Finding inspiration for your doodles {plus 2 printable doodle pages!}

Finding inspiration for your doodles {plus 2 printable doodle pages!}

Collect patterns and borders to use in your doodles

Although I’m still learning the basics of doodling, one thing I’ve started to do in the last couple of weeks is be more intentional about collecting patterns and borders to use as inspiration and to develop my own style (rather than just copying others).

As I was working on these pages in my sketchbook, I thought they would make fun printables as well.


Whether you’re an experienced doodler or wondering whether this is a hobby you would enjoy, use these pages to begin practicing and collecting patterns. They’re great for kids too, but they’re not intended just for kids. Remember, practice—not perfection—is the goal!

To find inspiration for my designs, I started with my collection of doodling books, but now I’m finding inspiration everywhere I look…

Inside a box of Yogi tea:

Find inspiration for your doodles inside boxes and other packaging

Or the box with my Stitch Fix order:

Find inspiration for your doodles inside boxes and other packaging

In other people’s art:

Find inspiration for your doodles in other people's art

source: The Burlap Bag 
Find inspiration for your doodles in other people's art

This image was shared without a source on Facebook; please let me know if you know who created it!

On my daughter’s shirt:

Find inspiration for your doodles on clothes

Or my own:

Find inspiration for your doodles on clothes

I once read (maybe in Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine?) that the best way to make a recipe your own is to follow a three step process:

  1. Make the recipe exactly as written.
  2. Make it again, tweaking it for your own tastes and preferences.
  3. Make it again without following the recipe.

I love the wisdom in this, and I think a similar process can be used for doodling:

  1. Copy someone else’s doodle or pattern.
  2. Do it again, but this time add your own flare to the design.
  3. Draw it a third time without looking at the original at all.

I keep saying this because I think it’s so important: six months ago I would have said I couldn’t draw a stick figure, and I’m pretty proud of how far my doodles have come in that time. The key? I just had to start.

Click the links below to download or print the doodle prompts:

I’d love to see your doodles as well. Come back and upload a picture here in the comments or tag me (@mandiehman) on Instagram!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. How does a (recovering…maybe?) perfectionist with a 10-year history of creative burnout begin to create art again?

  2. As a “new” creative, this is hard for me to answer, but I think it may be the same—just start. Start without any expectations for the final product and just focus on the process rather than judging the end result.


  3. Ah, that is the rub: not caring about the end result! I was trained at a world class art school (and paid good money, too) to care very much about the end result, because no one will hire a designer based on their process (unless they are a performance artist!). But I’m sure you are right. I’m one of those people who have the completed look of something already in their brain before they put pencil to paper, which can be a good thing in some cases, but not so great if it stops me before I start. Perhaps I will download your little doodle boxes and start there 🙂

  4. That is my biggest fear about considering the commercial possibilities of my “art”…getting so focused on the end result that I lose the joy of the process! I hope you’re able to work your way back to enjoying it!

  5. It’s easy to become a slave to the art you get paid to do, but it’s also quite do-able to make it a really fulfilling experience. All you need to do is know yourself: know what you love to make, know what’s drudgery for you (even if you’re good at it), be clear about your boundaries (how it will affect your personal and professional lives), and don’t sell yourself short. There have been many times in my professional art-making where I do the happy dance inside, and other times where I just want to shut my eyes and make the project go away. You sound like you’d be able to figure those sorts of things out pretty well, and I think you should at least try doing something freelance to see if you like the process. After all, there’s nothing like seeing your design emblazoned on someone else’s stuff. 🙂

  6. This is a good reminder Mandi. I got zentangling books and supplies for my birthday in October and spent some time soon after practicing and trying it out. I enjoyed doing it but was disappointed in how it wasn’t really very good. I know it doesn’t have to be good for me to enjoy the process and the downtime the doodling/zentangling can give me but still I expected more. But practicing and continuing to do it is still a good thing! I’m going to pull out my stuff again this week and enjoy the time I do spend on it.

  7. I have quite a few zentangle books on my wishlist! I hope you’ve had a chance to pull them back out in the last week!

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