Students doodle in class for different reasons

Leia Karimul Bashar

Doodles are those seemingly meaningless little sketches people often draw mindlessly whenever they are preoccupied.

Habitual doodlers tend to find certain designs and illustrations they like and stick to those kinds of doodles. Jesson Garcia, 24, said he considers it a good time to doodle anytime he is near a piece of paper and a pencil.

“We live in a ridiculous world, I just doodle what I see,” said Garcia. “However, some of my personal favorites include dinosaurs, bunnies, trees and robots. I really like drawing robots.”

Jessica Wright, 23, also said she normally draws the same kinds of things when she doodles.

“I draw faces a lot,” said Wright, “I draw a lot of dancing, inanimate objects. Cigarettes, pencils, paperclips, beer cans, anything like that. I give them legs and arms, and I make sure they have dancing shoes on, and canes and top hats.”

A standard doodle consists of little more than a tiny drawing in the margin of a notebook. However, a doodle that stands out in some way can draw unwanted attention to its creator. Wright said people would watch her doodle in her notebooks in high school, and, looking back, she is embarrassed about the kinds of things she drew.

“They kind of thought I was weird,” she said. “No one ever said anything to me about it, but they obviously thought it was weird because I would never draw normal things.”

Sometimes, people use their doodles to blow off steam in stressful situations.

“I got a bill from St. Francis hospital for an outrageous amount of money,” said Garcia. “Since I couldn’t pay it at the time, I decided just to draw a Tyrannosaurus rex on the return portion of the bill, with the caption ‘it is a t-rex, he is hungry.’ Apparently, they would not accept that as payment because I still get bills from them.”

Is there a reason why people repeatedly draw the same things in their doodles? Sue Richards, 54, can attest to doodles overtaking her notebooks at work. She said she tends to draw circular patterns in her notes for work.

“I usually doodle either circles, or flowers-circles, you know, a circle with five flower petals around it, and then I make a stem,” said Richards. “Or I’ll make circles all around a page, like bunches of grapes.”

But Richards says she draws designs instead of illustrations solely for one reason.

“Because I’m a terrible artist and I figure if I can just get the basic shapes down, then that will be a definite plus,” she said.

Garcia seems to agree with Richards that doodles have nothing to do with unconscious desires or anything even remotely Freudian.

“It could be to express some kind of unrequited love or suppressed sexual impulses,” he said, “but really I think I just like to draw robot bunnies.”