Doodle Basics: A Beginner’s Guide to Simple Sketches

Are you a beginner in the world of doodling? Look no further! In “Doodle Basics: A Beginner’s Guide to Simple Sketches”, we will take you on a journey of creativity and self-expression through the art of doodling. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or just looking for a fun and relaxing hobby, this guide will provide you with the essential tips and techniques to create beautiful and imaginative doodles. So grab your favorite pen or pencil, and let’s dive into the world of doodling together!

Choosing the Right Tools

When it comes to doodling, having the right tools is essential. The choice between a pencil, pen, marker, crayon, or colored pencil depends on your personal preference and the effect you want to achieve.


Pencils are a popular choice for doodling due to their versatility. They allow you to easily erase any mistakes or make adjustments to your sketches. Pencils come in various hardness levels, ranging from H to B. A harder pencil (such as an H) will create light, fine lines, while a softer pencil (like a B or 2B) will produce darker, bolder lines. Experiment with different pencil types to find the one that suits your style.


Using a pen for doodling can add a sense of permanence to your sketches. Pens come in different colors and line thicknesses, allowing you to create intricate and detailed designs. One advantage of pen doodling is that you cannot erase mistakes, so it encourages you to embrace imperfections and build confidence in your strokes.


Markers are a great choice for creating vibrant and bold doodles. They come in a wide range of colors and line widths, allowing for expressive and eye-catching designs. However, markers tend to bleed through paper, so it’s essential to use thicker paper or consider using marker-specific sketchbooks.


Crayons bring back a sense of nostalgia and can be a fun tool to use for doodling. They offer a smooth and waxy texture, allowing you to easily blend colors and create soft shading. Crayons work best on textured or thicker paper and can add a playful and vibrant touch to your doodles.

Colored Pencil

Colored pencils are a versatile tool for adding color to your doodles. They come in a vast array of colors and shades, giving you plenty of options to bring your sketches to life. Colored pencils can be used on their own or in combination with other drawing tools, such as pens or markers, to create interesting textures and effects.

Understanding Basic Shapes

Before diving into more complex doodles, it’s crucial to have a good grasp of basic shapes. By mastering these fundamental shapes, you’ll be able to create a solid foundation for your doodles.


Lines are the building blocks of all doodles. They can be straight or curved, thick or thin, and can express a range of emotions and movements. Practice drawing various types of lines, such as wavy lines, zigzag lines, and parallel lines, to add depth and interest to your sketches.


Circles are one of the most versatile shapes in doodling. They can be used to create different objects, like faces, planets, or even flowers. Get comfortable drawing circles of different sizes and experiment with adding details and shading to create depth.


Squares are another basic shape that can be used to create a variety of objects and structures. They form the basis for drawing buildings, boxes, and even adorable little houses or characters. Practice drawing squares in different orientations to improve your doodling skills.


Triangles add a sense of stability and structure to your doodles. They can be used to create mountains, trees, or even simple banners and flags. Experiment with drawing triangles of different sizes and angles to add dimension to your sketches.


Ovals, similar to circles, are versatile shapes that can be used to create a wide range of objects. They are commonly used for drawing faces, eggs, or even basic shapes like hearts and balloons. Practice drawing ovals of varying proportions and experiment with adding facial features or patterns to bring your doodles to life.

Doodle Basics: A Beginners Guide to Simple Sketches

Mastering Line Techniques

Once you have a good understanding of basic shapes, it’s time to explore different line techniques to add depth and dimension to your doodles.

Contour Lines

Contour lines are lines that define the edges and shapes of an object or form. They can be used to create outlines, add details, or emphasize certain aspects of your doodles. Practice using contour lines to enhance the form and structure of your sketches.


Hatching involves drawing closely spaced parallel lines to create value and texture in your doodles. The closer the lines, the darker the area appears. By varying the direction and spacing of the lines, you can achieve different effects and shading techniques. Experiment with hatching to add depth and shadows to your drawings.


Cross-hatching is similar to hatching but involves drawing intersecting lines to create additional layers of value and texture. By varying the angle and density of the lines, you can create intricate patterns and enhance the three-dimensional quality of your doodles.


Scumbling is a technique where you use rapid, scribble-like strokes to create texture and shading. It’s a loose and expressive technique that adds a playful and spontaneous feel to your doodles. Try scumbling with a pencil or colored pencil to add texture to objects like clouds or foliage.


Stippling involves creating texture and shading by using small, closely spaced dots. The density and size of the dots determine the value and intensity of the shading. Stippling can be time-consuming but produces stunning results, adding depth and texture to your doodles. Experiment with different spacing and dot sizes to achieve various effects.

