Doodle Art: Basics and Beyond | Keren Duchan | Skillshare

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Doodle Art: Basics and Beyond

teacher avatar Keren Duchan, Doodler, Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Line Patterns


    • 4.

      Larger doodle


    • 5.

      Filling in


    • 6.

      Fixing Mistakes


    • 7.

      Your Assignment


    • 8.

      Demo with Examples and Tips


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About This Class

In this class we’re going to learn to make doodle art.

This class is perfect for absolute beginners, as well as for those of you who have some arting, crafting, or doodling experience. By the end of this class, you’ll have all the skills you need to make your own doodle art piece to keep in your sketchbook, display in your home, or gift to a friend.

In the video lessons, I will cover the tools you need. Then we'll practice drawing a few simple line patterns. Finally, we'll put them together to make a beautiful doodle art piece in several styles.

When you enroll, you have access to a PDF document containing practice sheets, example patterns and doodles, and more useful doodling tips and resources. You also have access to the discussion group where you can ask me anything about doodling, and get my help anytime you need!

Anyone can doodle from day one. All you need is a pen and some paper.

Click 'Enroll' and let's get started!

Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on art.

Meet Your Teacher

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Keren Duchan

Doodler, Teacher


Hi! I'm Keren. I create whimsical, experimental, colorful illustrations and abstract work and using pen, ink, watercolor, and Procreate on the iPad. 

I'm here to encourage you to follow your creative path, grow your skills and confidence, and have fun with it!

Look me up on Instagram @artonthefridge.

