Insights / Research
The Origins Of The Doodle
The Doodle Challenge Team
February 9, 2019
"Doodling can be traced back an estimated 500,000 years when our ancestors scribbled zig-zag markings on cave walls to tell stories, keep records of images, or glorify the divine. As humans began searching for other ways to communicate, symbols and language evolved and doodling was apart of that communication."
When did you last doodle? Whether you’re a designer or accountant, the “small act” of doodling carries deeper significance than you may think. Many of us are connected in our desire to doodle while our attention is otherwise preoccupied - say, while you’re on the phone or in a meeting, however, doodling is rooted in an extensive history strongly connected to written communication. From abstract lines to more refined artwork, doodling tells a visual story - from ancient symbols to modern-day masterpieces.
Doodling has been a common practice for centuries and in modern times we discovered that doodling has many health benefits like reducing stress and improving creative problem-solving… but where did doodling actually come from? And why?
Doodling Through The Ages
Doodling can be traced back an estimated 500,000 years when our ancestors scribbled zig-zag markings on cave walls to tell stories, keep records of images, or glorify the divine. As humans began searching for other ways to communicate, symbols and language evolved and doodling was apart of that communication.
Ancient Egyptian tomb-builders from 3100 b.c. - 332 B.C doodled! Archeologists recently found evidence of doodling in the rubble of an excavation site, capture little scribbles of ancient Egyptian life.
In the 14th century during the middle ages, monks and scribes would doodle in margins of their illuminated manuscripts.
Even Leonardo Da Vinci was known to doodle down his iconic mechanical inventions, cross-sections of animal skeletons, and more.
Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of Prussia, c. 1795 was also known to be an avid doodler.
From Presidents to famous tech creators, actresses, animators and CEOs, all have doodled.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, many famous presidents also were known to doodle, such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Fast-forward to the 20th century, and you’ll find Ralph Steadman’s ink-splotted doodles peppering the pages of newspapers and magazines.
Tech giants also have taken advantages in the 21st century, ceos of companies like Apple and Nike doodle. In one study by IBM, Creativity was one of the highest ranked traits to cultivate as a leader.
Google also launched its Google Doodle project, further glorifying the art of doodling.
Doodle Day became a worldwide event in 2004 to raise awareness and funds for epilepsy research and support.
Doodling is more than just a pastime. Centuries of evidence suggests that doodling can change lives by fueling imagination, increasing concentration, sharpening focus, allowing for deeper learning, and reducing stress. The good news is that doodling isn’t about being good at drawing, but rather, being able to portray a concept and externalize thoughts.
The Next Chapter In Doodle History
The Doodle Challenge is a new part of doodle history, a game and tool designed to help adults reduce stress, strengthen creative problem-solving skills, sharpen storytelling ability, and boost productivity. It’s time to reclaim your creativity. Think outside the lines, with The Doodle Challenge.
To learn more about the Doodle Challenge visit us at:
The Science Behind Doodling Report
In our 2019 report, we look at the "Stress Epidemic" and dive deep into the benefits of doodling and the evident effect it has on our minds. Along with taking closer look stress, burnout, disconnect,