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Who you calling a doodle?

How I learned to start engaging and love the doodle.


Natalia Sketchley



I must confess; I'm a terrible listener. Not to say that I don't try, but auditory is not my vibe, at least not 100% of the time. And it's gotten me into trouble, somewhat.

I've been told that if I wanted to progress, I needed to stop doodling in meetings. I once got called out by a VP in a meeting for drawing a lion, saying I wasn't paying attention. To prove her wrong, I rattled off everything that she had just said and even how others responded with their ideas. She had no retort.

You see, the thing is I'm a bad listener when that is the only thing you want me to do. I struggled with lectures at uni when a professor would just stand there and drone on about Plato's doctrines or the difference between isomers. I would write everything down that they said to help me remember and doodle in the margins. But those doodles were my lifesaver during exams. I would somehow remember the doodle from that day and could start to recall the topic and all its important information.

And it wasn't until a colleague, in that room where I doodled the lion, came to me to share a TED talk that I realised why. In Sunni Brown's TED talk, she goes through the power of doodling, stating that it engages all senses at once for better information retention. I recently shared it with the PR, Social, Content & SEO team here at IMA-HOME and realised that we don't do enough doodling in our own line of work, whether it's because of time or feeling that shame of not being serious.

But there's so much that doodling can help us do. Like…

1. Thinking time

Don't undervalue thinking time. We may need to hit deadlines and produce content, but thinking time is precious to organise your thoughts and make sure you're hitting the brief.

2. Collaboration

If there are others in your team that aren't necessarily auditory or readers, collaborating through doodles can make sure everyone is involved and contributing in a way that works best. It also means that we're thinking about our audience, because we're already working in ways that can engage different people, so the final result will reflect that.

3. Find unique solutions

We all get into our ruts in terms of ideas or ways of working. When one thing has always worked and suddenly doesn't, we can feel unmoored. Doodles can help us find our footing again with alternative solutions that we wouldn't come to otherwise - all from some random scribbles by letting your brain roam free.

After our team meeting, I had a few people say to me that they didn't think much of their doodles and showed me what their notebooks look like. I could see their pride that their squiggles, boxes, cartoons and more were not just a waste of time but a creative spark waiting to come through.

Here are a couple of my doodles through the years:

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