Improve Your Drawing With A Daily Doodle
The key to perfecting your art is practice. Like my piano teacher used to say, “perfect practice makes perfect.”
Perfect practice sounds great in theory. It’s the ideal way to use your practice to push yourself and your talents to new limits.
But what if that pressure to get it all right actually keeps us from getting started?
While using targeted exercises to improve your drawing is great for intermediate artists, it’s important for beginning artists to get repetitions in, however you can.
And one of the best ways to get into a daily drawing habit?
Today, we’re going to break down why we should embrace the humble doodle on our way to drawing mastery.
The Importance Of The Daily Doodle
The doodle is by definition a non-structured, non-serious sketch. What we’re advocating for today is applying just the tiniest amount of pressure and doing these non-structured, non-serious sketches every day.
Once you build up that momentum, you’ll be in good shape to see how to start improving your drawing.
Inspiration Waits For No Doodle
Think back to your best doodling moments. Maybe you found a lecture uninspiring, so your doodles lept from the side of your page on their way to overtaking the whole notebook. Maybe your boss wanted to dive into the details with a three-hour Excel marathon, so your doodles leapt off the meeting agenda onto the table itself.
In those moments, your doodles were inspired.
If you’d like your doodles to become drawings that improve, though, you can’t just wait for inspiration to come along (unless your boss gives those Excel marathons daily, then you’re in luck).
In fact, if you aren’t happy with how your drawings are improving, it could be because you’re waiting for the just-right moment for inspiration to strike.
As writer W. Somerset Maugham once said, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
The solution? Get your doodle on even when you’re not feeling so inspired.
Learn About Doodling Dedication From Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld is known for many things: his stand-up, Seinfeld, and his propensity for drinking coffee with funny friends. One of his lesser-known qualities? Productivity guru.
A few years ago Seinfeld was asked by a younger comic how to become a better comedian. Seinfeld’s response: the way to be a better comic is to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes is to write every day.
The goal isn’t some number of jokes or sold out shows or anything in between. The goal is to write every day.
For Seinfeld, the clearest way to do that was with a large calendar. For each successful attempt, you get to put an X through that day. Soon, you have an imposing chain of completed days staring back at you. Do you dare skip a day and break the chain?
Or do you keep going, toward better and better jokes, or in this case, better and better drawings?
7 Surfaces To Doodle On For Your Daily Doodle
Armed with the twin ideas of not waiting to find inspiration and committing to doing something every day, the only thing left is finding the time - or the place - to do our work.
With writing, the idea is always to create a space - an office, a nook, the dining room table - that you can come to at the same time each day to work.
While that could also be the best-case scenario for drawing, the fun and the promise of the doodle have always been connected to how mobile it is. A doodle can happen anytime, any place, and during any class.
(Junior high school teachers may not be as excited about them.)
Don’t get tricked into thinking that makes getting to your doodles any easier!
A routine is still an important way to get your doodle on, to practice your mechanics, and to see gradual, steady improvement.
With that in mind, see below for 7 unique surfaces to doodle on. Included are objects from around your home and your regular routine so you can make sure that you get your doodle on without missing a day.
Coffee Cups (And Napkins) - If you find yourself looking for what to doodle on while you enjoy your daily coffee, look no further! Use the curves of the cup for a circular story or each side of the napkin for a four-to-eight panel comic.
Post-It Notes - Take a single sticky note doodle for a contained doodle you can hide from view or embrace the whole stack with a doodle animation. Depending on the detail, try doing one frame of animation a day and see how far you’ve come after a month.
Grocery Bags - Whether your grocery runs involve canvas bags or reusable paper bags, a regular doodle will add character to your errands. (It can also be a nice surprise if your partner or your roommates take over the groceries for the week and get the joy of explaining them in the checkout line!)
Newspapers - If you’re still getting your local paper, why not add your own funnies to the funny pages? Or your own witty asides in the Opinions section? Let the news be your muse for these daily doodles.
Junk Mail - While junk mail can be a little bit obnoxious and should be avoided, why not have some fun with the pieces that sneak through? Create a series of monsters that terrorize all the newly listed homes in the neigbhorhood or a collection of hungry animals snacking on all of the fast food delivery pamphlets.
Whiteboards - Add a little life to the To Do list or the agile meeting notes by adding a nice little scribble in the corner. Erase and renew it each day to bring your coworkers along your daily doodle journey.
- Digital Doodles - If your daily commute isn’t conducive to sitting down with a paper and pen, swap in your digital device a quick sketch. While there are plenty of apps to help you with your digital drawing, sketching on your phone is dangerously close to switching over to social media, so be careful you get in your daily doodle first!
With these options, nothing can get between you and your daily doodle.
Once your daily doodle has grown to a weeklong streak - or even a month-long one! - why not reward yourself with our IRLA Drawing Pack! With achievements for hitting those week and month-long targets, you’ll have that just-right motivation to keep hitting the sketch pad.
Now let us know - what’s your go-to surface to doodle on?