The Doodle Index

During my undergraduate degree, I made an observation that there was a correlation between the amount of doodles in my lecture notes and my relative interest in the actual content of the lecture. It was a simple way of working out how much attention I’d paid in the lecture, and therefore which things I should probably put more revision effort into before exams. Since starting my PhD, where I don’t have lectures, I’ve found that it’s the complexity of the doodles that gives away how bored I am. Here are my findings from the plan for my literature review (all the black ink is me).

1 & 2. Simple geometric doodles, just absent-mindedly scribbling while I’m reading a moderately interesting paper or stopping to think about something.

3 & 4. More complex using shading, indicating a paper that is probably getting tedious or using a lot of words I don’t understand. Still abstract shapes.

5. Actual objects, my brain is starting to melt at the amount of equations this paper uses. I’ve probably taken to staring out the window by this point, too.

6. And finally, 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon.

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4 thoughts on “The Doodle Index

  1. I particularly like the shadowing. Yup, first sketches for me always start off as geometric abstractions. Which leads to some concept car or bike, something with wheels. Then humans. Usually the oddest looking one in sight, which unfortunately is me at times. Art and Science go together for a reason.

  2. I tend to mostly do patterns when doodling- then again, I’m not an artist :) I’ve always thought that doodling was some kind of Rorschach experience, the subconscious rising to the surface and all that. The problem is, when you start thinking about it in a meta sense, it probably affects what you’re observing…

    • I think you might be right… I remember when we were working on a piece of coursework about productivity in kelp, and my friend was explaining an equation to us while absent-mindedly doodling. When we looked at his piece of paper, he’d actually managed to scribble what looked like the word “kelp” over and over again! Or maybe it was “help”… :P

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