I look forward to seeing your beautiful creations!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello everyone. My name is Karen. In this class, we're going to be making doodle art. This class is suitable for everyone, including absolute beginners. In the past year or so, I've been passionate about making doodle art. I doodle almost every day. You can see some of my doodle artwork at art on the fridge on Instagram, where I post a new doodle every day. With literally hundreds of doodling hours under my belt, I wanted to share my love of doodling with you guys, starting with the basics. Doodling is a great way to relax, unwind, and unleash your creativity. It helped me find the courage to make my mark on paper and to try out new tools and paints. Through doodling, I found my freedom to create and flow and let go of judgment. I hope you'll join me on this doodling journey. In this class, we'll doodle in black ink on paper. I'll cover the tools you need and explain why some pens might be more suitable than others to make a doodle in this style. We'll practice doodling a few simple line patterns. Then we'll use these line patterns to create larger and more complex doodles in several variations. We'll fill in some spaces in black ink to add even more awesomeness to our doodle artwork. In the troubleshooting lesson, I'll share with you some tips and tricks I use to overcome mistakes. Your project for this class is to make a doodle art piece of your choice. It can be a greeting card for a friend, a piece you like to frame or posts at home or at the office. A page in your sketch book. Whatever inspires you to doodle. I can't wait to see your creations. When you enroll, you'll have access to a downloadable PDF containing practice sheets and the line patterns we'll be practicing. You'll also have access to the discussion group, where I'll be answering any questions you may have along the way. Anyone can doodle from day one. All you need is a pen and some paper. So click enroll, and let's get started. 2. Supplies: These are the supplies you'll need: an archival ink felt-tip pen, size 08 or one such as a Sakura Pigma Micron Pen. You could also use a technical pen like a rOtring Isograph, if you happen to have one. Plain paper for practicing. You can use printer paper, notebook paper, whatever you have around the house. Bristol Board paper, which is a dense, smooth, thick paper for a more polished finish. For example, for doodles you want to frame. I recommend getting an A4 size pad like this one. I chose these materials because I wanted the finished piece to have a strong contrast between ink and paper, a clean, crisp, consistent line with neat beginnings and endings. An archival ink felt-tip pen has a hard felt tip and makes a very black line that won't fade over time. It comes with the ink already inside and you can use it until the tip wears down or the ink runs out and then dispose of it. These pens are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. If you're just starting out, I recommend getting this type of pen. A technical pen has a metal shaft. You need to fill it with ink either from a bottle or replace a cartridge. One technical pen costs as much as five to ten felt tip pens, not including the ink. It requires some getting used to because you have to write with it perpendicular to the paper and the metal tip may not feel as smooth on the paper as a felt-tip pen. It also requires maintenance such as refilling ink and washing it out every once in a while. If you doodle as much as I do, it may be a more cost effective choice in the long run. I would recommend getting one only after you find yourself wearing down and throwing away quite a few felt-tip pens. Other writing tools will work for doodling, but they won't give you the same result. Here's why. A gel pen like the Sakura Gelly Roll is fun to doodle with. But since it's a ballpoint pen, its beginnings and endings might not look as neat and the black gel might not be as black as India ink, the line might not be as consistent. The gel doesn't always look neat if you go over the same spot again. A gel pen that's intended for writing is not the same. It creates a much finer line. An alcohol-based marker like a Sharpie, creates a strong contrast and looks almost as good as the pens I recommended, but you lose a bit of control over the line. Also most significantly, alcohol markers sometimes have an unpleasant odor. A regular ballpoint pen used for writing is not an ideal doodling tool because the color contrast is weak and it's hard to create a nice block of color and the line is fine and not very consistent. A pencil does not create the contrast I'm looking for, and it might smear, and it does not create a crisp line and it's harder to fill in a block of color. If you don't mind not getting the exact same look that I'm going for in this class, that's totally fine. I doodle with other tools to get a wider range of results. I encourage you to experiment with all sorts of pens and markers. It all depends on how you want the finished piece to look. In the next lesson, we'll practice making a few simple line patterns. 