Doodles say more about our personalities than we may realise, it has been claimed.
Experts have revealed our subconscious scribblings can show we have a selfish side, are feeling the pressure at work – and even that we’ve got skeletons in our cupboards.
The shapes and objects drawn, the colour of ink used and the position of the scribble on the page can all provide clues into our state of mind, life outlook, motivations and more.
An arch shape for instance can indicate someone is secretive, while retraced doodles are often a sign of being overworked.
Criss-crosses can be a sign of anxiety, straight lines suggest someone is a “no nonsense” type and pointed shapes can indicate an ambitious and competitive nature.
The hidden meanings were revealed after makers of the four colours pen, BIC, teamed up with doodle expert and consultant graphologist, Tracey Trussell, to launch their Design and Shine competition.
As part of the launch, BIC also commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK adults and found we doodle four times a week on average – for 15 hours a year in total.
Tracey Trussell said: “Doodles are like little maps that guide us in the exploration of people’s psyches.
“They are created casually – usually when the doodler is concentrating on something else – by the complete free flow of uninhibited symbols, live and direct from the subconscious.
“This means they are the outward expression of our unconscious thoughts, and not intended for any particular recipient or for any specific use.”
The research found two thirds doodle when they are bored, one fifth do it when they are anxious or stressed – and one quarter do it when they are in a relaxed state of mind.
Two thirds also think doodles can reveal a lot about someone’s personality, which could explain why 35 per cent avoid letting others see their scribbles.
The most popular forms of doodle are shapes and patterns – 69 per cent draw in this way.
Circles and round shapes typically indicate someone is friendly and kind – this type of doodler is also motivated by love and they do not like conflict.
Squares are often indicative of those who like organisation and to be in control – and tend to have meticulous planning skills.
Triangles and pointed shapes are usually drawn by ambitious people – those who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals and dreams.
This shape can also indicate someone is competitive and resourceful but might also suggest someone has an abrasive personality.
One fifth of the population tend to doodle recognisable objects such as flowers, houses, stars and faces.
Flowers are the most popular recognisable objects drawn and tend to suggest someone is loyal and faithful – and that friendships and relationships matter to them.
A large circular centre flower shows confidence and is indicative of someone who likes attention. However carefully drawn flowers suggest someone has an obsessive-compulsive personality.
The second most popular objects sketched are stars – and as they contain points they can indicate someone is ambitious. Those who doodle in this way have high expectations and aspirations in life – and are determined to succeed.
Faces are the third most favoured and can indicate a host of things depending on what form they take. For instance, self-portraits can indicate someone is egocentric, but drawing other faces is often indicative of someone who is more of a people’s person.
But it’s not just what you doodle which provides insight into someone’s personality or outlook on life.
Those who do large doodles want to be noticed whereas smaller doodlers enjoy the quiet life and are modest types.
Drawing the same shape or object over and over again – but not on the same spot – reveals patience and perseverance.
Doodling on the same spot is an indication of anxiety, and is often drawn when people are under pressure – it can also be a sign of guilt.
Shaded or filled doodles can simply mean someone is bored, but can also indicate they are unhappy, have bottled up anger or lack self-confidence.
Used by two thirds of Britons, black is the most popular ink colour for doodling – and this choice of colour often suggests someone is decisive and hardworking.
Blue ink – typically used by 17 per cent – often suggests someone is peaceful and patient.
Red is commonly used by energetic, passionate individuals, and green is the choice of eccentrics.
The use of brighter colours such as yellow and orange often indicate someone is fun and frivolous – with a vivid and creative imagination.
Nearly a quarter take pride in what they sketch and keep their old doodles. In fact, 24 per cent think their doodles are good enough to be considered works of art.
Ms Trussell added: “Doodling helps you to focus and concentrate on whatever you’re doing.
“It’s effective for problem solving and it’s also a source of creativity and brilliant for brainstorming, because it’s a conduit for ideas and light bulb moments.
“It’s also a way of helping to process difficult emotions – doodles are like safety valves for releasing negative emotions and feelings.”
What your doodles could say about you:
Flowers: Your friends and relationships are important to you – you’re loyal and faithful.
Stars: You have ambition in spades – you are enthusiastic, optimistic, but sometimes impatient.
Faces: You are interested in people and personalities – a people’s person.
Cubes (3D objects/forms): You are a clever thinker, can see the big picture and other people’s points of view.
Houses: You are family orientated and enjoy stability in life.
Circles/round shapes: You want to love and be loved – and want to avoid conflict and promote harmony.
Triangles: You are dynamic, powerful and ambitious – and will stop at nothing to achieve your goals and dreams.
Squares: You like to be in control, are good at problem solving and organisation – but need to see tangible results for your efforts.
Wavy/wiggly lines: You are adaptable and a rapid thinker, but can be evasive and indecisive.
Zigzags: You are strong minded, like to get on with things and have a daring personality.
South West News Service