Aerobics of the Mind author Marge Engelman taught me that our imagination tends to need a jump start. One of the exercises in her book that I have often used in my presentations (with her blessing) consists of putting a few lines on a piece of paper and asking participants to finish it in some way. If I simply said, “Draw something,” many people would spend a lot of time just figuring out what to do. Many wouldn’t draw anything at all. But give them a couple of uneven parallel lines and they make a book, a box, a candle and more.
That seems to be the concept behind Nikalas Catlow’s book, Do You Doodle?But Mr. Catlow provides more than a few lines and absolutely delightful subject matter. Each of the approximately 200 large pages has a few words at the top and the beginning of a sketch. For example:
- “What has hatched?” accompanies a broken egg shell
- “Fill the bus” features a double decker bus with a few passengers visible in the windows and half a dozen more windows for you to fill in
- “Put some stars in the sky” accompanies a crescent moon and a boy looking up (There’s also a fill-in-the-fireworks version)
- “Give the birds a tree” shows seven randomly placed birds in need of branches
- “What’s growing?” features seven empty flower pots
- “Who needs glasses?” offers more than a dozen faces to choose from
There are snowmen, shoes, cakes and presents to decorate and a variety of patterns to finish. There’s an empty nest in need of eggs, a bevy of animal noses in need of the creatures they belong to, a picnic tablecloth in need of food, and dozens of other whimsical ideas to spark your imagination.
The cartoon-like sketches could be easily dismissed as aimed at children only, but if all ages don’t see the possibility for play here, they are missing the point, and the fun. It is precisely the simplicity of the pre-drawn lines that encourage people of any level of talent to “have at it.” Make copies of the pages, and imagine/create as individuals, families or other intergenerational groups.