How to Paint a Doodle

Step-by-step painted doodle tutorial
Step-by-step painted doodle tutorial | Source
Strathmore Visual Journal Watercolor 5.5"X8"-34 Sheets
Strathmore Visual Journal Watercolor 5.5"X8"-34 Sheets

This painting was done in my little Strathmore Visual Journal. However, you could easily adapt the techniques to make larger paintings.

 

© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved.

See more work at my Etsy shop: Abstractedly Yours

Doodle Painting

I love to paint these simple floral abstracts. They are quick to do and lots of fun. Imagine producing a series of these, framing them and hanging them to brighten up a hallway.

The supplies required are minimal - you need:

  • Watercolor paints in bright, vibrant colors
  • Watercolor paper
  • Brush - a medium round is fine
  • Black fine liner pen
  • White pen (optional)

Gather your supplies and we will begin.

Simple painted flower doodle
Simple painted flower doodle | Source

Doodle a Design

Take your brush, wet it, load it with paint and make some loose shapes on the paper. I chose flowers, leaves and circles but you can do anything you like. Keep these first doodles very simple; if you make them too complicated, painting the background will be difficult.

Can you see where, Scribble, my cat, dragged her very fluffy tail across the stem of the vine on the left side? I think she was trying to help.

The paints I used for this painting are Peerless Watercolors. They are unusual in that the paint comes as a film impregnated onto paper. The paints were originally produced for coloring black & white photographs but are wonderful to use just like regular watercolor, giving a very transparent wash. They are also very reasonably priced - especially as I ordered them from the UK.

I've also painted these doodle paintings with acrylic paints. They have the added benefit of being capable of covering up mistakes.

Paint the background
Paint the background | Source

Paint the Background

Make sure the doodles are dry and begin painting around the shapes. It doesn't have to be a perfect flat wash as you will be adding more doodles as you go along. It works better if you change color gradually, for example, allow blue to morph into purple or green, rather than orange. Putting a warm color next to a cool one when they are both wet runs the risk of it all turning into a muddy puddle.


Outline painted doodles with black pen
Outline painted doodles with black pen | Source

Outline the Doodles

Using a waterproof, black fine liner pen, draw around the main doodle elements. It doesn't have to be too precise. Outlining the flowers (or whatever you have painted) with black pen really brings out the colors and you begin to get an idea of how the painting will turn out.

My favorite pens for this kind of drawing are my trusty Sakura Pigma Microns. I used an 05 for the main outlining and then later an 02 for the finer details. They work over most mediums so are ideal for your doodle art paintings.

If you aren't intending to make a habit of painting doodles, then any fine black pen will do the job as long as the ink isn't water-soluble.

Add more doodles with black pen
Add more doodles with black pen | Source

More Doodling

This a fun part - well they're all fun parts really. Begin to draw smaller doodles around the large ones. Flowers, hearts, faces, spirals, more vines and leaves - anything you like. Have them peeping out all over the place.

The more you do, the more fantastical and fairy-like your painting will be. Don't try to make them perfect, allow your hand to relax and don't give it too much thought.

Color in the additional doodles with paint
Color in the additional doodles with paint | Source

Paint Those Doodles!

Grab your paints and brush again and fill in the new doodles. Have fun experimenting with color. If you don't like what you did, just wet the painted area again and lift the paint off with paper towel. Sometimes those little happy accidents lead to an even better 'passage' in the painting.

At this point, when the paint is dry, I usually go round all the doodles again with my pen. Let the lines be loose and almost a scribble. This adds life to the drawings and gives them an arty look.

After more pen work, the painted doodle could be considered finished at this stage.
After more pen work, the painted doodle could be considered finished at this stage. | Source

Pen Doodling

The doodling never ends, does it? Continue working with your black pen. Fill in shapes with lines and circles and patterns. Pay attention to the middles of flowers, the edges of leaves and stems. If you are familiar with Zentangle or Zenspirations, then go at it. Every space is fair game for your doodling delight.

