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How to Paint a Doodle

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Step-by-step painted doodle tutorial

Step-by-step painted doodle tutorial

© 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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

You could do one like this, yes?

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on August 24, 2015:

Many thanks, adevwriting.

Arun Dev from United Countries of the World on August 23, 2015:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on April 29, 2015:

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

Inda Blackwell from Hampton Roads on April 28, 2015:

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!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 21, 2015:

Thanks so much... enjoy your doodling!

Timothy Whitt from New Jersey on January 21, 2015:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 16, 2015:

Thanks, Nell Rose. Happy painty doodling stuff!

Nell Rose from England on January 15, 2015:

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!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on June 15, 2014:

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.

Lynn Ng from Yishun, Singapore on June 15, 2014:

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!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 17, 2014:

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

Nicole K on March 17, 2014:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 17, 2014:

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.

Nicole K on March 17, 2014:

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!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on February 03, 2014:

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

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on February 03, 2014:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 31, 2013:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 26, 2013:

You could! Step by step :)

ElleBee on October 26, 2013:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on May 26, 2013:

Thank you, Carly :)

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on May 25, 2013:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on May 12, 2013:

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.

Shell Vera from Connecticut, USA on May 11, 2013:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on May 11, 2013:

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

4wardthinker from Sierra Nevada CA on May 11, 2013:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 31, 2013:

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

Nancy Moore from Lakeland on January 30, 2013:

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.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 26, 2013:

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

Jennifer Bragg from New Hampshire on January 26, 2013:

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!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 07, 2013:

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

Your vote is very much appreciated.

idigwebsites from United States on January 07, 2013:

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. :)

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 31, 2012:

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

2uesday on October 31, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 22, 2012:

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

Stephanie from Binghamton on October 21, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 03, 2012:

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

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 02, 2012:

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."

Karla Hara from Saitama-shi, Saitama, Japan on August 26, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your technique with us

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on August 03, 2012:

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

Judi Brown from UK on August 03, 2012:

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.

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on August 02, 2012:

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

viveresperando from A Place Where Nothing Is Real on August 02, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 23, 2012:

Please!

kartika damon from Fairfield, Iowa on July 23, 2012:

HAHAHA! I will send you some pictures!

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 23, 2012:

You are a sweetie. Thank you!

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on July 22, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 19, 2012:

Thank you, StarryNightsDiva. Enjoy your doodling!

Alissa from Rocky Hill, CT on July 19, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 19, 2012:

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

kartika damon from Fairfield, Iowa on July 19, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 19, 2012:

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

carol stanley from Arizona on July 19, 2012:

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

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 19, 2012:

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

Rosana Modugno from 11th Kingdom on July 18, 2012:

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

B Lucy from Podunk, Virginia on July 18, 2012:

LOVE THIS!!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 18, 2012:

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.