Dawn DeVries Sokol


A Fine Line

Lately, I’ve had a nagging thought: What’s a doodle and what’s a drawing? I’ve seen some artists who proclaim their drawings as doodles. And some who proclaim their doodles as drawings. Which is it?

Doodling is supposed to be aimless, mindless, and a secondary activity while your thoughts are elsewhere. Or is it? I doodle at times mindlessly, but there are times I doodle with my mind spinning, the idea wheels turning. I brainstorm while I doodle. I meditate while I doodle. I see some sketches that are called doodles, but they are CLEARLY drawings. They have shading, they are realistic.

Doodling is really more non-realistic. At least, to me. My doodles cover my journal pages. They are me. But they are not realistic drawings, with shading and complexity. I guess if you set out to draw something specific, then that’s drawing? And if you’re just moving your pen around, that’s doodling?

I was in a doodle-off last year, of which I had a GREAT time. But some of the resulting art seemed to be more sketching or drawing rather than doodling. The participants still called it doodling, but to me that just seemed off somehow.

Merriam-Webster defines doodling as: “to draw or scribble aimlessly while occupied with something else” and drawing as “delineate, sketch”. Personally, I define anything I do as doodling because I don’t draw. Thing is, I’m not occupied with something else about 50% of the time that I doodle. But it’s NOT drawing. So then, what is it??

DoodlingDawn Sokol