3. Line Patterns: Download the PDF file from the project section below this video. You can print the PDF and use it to practice the patterns, just like I'm about to show you. If you don't have a printer, that's not a problem, you can practice the patterns on a blank sheet of paper. Practice drawing these patterns until you feel confident with your pen and your line work. I usually turn the paper around a lot when I doodle, because drawing lines in one direction might be more comfortable. Feel free to try some variations, like making some lines farther apart or closer together. If you come up with your own idea of a pattern variation try it out. These patterns are very simple, but once you combine even a few of them on a larger space, you can create beautiful and complex designs in many styles. There's nothing special about the specific patterns I've chosen to demonstrate. I wanted to give you a set of simple patterns to try out and show you that even with simple patterns, you can get a ton of variation in your doodles. You might like some of these patterns better than others. I too gravitate towards some rather than others, and sometimes my preferences change over time. You might discover new patterns that I haven't shown here that you enjoy doodling as well. It's all good. Don't worry about getting your lines to look just like mine. You can see that even when I repeat my own patterns, they don't come out the same, and that's totally fine. Just follow the general idea, and feel free to experiment. This class is not about perfection or constraints. There is no one right way to doodle. The imperfections of hand-drawn lines add character and interests to your doodles. There's something liberating in just drawing a line without worrying about getting the perfect result. Go forth and draw. Enjoy yourself. Feel free to go outside the lines and even make a scribbly mess. It's all good. Your doodles will look much better if you relax and flow and let go of judgment. Once you're done with your practice sheets, create a class project down below, and add a photo of your practice doodles. I would love to see them. If you have any questions or comments, post them in the discussion section of the class. I'm here to help, and I'd love to get your feedback about any part of the class. In the next lesson, we're going to practice combining some of these patterns in various ways to make a larger doodle. 4. Larger doodle: In this lesson, we're going to draw some larger doodles using some of the line patterns we practiced in the previous lesson. Use this page from the class PDF or draw a rectangle of any size you like, or just doodle straight on a blank sheet of paper. In this first example, I split the square into several areas using straight lines. Then I doodle in each area using a different line pattern. I'll demonstrate a few variations you can try. You're welcome to try them yourself. Feel free to experiment with your own ideas. Choose a line pattern you like drawing, and maybe fill the whole space just with that pattern. You don't have to fill in the hole square either. This is your doodle whatever you like. The line patterns serve as a guide or a fallback for when you don't know where to start or what to draw. Use them however you want and see where it takes you. In this second square, I split this space using smaller closed shapes. I like how snugly they fit together. Then, I doodle in each area using a smaller set of line patterns. Most of the times when I start a doodle, I have no idea where it's going to end. Just make one line and then another and don't worry about the end result, it'll look awesome. You can start from the center and grow out or jump around the page, change the scale, stretch out the shapes, try longer or shorter lines, wider or narrower spaces. The more you experiments in practice, the more your confidence will grow, and you'll be able to create doodles in a wider range of styles. Give yourself time and enjoy the journey. This third square is actually how I like to doodle most of the time. I start off in one corner with one pattern. When I feel like switching it up, I jumped to a different spot in my doodling space and switch up the pattern too. Some of the patterns reinforce others, and dress some patterns to look like they're behind other patterns. I make it up as I go along. The patterns touch and meet in interesting ways, and they meld together best I think. What do you think? In this last square, I wanted to show an example of, doodle patterns that don't touch. I think they're fun to draw too. Once you're done with your larger doodles, add them to your class project below. I would love to see what you've doodled so far. As always, feel free to post your comments or questions in the class discussion board. In the next lesson, we'll practice filling in spaces in our doodles to make them even more awesome than they already are. 5. Filling in: So far, we've used our pen to draw lines. In this lesson, we're going to fill in blocks in black ink as we doodle. I took a sheet of A4 size Bristol board paper and cut it into four smaller cards. I'll be demonstrating using these cards. The Bristol board handles the ink better than the printer paper and it'll look nicer too. One of the things that drew me to doodling was the crisp and strong contrast between black ink and paper. Filling in areas with black ink, whether small or large, gives a doodle a whole new look. Let's try it and see. I love how easily you can fix mistakes by filling in an area that wasn't working out so well. As if that was my intention all along. When I doodle, most of the time I have no plan, no intention, no composition and I let the doodle and even the mistakes lead the way. Try it out and see where your doodle takes you. Let's slow this one down and look at it together. I started by drawing a border around the card. Sometimes I like to use a ruler and sometimes a free hand to lines like I do here. I choose a corner and draw a few lines using this pattern, which you may remember from the line patterns lesson. I fill in every other space in ink. I move on to a different corner and repeat the same pattern. It seems like a good idea to connect them using a bridge, so I do that. I feel like adding something between the two bridges, so I draw some rectangles and fill them in. I choose a different line pattern from the ones we practiced earlier for drawing something beneath the bridge. Then I think some triangles would look nice over the bridge filled in with ink. After that, I move on to other places on the paper without having a plan really. I fill in with ink where it feels like it'll look nice and I leave the lines unfilled where I feel like that would look nice. On I go, until the piece is complete. It starts looking a little bit like a landscape and that inspires me to add some abstract mountains and some abstract doodled clouds. For a finishing touch, I added some abstract triangular trees on the horizon and there's the finished piece. Once you're done with these doodles, add them to your class project below. In the next lesson, we'll talk about troubleshooting. 