black ink pattern repetition doodle called Ooberdoodle


 Curious about the pattens you see on my website? Those are OOberdoodles—the name I’ve given the random, of no consequence doodles I started drawing years ago. I play at making them whenever I need to ponder a decision, let my mind concentrate on something really important, or just run free.

Does your mind start to drift during meetings? Have trouble staying awake on Zoom calls? OOberdoodles may be the answer.

Here’s what’s happening. We tend to be either right or left brain dominant. When we are not using the dominant side of our brain, it dozes off, and so do we. Also, using color on a page of notes helps us gain greater access to the right side of our brain.

Our different learning styles also plays a part. I am not much of an auditory learner. I also don’t learn as much from just observing. Instead, I’m a concrete experiential—a hands-on learner, needing to be physically involved in the learning. It was such a relief when I discovered that using colored pens in physical act of taking notes helped me connect the left and right sides of my brain. I took in more information while my notes become quite festive.

OOberdoodles are easy to draw. Just make a series of dots or some other mark in a line on the page. Or make them into a series of squares.  Then switch to a different color and add a mark. Rinse and repeat. I tend to start with a pale color, then add darker ones as I go. Dark dots accent and draw attention to a point or where two colors collide. You can rotate the emerging pattern if you want.  It’s weird, but you’ll know when you’re done.

If all you have is a pen, you can, of course, stick to one color. It does the job, it just doesn’t have the same impact. I keep a couple of tiny felt pens handy for emergencies.

OOberdoodles are also a powerful metaphor for being in cahoots. In classes I often hand out cheap felt pens and 5”x8”index cards, then have participants make a series of colored marks on theirs. Then they hand it off to the person next to them and proceed to add a different color mark to the neighbor’s card. This continues until they decide the one they have is “complete.” Discussion follows. They agree that they could not have imagined when they started the amazing patterns they’d have when they joined with others into the group genius that emerges.

I know, I know, there are those of you who say, “But I’m not creative, I can’t draw.” Ooberdoodles are for you. The important thing about them is that they are of NO consequence. They are disposable, expendable, non-essential, no risk adventures. No salesman will call. Doing them will not increase your insurance rates. What they will do is open your whole brain to new possibilities.

As part of the requirements for my certificate in mediation I had to attend really boring constitutional law lectures at Willamette Law School. To stay awake, I brought colored felt pens to the class and drew a series of marks down the right side of my notes. Then, to not attract the instructor’s attention, I would slowly exchange one color for another and add another mark to the first line. Then another and another. The OOberdoodles took on images of birds, lizards, flowers, wall paper. It didn’t matter. I stayed awake and more focused on the lecture. One of the actual law students requested that I continue to sit down and to the left of them so they could stay awake by watching me draw.

While in grad school in Buffalo I had an OOberdoodles printed on a sweatshirt to give a friend. The print shop offered me a job cranking out more for them to sell on the street in NYC. I was too busy with school and turned them down. I now regret my decision. Looking back, I realize I lost a golden opportunity to make my mark on Broadway.

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