Add little curlicues to your exotic jungle plants, have little floating leaves and seedpods all over the place. Or perhaps you'd rather have more hearts and stars.

This stage is a good thing to do when you have some time to fill. If you are watching TV or out and about, take your watercolor pad and black pen and just keep working on your doodle. I like to put on some relaxing music and let my mind drift away.

When you are satisfied, take a critical look at your painting. Does it need more color? More outlines? Would that stem look better with a little shadow on one side? At this point, you can stop if you want to. Many of my doodle paintings end right here. However... there is always the lure of the white pen.

My white pen recommendation is the Uni-Ball Signo 1mm. However, mine just ran out! So I turned to my stand-by, the correction pen. Add dots and lines of white wherever you want to. If you go too far, simply grab your black pen and go back over the white to calm it down.

And now, it really should be finished!

Add sparkling highlights with a white pen
Add sparkling highlights with a white pen | Source

More by this Author


You could do one like this, yes? 56 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

What fun! This seems to be an "all ages" activity. I'm going to share this with my daughter, as I'm sure the grandkids would enjoy it.

Voted up, useful and beautiful.


B Lucy profile image

B Lucy 4 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

LOVE THIS!!


Rosana Modugno profile image

Rosana Modugno 4 years ago from 10th Kingdom

Awesome! Thanks for sharing, from one artist to another.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you, DzyMsLizzy, B Lucy and Rosana. Much appreciated. x


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

This sounds like a really creative idea. Kids would love to do this...Thanks for sharing this especially for the many parents out there.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Yes, indeed, Carol, I painted some doodles the other day and my daughter sat for an hour adding pen doodles to it. Thank you. x


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 4 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

I'm doodling now so this was a fun one to see!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Well, I would just love to see what you were doodling!


StarryNightsDiva profile image

StarryNightsDiva 4 years ago from Wethersfield, CT

Love this! So inspiring that I'm dropping everything to go "doodle" right now!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you, StarryNightsDiva. Enjoy your doodling!


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Gorgeous! I'm never disappointed by your hubs. Pinned, and voted up, useful, and beautiful.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

You are a sweetie. Thank you!


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 4 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

HAHAHA! I will send you some pictures!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Please!


viveresperando profile image

viveresperando 4 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

Totally love doodling! I use crayons and love the idea of moving to watercolors one day! :)


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Crayons are really good used with watercolor - you get some really cool resist effects happening. Thanks for dropping in, viveresperando!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

Inspiring, as always. I've got all the equipment so I think that my daughter and I will have a go at some of these very soon.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

And I hope you'll share the results, Judi Bee! Thanks, as always.


Karla Hara profile image

Karla Hara 4 years ago from Saitama-shi, Saitama, Japan

Thanks for sharing your technique with us


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

Awesome...I do so love to visit as you have the gift for creating art forms that are appealing and this one might even be one I can do to a degree. I loved the one where you painted cats on the stones and I pinned that one. This one is being pinned and shared and voted up. Like Arnold said..." I'll be back."


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you, pstraubie48. Your comments, visits and pins are most appreciated. And yes, you could do this!


sgio2189 profile image

sgio2189 4 years ago from Binghamton

This is awesome! Not only is it impressive, but I now wish I was more of a doodler! Great Hub! Very talented!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you, sg102189. No talent required. You'd be surprised at what you can do when you let yourself play!


2uesday profile image

2uesday 4 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

This idea would make a great gift; I think it is nice to give/get something unique.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

I love your hubname, 2uesday! How clever is that! Yes, I'm working on some similar paintings as gifts. Thank you!


idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

It looks like it stepped out of a retro cartoon series, I like it! I think I could do that. I'd like to that too on my organizer or even think of something bigger to paint on and put it on a picture frame.

Voted up and beautiful/awesome. :)


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

Thanks, idigwebsites! I am thinking about trying it with acrylics on canvas - would be very cheerful.