6. Fixing Mistakes: What do you do if you make a mistake? It's black ink on white paper, it can't be undone, the doodle is ruined. No, it isn't. In this lesson, I'll show you some common mistakes and several ways to overcome them. Here I am doodling this line pattern that looks a bit like a ladder, and the rungs of the ladder are a bit too long. In this case, I fix it by drawing a box around the area I don't like so much and filling it in with black ink. Since the doodle is a bunch of random patterns, nobody is going to know whether this black rectangle was meant to fix a mistake or whether I meant to draw in the first place. Now, I want to doodle some parallel lines and whoops, one line touches another when I meant for them not to touch. Again, I mark out an area and fill it with ink. Now, I have some variety to my parallel lines. Nobody will ever know it was a mistake. I continue with my doodling and some parts don't look as neat as I'd like them to be. Again, I cover them with a rectangle that's filled in and that prompts me to add more stripes to this row. Mistakes turn into more variety in my doodles. Here, I don't like the way the stripes came out inside the triangle, so I cover them up. I don't like how the fix looks, so I cover up a larger area until I'm happy with it. I don't like this bulging line, so I start another line from that point to cover it up. I do this a lot, start lines or shapes out from places in the line that don't look as good as I'd like them to look. Here's a line that doesn't touch the next line neatly, and also it's a bit crooked. Here I cover part of it with a rectangle filled with ink and a part of it with a thicker line going in a different direction. As you can see, it's almost always possible to fix a doodling mistake, even though it's black ink on white paper. I oftentimes place my hand over a doodle where the ink is still wet, and then I go back and use the methods I showed you to fix it. If you watch the previous lessons carefully, you'll catch me doing this many times. No matter how many mistakes you make along the way, your doodle will come out awesome without a mistake to be found. I find that to be quite liberating. In the next lesson, we'll talk about your assignment. 7. Your Assignment: Your assignment for this class is to use what we've learned to make a doodle art piece of your choice. It can be a greeting card for a friend, a piece you'd like to frame or post at home or at the office. A page in your sketch book, whatever inspires you to doodle. The following part is totally optional. If you're feeling adventurous, experiment with doodle elements that you come up with yourself. Add a photo of your finished piece to the project section of the class. I can't wait to see your creations. Thank you for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave any comments, questions, or feedback in the discussion group of a class and be sure to post photos of your progress in the project section down below. If you're on Instagram, look me up @artonthefridge. You're welcome to tag me and to use the #artonthefridge for your doodle art. Happy doodling. 8. Demo with Examples and Tips: Hi guys, Karen from the future here. I received a lot of requests from you guys for more examples and tips, so I thought I'd add this extra lesson where I show you how I would doodles start to finish. I will speed some parts up so this doesn't get too long. I'm going to be sketching in my sketch book here, but you can definitely just pick up a loose sheet of paper and sketch on it. This page is A5 size, so you might want to work in A6 size which is half of A5 like this, or even a quarter which is like this. Start small so you don't feel overwhelmed by filling in such a huge page. Obviously, the thicker your line is, the faster it is to fill in your page. If you're working with a very fine line, it'll take a lot longer to fill in that same page. One thing I like to do sometimes, is to draw a border all the way around the page. The reason I like to do this is because I just don't like that feeling of my pen falling off the page. Sometimes I make the border using a ruler, but you don't have to do that. Anything I do here, it's totally up to you whether you take it or leave it. Whether you want to follow exactly what I'm doing, go right ahead, you're welcome to do that, or whether you want to go your own way and experiment and try something different. I've got my pen, I got my paper, I got my paper size that I'm going to be working on. Now, let's start making our first doodle marks. You can refer back to your worksheet and find a design you want to start with. How about this one? How about just some stripes? I like to anchor my lines. I don't like to have them just in the middle of the page, so I'm going to start the line somewhere on the border and end at somewhere on the border. It really doesn't matter where. Let's do it over here in the corner. As I'm adding stripes, I can decide, do I want the stripes to be close together or further apart? Do I want the stripes to be at the same distance from one another, or do I want some of them to be closer and some of them to be further apart? Do I want the stripes to stop here or do I want them to go all the way to the