable calls, which are actually kind of nice since there's no demand for visual attention between caller and callee.

Give it a try - I'd be surprised if your attentiveness didn't increase.

Notes

Hi.

On those long calls where I don't have to say anything, I take notes. That is, I try to write/type what people are saying as they say it. I'm not fast enough to go verbatim, but I can generally get the gist of what each speaker is saying on the page before the next guy gets too far for me to catch up.

This serves several useful purposes for me--
one, it sharpens my attention on what's being said,
two, it's very easy to boil it down to action items later for broadcast meeting notes,
three, it's documentary evidence of what we did and didn't talk about,
four, it's easy to reread later, triggering the memory of what actual words were used,
five, it proves I was paying attention,
six, it helps me learn the voices and names of the participants.

It only works when I don't have to talk much--I can't talk and type at the same time sensibly and it's hard to keep after.

My memory stinks now and such 'conversational' notes have saved my bacon a couple of times. It's tiring to take notes like that, a little hard on the hands, but as long as I only have to do it for one meeting a day I'm OK.

Doodling is more fun, but it doesn't help me remember. I tune out my ears when my eyes are engaged, sometimes, so doodling a picture of something unrelated has the potential to get in the way of listening for me. I save doodling for the parts of the conversation that really don't apply to me.

For me, if it isn't written, it's extremely difficult to remember. Writing it myself makes it much easier, because I've thought about it twice at least--listening and understanding the message, then translating the aural message to my own words to type or write down. I'd rather type than write because I've got better speed typing. Anyway, reading it again later (to extract action items, for example) adds more repetition of the words, reinforcing the memory.

One thing I've noticed is that it's harder to 'tune out' inputs when I haven't had enough sleep. I'm having a very hard time today taking a WBT class while DH is in the background talking to a customer. My sleep was interrupted 3 times and it takes a very focused will to pay attention long enough to pass the WBT quizzes. Without major effort, my eyes slide across the page and the words don't even make it into the brain. Ugh. I need a nap.

The other thing that happens when I haven't had enough sleep is rambling. I think I'm rambling, so I'd better stop. :)

shris

looking at me strangely

I've done this many times. I bring a study book, highlighter and pen. I'll highlight the study book and write in the margins while I wait for my meal.

I went to a very crowded Korean restaurant once. Ordered and then took out my book. Meanwhile everyone was talking all around. Some were laughing others deep in conversation. I buried myself in my book, pulled out the highlighter and started going at it. I tuned everyone out. It was very noisy.

Suddenly, I became somehow aware that things had grown quiet. I wondered if something outside had drawn everyone's attention. I briefly looked up only to discover that everyone was looking at ME. They had this strange look in their faces as if I was from Mars. I felt very uncomfortable, ate quickly and left.

...dave
insomnia cure

It's good to hear

someone else's experience with their children's different learning styles. My son has AD/HD and I would agree with him being a kinetic learner (plus the impulsivity issue which led to the eventual diagnosis). We do not have the means to home school so I have been blessed with being able to send him to a small parochial school where he has a little bit of latitude.

Unfortunately, in the "real world," not everyone is going to be understanding in this form of learning. I think I just might suggest doodling to his teacher as another coping mechanism to keep him occupied while other kids are trying to learn. (Spinning would end up with him launching projectiles - definitely a no-no!)