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The History of the Doodler | Tracing a Doodle Timeline

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The History of the Doodler | Tracing a Doodle Timeline

For too long now, Doodling has been downplayed as an absent minded sketch, passing the time as we idly chat on the phone or drift off during meetings. Yet from the moment we are born, the unescapable urge to put pen to paper - or crayon to white wall - beats our first words or staggered steps.

So why do we always come back to drawing?

We’ve traced the history of Doodling to try and get to the bottom of our unescapable urge to draw and how the 21st Century Doodler has evolved.

Cave Paintings and The 500,000 Year Old Doodle

One of the oldest abstract markings ever found has been discovered in Indonesia. The zigzag marking carved by our earliest ancestors is said to be over 500,000 years old according to archaeologists. The scribble on a shell is the first evidence that man ever drew, pathing the way for epoch tales and triumphs to be detailed in drawings in caves across the globe.

Claudio Divizia Hermera Thinkstock © Getty Images - Leondardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genuis is at the Science Museum until 4th September 2016.

Doodling the da Vinci Way

Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings are iconic. His bizarre mechanical inventions, life drawings of fetus in the womb and cross sections of animal skeletons are showcased in many museums across the world. As we try to unpick the genius behind his many inventions, stunning paintings and abstract drawings, it would appear the scribbles and sketches that line his sketchbooks are key to unlocking our creativity.

Researchers have discovered that people enter an absorbed state of consciousness when sketching, boosting productivity and our ability to solve problems creatively. Psychologists describe the concept as being ‘in the zone’.

A recent experiment has found that those who doodle were more likely to reach a creative ‘flow’, resulting in a positive influence on writing tasks as well as visual reasoning. “Our study shows that sketching makes the design process seem easier” says David Pearson, Reader in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University who carried out the research. “We now know sketching does make a difference when carrying out creative activities because it increases the likelihood of reaching that sweet spot of engagement.”1 Good news for all us creatives types!

1. Leondardo da Vinci Research quotes courtesy of Chris Somers article in The Times

For No Good Readon: Embracing the Doodle

Ralph Steadman's splattered illustrations and ink splotted doodles have frquently splashed across the pages of newspapers, magazines and famous authors for over 80 years. 

His provocative cartoons and often grotesque illustrations were brought to life beyond the precise technical drawing that occipied his professional career in The Royal Airforce.

Hopping across the pond to the US, Steadman experimented with the satirical and provactive illustrations that he is know renowned for.

His creative process often began with a blot of ink on a white page, and later combined acrylic and oil paint, etching and silk screen to create an abundance of lines and layered marks. He treated unintended marks as an opportunity to take his work in a different direction, the true ethos behind the doodle.

Digital Doodles

The conventional doodle drawing is changing. As technology makes our lives bigger, better, faster, stronger, it seems even the doodle is keeping up with the times as artwork makes the digital jump.

Google Doodles

Since the first doodle went live in 1998, Google has invited guest artists and illustrators to join their doodle team on over 2,000 homepages across the world. 

Celebrating anniversaries, visionaries, famous artist and the pioneers, their inspirational doodle-a-day ethos brings an element of joy to our daily google search. 

Enjoy more Google Doodles on their dedicated doodle homepage.

From interactive games to detailed drawings, the range of doodles are endless fun. Running an annual competition across the world, they invite everyone to get thinking the doodle way and create their own digital artwork.

The endless possibilities for digital drawing have taken artists and illustrators to new realms. But one app is taking over our addiction to social media with their answer to anyone becoming a digital drawer.

Snap Chat

Sharing his adventures in 10 second bites of hilarious scribbles, artist Shaun McBride has taken his snaps to new levels, with his imaginative photos of his day-to-day life with his alter ego Shonduras.

From back-to-back snap sequences to a creative short film, Shaun has transformed SnapChat into a platform where creativity and artwork can thrive.

Find out more about Shaun's journey to SnapChat fame, click here.

See more of Shaun's crazy snaps here.

Feeling Inspired?

We've got the tools for you to scribble and sketch the doodle way. Head to the Drawing section of our website for the latest offers and products.

Looking for more Doodle-spiration?

Boost your creativity with our blog: 5 Reasons Why You Should Doodle

Armed with his pen, ready to turn the universe into his canvas, Meet The Doodle Man