end? This gives you a lot of freedom and a lot of wiggle room, and a lot of variation that you can add to your doodles. Once you've drawn your stripes, you can decide whether you want to move on to another area of the page or whether you want to further embellish your stripes. Let's say I want to further embellish my stripes, so I'm going to just do that by adding little stripes inside of them. Now, I can decide I want to fill in the rest of the long stripes in the same way that I did this first one, or maybe alternating and filling in only every other stripes. So let's do every other strike. I think I used to be a lot more meticulous and nowadays I'm a lot less meticulous. You can see that I am going outside the lines a little bit and not reaching all the way to the line and it doesn't matter, it's all going to work. Do what's right for you. Another thing is I'm working on a desk here, so my face is pretty far from the page. Usually, what I like to do is curl up on the couch and I have a clipboard or some sort of hardback book, and I have the page a lot closer to my eyes and to my hands, so I have a lot more precision. I feel a lot more comfortable that way because I'm laying on the couch instead of sitting at a desk. That's also an option for you guys to try. Now, I thought I would add thicker filled in areas like this in these empty stripes, because why not? Because we can do whatever we like. Now, we have this sort of a more complex doodle element that if we want, we can repeat it in other places of the drawing. Now that we've finished this guy, we can go wherever we like. How about filling in this space with something? Maybe I'll add thicker stripes and I'll use this design from the worksheet. Oops, see my hand slipped. To deal with this mistake, I'm either going to leave it or you know what? I'll fill it in. I'll make this all of this filled in area, and I'll move on and repeat that, and maybe add some stripes like this. Now, I can repeat this over here or not, I don't have to. Maybe I can go the other way like this and I don't have to match up to the lines. Let's match up the lines. Let's go like this and then down like this. It's just basic elements that you keep repeating, and since you're combining them over and over again, you get something more and more complex as you go. Now, just as I did with this one, I can decide to keep going with this pattern all the way in here, or maybe extended this way or maybe repeated over here. I think I'm not going to fill in this whole thing because I don't want to have blocks that look the same, I want to have a lot of variation. Let's try something else. Maybe let's try some zigzag lines. I'm just going to draw a zigzag line and I'm going to keep going on the page. I'm not sure how you'd call this. It's not really a zigzag, but whatever you call it, there it is. Now, I'm going to add another line parallel to that line. Again, I can do whatever I want in the interspace. So maybe we'll add stripes, but we'll add them in clusters at a distance. I'll add, let's say 1,2,3,4,5 and then a space. Now, I can either add something in these spaces here or I can maybe add something around. Like I could add triangles or I could outline this thing again. Let's say I'll add some squares like this. I'm not really thinking of the composition, I'm just deciding on something to do inside this thing and I'm ignoring the rest of the page at that moment. Then when I finish, I decide what to do next. You can have a composition for your doodles, but you don't have to. I know we didn't use any curve so far, but who says we can't? So let's take this design from the worksheet and add something like this over here in a curved line. You could also add it in a straight line if you prefer. I can have it stopping here or I can have it going on to the rest of the page if I wanted. But you know what I want to do? I want to take this and repeat it somewhere else in the page. Once you got going, once you've got started, you could always look at something you already drew and draw it somewhere else in the page. I think it actually adds more interest when something is repeated. You can have your lines very long, you can have them in various lengths, so some long, some short, you can have them all short, you can have them close together or further apart. Whatever you choose will work and it'll add some variation to your drawing. Now, how about we use this pattern a little bit over here. It really doesn't matter where we're just trying to fill in the empty space. You can also decide to leave the empty space empty if you'd like. So after you've filled in enough of the space, you may leave part of it blank. I think I'll fill the whole thing, but it's totally up to you. I think I'll fill in some of those squares, so just choosing a few squares at random to fill in. Now, maybe I'll add some triangles like this or a zigzag line and another zigzag line, and then a straight line, and I'll fill this whole shape in here. Maybe we can add little stripes like this to our triangles. We keep going from here, so how about we try this pattern, but let's do it this way. Let's create a shape and then we'll fill it with that pattern. You can always use your worksheets as a reference. You can add your own shapes to your worksheets so that if you're stuck, you can refer back and you have somewhere to start. But if you have a sketchbook or if you have a collection of previous doodles,, you can always just look back at your previous doodles and get some ideas from there if you need them. At some point though, you will just have the muscle memory and your hands will just come up with ideas all on their own, just because you've been repeating these shapes over and over. I'm adding some zigzag lines and triangles here because really, why not? We could add whatever we want, wherever we