When you are bored in class, you might have noticed yourself making random lines, shapes and figures in your copy. It might not make sense but with practice, you can turn that ‘gibberish’ into an art piece. Anything you make to express your thoughts and perspective can be considered art, no matter what medium you choose. Doodle artists in the international spectrum have been recognized but our own doodlers are struggling to spread the message that doodle is a form of art. Doodling is a form of art or expression where anyone, artist or not, can express their feelings. And it has been directly linked with the artists’ mental state. Those who doodle do it like meditation. Discussing the same, three local doodlers shared their stories of how they started doodling and how important the practice is for them, with My City’s Nasana Bajracharya. Here are the excerpts.
I was having a tough time emotionally during my college days. Doodling became my break-out from that stressed mindset, like meditation. I was doodling randomly and posting pictures online, which was liked by many. Common interest for doodling introduced me to Sabina Shrestha and together we started DoodleCha in April 2017 and made bookmarks and personalized cards for many. Now I work alone.
I doodle like we write journals -- about my feelings, things bothering me and things that make me happy. I am self-taught and I constantly research about other doodlers and artists. While doodling, I normally pick a starting point (or corner) then make outlines or shapes before I start. Then I divide it and fill in each with different patterns as much as possible. This is also what I tell others, during meetings and workshops that we do.
In collaboration with other organizations, I conduct different three-hour workshops where the participants learn about doodling techniques, art details, and mindfulness. In all workshops, social media has played a major role both in getting participants and collecting their feedbacks. We have also launched different monthly, themed doodle challenges. The participants say that these challenges help their mind to calm down and recharge.
There are no mistakes in doodling and clear lines are also not mandatory. Doodling is about exploring oneself, practicing patience, concentration and mindfulness. It takes a lot of dedication to make one good piece and in result, one gets great satisfaction. It has become my way of life, and with practice others can adapt it as well.
Bikash Man Shakya
In the aftermath of the earthquake three years ago, I had a plenty of time in hand. So I took that opportunity to start doodling in a serious manner the same month (as doodlemandu). I did scribble here and there but taking it to the next level was not possible then.
I normally search online and get some inspiration, based on which I start doodling. I pick a corner or a line and start from left to right. I have a very random approach and it depends on my mood. It has become my escape but I cannot start unless I have a calm mindset. Once I start I see to it that I finish it.
Doodling is not like other art forms, it cannot be done with a plan; it must be instant, but should also have a concept. It is also not restricted to paper, I have experimented on shoes, guitar, t-shirts, bookmarks, cardboards, helmets, and walls. It also does not need to be black and white only; I started coloring doodles recently and I have been experimenting with letters of Ranjana script. Many of us doodle knowingly or unknowingly, but for doodling to be established as a form of art in Nepal, doodle artists including myself need to improve and refine skills in an organized manner.
It starts with a scribble, and then it takes form. It is not a perfect form of art, so anyone can start and doodle what they want, as they want. You start improving your skills from there. I try to motivate those around me and to promote it further, I plan to publish a coloring book soon.
Julia Bajracharya Dahal
I was never good at sketching but used to scribble since I was a small child. But I as grew up, I forgot that it was fun. Later, I started scribbling again when I was struggling with anxiety disorder and panic attacks at the end of my Bachelor’s degree. I had hard time expressing and my friend introduced me to a stress-relief coloring book. It helped me reconnect with my long lost love for doodling.
Doodling for me is an act of mindfulness or meditation. I started TheOrangeInk in March 2017 and my mental health has improved a lot. I mostly doodle on mandalas and also make hand-made cards, bookmarks and showpieces for people in Pokhara. I am working more on designs. If you walk around the lakeside, you can see some forms of doodle either in restaurant or art and craft shops. People know about it, get fascinated but are unaware about the art form.
Doodling is for everyone, even those who do not know how to draw a tree. Some form of art should be introduced in school curriculum as a subject so that students can learn mindfulness at a young age. Doodling can be one of such art forms. I plan on doing some workshops in schools myself.
We all have those days when we do not know what we feel and why, nor can we explain but it bothers us too much. With doodle, I express my feelings without having to realize how I feel, which is very therapeutic for me. I encourage people to engage in doodling and also be aware of mental health and its importance, for which I am collaborating with other doodlers, like I did last September.