“Doodling serves as a means of keeping the hand or fingers limber, so that they are always ready for serious work.” – Charles E. Burchfield

Doesn’t everyone doodle? When I was a kid, I’d fill our phone book with doodles as I stretched the phone cord as far as I could to attain privacy away from my family to talk with a friend. I’d bring the phone book along and pretty much fill it with ball point pen doodles while I chatted. Mention phone cord and phone book in the same sentence and I’m really showing my age. Mention doodling and suddenly we have something in common. We can all look back at a time we’ve found ourselves doodling, whether sitting in a meeting, a classroom, or watching TV.

Not long ago a company who shall not be named decided to attempt to corner the market on doodling, certifying official trainers and copyrighting doodling patterns. Longtime doodlers carried on with their doodling, never referring to what they were doing by the newly trademarked name. In our classroom, we refer to these carefully executed line patterns as ZoneDoodles. Zone – because doodling is a great way to get your head in the creative zone. Doodle – well, duh.

In a recent post (here: I described the sketchbooks students created to help make their thinking visible, describing the ZoneDoodles they created on the cover.

Kyah Montano

Click on one image to view as a slide show:

These ZoneDoodles are created by dividing the 2 dimensional picture plane of the manila tag cover with intersecting lines that travel from the left side to right side of the page to create separate sections. Each section is then filled with repetitive line patterns with Sharpie. Color is then added with regular water-based markers to amplify the patterns. Examples of line pattern were provided as a resource for students, but only when original ideas had been temporarily exhausted. This took about two 50 minutes blocks to finish.

The gallery of student ZoneDoodles on Artsonia is here:

Annabel Palmer

After students finished their marker-on-paper ZoneDoodles, I introduced them to the Autodesk Sketchbook app with the purpose of creating Digital ZoneDoodles. Students explored layers, brushes, and the flood fill option in Sketchbook.

Click on one image to view as a slide show:

Because these are digital images, they have a more polished, professional looks to them. The kids were very pleased. I especially enjoy how some experimented with importing images to fill sections, particularly the ramen noodles.

The gallery of student ZoneDoodles and Artists Statements on Artsonia is here:


One comment

  1. […] In my school most electives teachers get all new classes in January for the start of term three, so I facilitate sketchbook making twice each year. Each time we make sketchbooks, we try out a new process for the cover artwork, including Collage, ZoneDoodles (my version of zentangle), Compass Shape Watercolor, Paper Circuits, Blown-Splatter-Drip Painting, Mandalas, and this year – Colorful ZoneDoodles, which will be shared in an upcoming post. […]

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