want. Maybe over here I'll just add some free-floating lines like this. Another thing I like to do is outline shapes. So I just add an outline around them, and then I can add stuff on the outline, so I can add these triangles for example and if I want you can outline these triangles as well. I feel like my best doodles come out when I don't stop and think too much. Don't overthink it, just draw the first thing that comes to mind and you can see that it's easy for me to pull my pen this way and it's not easy for me to go that way or this way, so I did turn my paper around to make it easier for me all the time and you don't have to limit yourself to the shapes that we drew in the worksheet, just draw lines and keep going from there. I want to show you something else. I recorded this video for you guys and the camera went crazy, so I'm redoing the video here. But I want to show you these zigzag snakes. This was actually the first time I ever drew them and I really like them, so I'm going to show you over here. So I drew these two zigzag lines and then I filled them with stripes, and then I filled little triangles in the inner corners like this, I'm trying to make them wonky so that it'll just all go along a straight line and there is one of them done, but let's make another one, and we can scale these up and play around with them. So let's maybe scale it up, so here's a bigger one and we do the same thing as we did here. We can make a few more of these, so I really like how in this one this sort of flowed, this one was flowing this way and this one was flowing this way. They kind of got lost in the background, in the noisy background. But in a future doodle, I could make the background less noisy or maybe with a finer line pen or a different colored pen so that they'd stick out. I think that would be interesting to try, and that's one of the great things of having a sketchbook, is you can always look back and extract ideas from your own work that you'd like to try in a different way. So maybe let's add a big one going all the way down here. I was going to add another one of these guys, but you know I drew this line and then I thought, hey, how about I make this area pretty light and then I make this area pretty noisy with doodles because why not? Just go with whatever comes to your mind, so in order to make this area light, I could just leave it like this or I could even color this in if I wanted in marker. You know I'll color it in just to show you guys or I could add a doodle reshaping here. So I'm going to leave this blank, but I am going to fill in these areas with some random doodles. So now I'm going to leave this blank, and I'm going to go and fill this area with a bunch of doodles, and then we'll go back and color this in and see where that takes us. So as always, just choose whichever design comes to mind or a design from your worksheet and then decide whether you want to embellish it further by coloring parts of it in or by maybe outlining in and adding some more designs on top of it and then embellishing those designs, and just keep going. Here I feel that it looks good, but there are too many lines. I want to add some filled-in areas in black, so I like to alternate between just lines and filled in shapes, and so that it doesn't get too crowded, I can just outline this thing so that nothing touches it, and it's got this white border all the way around it. So one thing to consider is the direction, so sometimes I make lines in this direction, in this direction, in this direction, and that adds interests. So you can turn your paper around and draw in all sorts of directions. Another thing is scale. So some of the things are pretty small and some of the things are pretty bold and big. Another thing is how condensed and how open your areas are, so over here it's pretty condensed, and over here it's pretty open and deep. See you know what, I was thinking since we're going to be coloring this in, maybe I'll add another shape here, and we'll color that in as well, just so that it'll be repeated in more than one place. So although doodling doesn't really have a composition, at least the way that I do it most of the time, sometimes I do add a composition to my doodles. It can teach you a little bit about what compositions you might like to try or why something looks more balanced are more interesting to you. So that's another thing you can explore through doodling and I really like these shapes, these blocked in shape, I think I'll add them over here as well and it's up to you if you want to have the shapes just floating inside the area without touching the outsides, or if you want the shapes to sometimes touch all the way to the border of the shape that they're in. There are no rules, this is your pen, this is your paper, it's your time, and you can make whatever you want. I think we're done here except for the coloring that I promised I'd do. I ended up using a paint marker to fill this in, but you could just as well have used just a water based marker or an alcohol based marker, like a Sharpie or a Copic marker. There are many ways to add color to your doodles and one thing I like about how this looks after it's painted is how the shapes pop on the page where they're hovering above the pink background. So I hope this lesson gave you a bit more tips and examples and ideas of how to doodle. You're also welcome to check out my other classes on Skillshare. I have a few other doodling classes and watercolor classes. If you have any other questions or you're encountering anything you're struggling with, then leave me a message in the discussions below and I'll be very happy to try and help if there are any other topics you'd like me to cover in a future class, let me know as well. So thank you very much for taking this class and I look forward to seeing your projects.