Your vote is very much appreciated.


kidsandcrafts profile image

kidsandcrafts 3 years ago from New Hampshire

Beautiful! I love how you added step by step pictures...I'm a visual person so that helps me greatly!

Voted up...useful, awesome and beautiful for sure!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

Aw... thanks so much, kidsandcrafts, you are very kind :)


Nancy C Moores profile image

Nancy C Moores 3 years ago

This is such fun. I will be doing this more often. hahahaaa I have a friend who has a site which she calls doodleart I had to look and see if this were her. But, is not her, but you are seems like almost as fun as she is. Keep this up very good.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

Life has no point without fun, m'dear. Thanks for the lovely comment!


4wardthinker profile image

4wardthinker 3 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

What a great idea!!! I am always doodling flowers, but I never took it to the next level. Thanks for sharing this beautiful hub.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

You hafta push that doodling to a higher level, 4wardthinker! Thank *you*.


EyesStraightAhead profile image

EyesStraightAhead 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

Beautiful! Love this idea and think it is a great way to introduce a younger artist to the art of doodling and abstract painting!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

Thankee, ESA. It is a simple process and can be adapted in many ways. I'm currently painting mixed media versions with words on them, like "Happy", and framing them for my friends' birthdays.


CarlySullens profile image

CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

Your doodles are so pretty. I have to doodle all the time.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you, Carly :)


ElleBee 3 years ago

So pretty! And possibly even within my artistic abilities - still a stretch, but I think I could do it.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

You could! Step by step :)


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you ElleBee. Course you could do one - easy-peasy.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

What a great hub on doodling. I wrote and published a workbook on Doodling - mind drawing through the higher self. Well done!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 2 years ago from Wales Author

Thanks, Nadine May. Would love to see your workbook!


kiddiecreations profile image

kiddiecreations 2 years ago

Beautiful! I doodle in church all the time, even though I am listening too, haha. I will have to try this sometime! Thanks for the step-by-step instructions. You're awesome!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 2 years ago from Wales Author

Doodling is the best way to concentrate when listening, I find. When you look at your doodle, or repeat a pattern, those words tend to come back to you. Thank you, so much.


kiddiecreations profile image

kiddiecreations 2 years ago

It's true! Do you use watercolor paints to paint your doodles? Or acryllic? Looks like watercolor to me


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 2 years ago from Wales Author

These were watercolour but I use acrylics too... and coloured pencils.... and markers... and inks.... and anything else that works! :)


Lynn Ng profile image

Lynn Ng 2 years ago from Yishun, Singapore

Thank you so much for this fun lesson!! I truly appreciate you taking the time to explain in details how this doodling can be done and the artwork look soooo gorgeous! I have always wanted to learn to paint but the thought of painting seems like such a difficult and daunting task for someone who knows nothing about painting. I must try out this doodling painting. You make it seems so fun and so much last daunting than painting. Thank you!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 2 years ago from Wales Author

Thank you, Lynn. I really hope you give it a go. This kind of play-art is so relaxing. You left me a comment on another hub and I will get to that one tomorrow, as it needs more thought.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 23 months ago from England

Well I learned something new about doodling! draw around them after the paint and not before! lol! now I want a doodle pad and paints or pens! loved this!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 23 months ago from Wales Author

Thanks, Nell Rose. Happy painty doodling stuff!


whittwrites profile image

whittwrites 22 months ago from the Philly area

I was just looking at doodling as a new art form for me. I love your Hub


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 22 months ago from Wales Author

Thanks so much... enjoy your doodling!


indanila profile image

indanila 19 months ago

I started doodling, specifically Zentangle last year. I love the idea of painting my doodles though, never thought of that. Thanks for the inspiration. I'm glad to see someone loves doodling as much as I do!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 19 months ago from Wales Author

Thank you, indanila, I hope you give painty doodly a go!


adevwriting profile image

adevwriting 15 months ago from United Countries of the World

The images were beautiful, complimenting the instructions. Doodling looks quite interesting!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 15 months ago from Wales Author

Many thanks, adevwriting.

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