Why you should doodle more


Eliabeth McLaughlin, Editor

When was the last time you translated a thought into an object? An abstract idea into a tangible good? When was the last time you doodled? I hope the answer isn’t elementary school, or even last week — in my ideal world, the answer is as recent as yesterday. Contrary to popular belief, doodling should not be reserved for those with innate artistic talent. If we all doodled more, the world would be a happier place.

Think about it: we all used to (or some of us still do) doodle in the margins of our notebooks or on scrap pieces of paper. We used to draw little stick figures, houses, dogs and misshapen faces with no regard for proportions. Put in other words, we used to have more fun. That’s what I keep thinking as I round out my college career, about how I used to have so much fun as a kid, doing kid things like playing on the playground and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, duh, Liz, of course kids have more fun… you’re an Adult with Real Responsibilities looming in the past, present and future. But I refuse to accept that we can’t hold onto our childlike wonder as we age. What better way to do that than to make crappy little doodles in the margins?

One thing I always hear from non-artists is some variation of, “I wish I could do that.” My answer? Same. You think I was born able to write calligraphy? Looking back on my childhood sketchbooks, it’s clear to me that my skills are mine because I was relentless in their pursuit, not because of some natural-born talent. (I’ll admit that this natural ability does come into play, but I think to a much smaller degree than one might believe.)

But my other answer to that quip is as follows: “Who cares?” The day I realized art doesn’t have to be good to be worth making, my entire perspective opened up. Once I broadened my outlook to one that validates crappy art, I started having way more fun. Let me give an example. I mainly use Strathmore 5.5” x 8.5” Mixed Media sketchbooks, and have been regularly doing so for about two years now. Prior to that, all my drawings were on loose leaf or in random notebooks. Anyway, once I committed to this format, I had this unwritten rule with myself that I couldn’t let any page go to waste. I had to finish the sketchbook in order, from front to back, not letting any page fall victim to crappy art.

Little did I know, that is a terrible way to approach art. Over time, I began realizing that I preferred to draw on the right hand page, so I began filling books by only ever drawing on the right hand page. And when I needed to, I’d use the left hand side to doodle or practice or gauge proportions; basically, to mess around. Or, I’d use the left side to provide context to the drawing on the right. Once I finished the sketchbook this way, I’d go back to any blank left hand pages and make more art. And perhaps the most important acquired element of my drawing process? My designated doodling page.

My doodle page where I experiment.

An example of a sketchbook page with context on the left.

An example of a sketchbook page with context on the left.

An example of a page where I didn’t care how it looked. I was curious as to how other people drew circles so I had my roommates draw circles.

One day, I realized that my arbitrary rule that I had to make every page count was counterintuitive and downright stupid. By prohibiting myself from doodling, I was negatively impacting the quality of my oeuvre. This doodling page, always the last one in my book, allows me to experiment with different colors and mediums; to see if I can draw a face that looks half decent or not (the answer is usually no… I’ve kind of let anatomy fall by the wayside. Oops.). My doodling page eliminates (some of) the anxiety and pressure associated with wanting to make good art.

After all, isn’t that why you don’t doodle? Because you don’t think it’ll look good? Well, yeah, with that attitude, you’re probably right. But so what? The act of doodling is worth as much as, if not more, than the end result. It’s therapy. A lot of my art is word-based. For example, when I’m anxious, I’ll write my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness style in my black sketchbook. Sometimes I’ll alternate marker colors with each line, other times I’ll try to write as illegible as possible, a la graffiti hand style.

Lots of times, these doodles never see the light of day again, and that’s okay. Art doesn’t always have to be shared or evaluated. If that were true, then it would mean that art is only worth anything when someone else’s eyes are on it. It would negate the many benefits of the process of art-making itself. Having made both kinds of art, the kind to be seen (and worn) and the kind that hides in the corner of my closet, never to be viewed by anyone but me… I can definitively say that art is still worth making even when it doesn’t look good; even when you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. At the end of the day, I’m convinced no artist actually knows what they’re doing. They just look like they do.

And at the end of the day, I hope you doodle more. I can’t tell you what you’ll get out of it because that’s subjective and unique to each individual. Maybe you’ll hate it. That’s cool, too. At least you can say you made something, not out of nothing but out of yourself. Think about it, it’s so simple but so amazing to me: you can just have a thought and then translate that thought onto a piece of paper using a bunch of markers and crayons?! I hope you read that in your inner child’s voice; they have way more fun, anyway. And, lastly, please send me your doodles, if you want. I would love to see what you create.

Non-fungible tokens: the newest asset class utilizing blockchain technology


Michael D’Angelo, Staff


Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, recently sold his first ever tweet on the platform as a Non-Fungible-Token (NFT) for more than $2.9 million. Many investors are questioning if the digital assets are worth the buy.

Many people are jumping on the non-fungible token wagon recently and headlines are appearing with  regards to art gallery NFTs, NBA highlight NFTs and original tweet NFTs. This NFT fever has even reached several billionaire’s with Mark Cuban planning to build a digital art gallery made up of non-fungible tokens and Elon Musk offering to sell his infamous tweets. With the recent NFT craze, and big names dropping into the NFT scene, many investors are confused at best and are left pondering what exactly is an NFT. 

A non-fungible token is a digital asset which includes PDFs, jpegs (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and videos which can be bought and sold like a typical investment vehicle. NFTs first came around in 2017, but their appeal has shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people are stuck at home and have turned their attention to alternative investments. 

NFTs are powered by blockchain technology, which is a digital ledger that records transactions and ownership across a network of computers. The NFT owner now has a token with claims to the original digital asset. Others may copy the image or see the video, but they do not own the original work. Essentially, it is the equivalent of holding a physical original. Think of the Mona Lisa and how millions of people have copied the print, but there is one original Mona Lisa. Many believe NFT value is derived simply by owning something others cannot own. They can be bought and sold on the internet at online marketplaces where you either bid on the item or buy at a set price. In addition, you can even use some of these marketplaces to create your own NFTs.

The craze is being fueled by high selling prices. A short video of a meme cat sold for more than $500,000, artist Beeple sold art for $69 million in a Christie’s auction sale, and Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, sold his first tweet for more than $2.9 million. A digital house even sold for $500,000. The NFT boom is also fueled by the recent rise in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Like NFTs, cryptocurrencies also utilize blockchain technology.

Non-fungible tokens have the potential to increase in value. Human nature lends itself to not miss out on things. We all have a fear of missing out and more headlines with million dollar selling prices will only lead to increasing value with the potential of a dangerous NFT bubble. 

Although NFTs may sound ludicrous in a sense, as I simply can just Google the image or YouTube search a sports highlight, NFTs have the potential to become an effective means of diversifying one’s art portfolio. People might want to buy the original digital version of the Mona Lisa if they can show it off to friends and family on social media, places our social lives are increasingly dependent on.