Exploring Shading Techniques

Understanding shading techniques is essential for creating depth and dimension in your doodles. By mastering light and shadow, you can bring your sketches to life and make them visually captivating.

Light and Shadow

Light and shadow play a crucial role in creating realistic and dynamic doodles. By understanding how light interacts with objects, you can add depth and volume to your drawings. Practice observing how light falls on different objects and experiment with shading to create the illusion of form.

Simple Shading

Simple shading involves using a single shade to add value and depth to your doodles. By applying more pressure with your drawing tool, you can create darker shades, and by using lighter strokes, you can achieve lighter areas. Begin by shading simple objects to develop your shading skills.


Cross-hatching, mentioned in the previous section, can also be used as a shading technique. By varying the density and direction of the intersecting lines, you can create gradients and areas of shading. Cross-hatching is a great technique for achieving subtle shading and texture.


Similarly, stippling can be used as a shading technique. By varying the density and size of the dots, you can create the illusion of light and shadow. Experiment with stippling to create soft and gradient-like shading in your doodles.


Blending involves using a smudging tool or your fingers to smooth out and blend different shades together. It creates a seamless transition between colors and tones, making your doodles look more polished and professional. Practice blending techniques to achieve realistic shading in your sketches.

Doodle Basics: A Beginners Guide to Simple Sketches

Creating Texture in Your Doodles

Adding texture can bring your doodles to life and make them more visually interesting. Experiment with different techniques to create a variety of textures and add depth to your sketches.

Lines and Strokes

Using lines and strokes is a simple yet effective way to create texture in your doodles. Vary the length, thickness, and direction of the lines to create different textures. For example, short, parallel lines can represent grass or fur, while longer, curved lines can create the illusion of waves or ripples.

Dots and Dashes

Dots and dashes can be used to create textures such as stippling or even the appearance of scales or rough surfaces. Experiment with different dot and dash sizes and densities to create various textures, like rough stone or a cloud of stars.


As mentioned earlier, cross-hatching can not only be used for shading but also to create texture. By adjusting the density and direction of the intersecting lines, you can create patterns and textures like wood grain or fabric.


Stippling, too, can be used to add texture to your doodles. By varying the density and size of the dots, you can create textures like rough sand, fluffy clouds, or even the appearance of rough tree bark.


Squiggles are playful and fun ways to add texture to your doodles. They can represent the texture of hair, water ripples, or even the movement of leaves in the wind. Experiment with different types of squiggles to create unique textures that bring your doodles to life.

Adding Depth to Your Sketches

Depth is vital in creating visually appealing sketches. By utilizing various techniques and concepts, you can make your doodles appear three-dimensional and captivating.

Foreground, Middle Ground, and Background

Understanding the concept of foreground, middle ground, and background will help you create depth in your doodles. By placing objects in different layers, you create the illusion of depth and distance. Objects in the foreground appear closer, while those in the background appear farther away. Experiment with positioning objects in these different layers to create depth in your sketches.


Overlapping is a simple technique that adds depth and dimension to your doodles. By drawing objects overlapping each other, you create the illusion of one object being in front of another. Use this technique to add depth and make your doodles visually intriguing.


Perspective is crucial in creating realistic and immersive doodles. By understanding the principles of one-point or two-point perspective, you can create the illusion of depth and distance. Experiment with vanishing points and lines to give your sketches a realistic sense of space.

Size and Proportion

Size and proportion play an essential role in creating depth. By adjusting the size and proportion of objects, you can create a sense of distance and perspective. Objects that are closer will appear larger, while those farther away will appear smaller. Pay attention to size and proportion to enhance the depth in your doodles.

Value Contrast

Value contrast refers to the difference between light and dark areas in your doodles. By utilizing a range of values, you can create depth and volume. Objects that are closer to the light source will have higher value contrasts, while those in the shadows will have lower contrasts. Experiment with different values to make your doodles visually dynamic.

Using Basic Symbols and Icons

Incorporating basic symbols and icons in your doodles can add interest and convey specific meanings. These symbols are universally recognized and can be used creatively to enhance your sketches.


Arrows are versatile symbols that can represent direction, movement, or even emphasis. By incorporating arrows into your doodles, you can guide the viewer’s eye, create a sense of flow, or add a dynamic touch to your sketches.


Hearts are universal symbols of love and can be used creatively in your doodles. They can be added to represent emotions, affection, or even to create decorative patterns. Experiment with different sizes and styles of hearts to add a touch of sweetness to your sketches.


Stars symbolize brightness, achievement, or even magic. They can add a whimsical and dreamy element to your doodles. Use stars to represent the night sky, highlight important details, or create patterns and designs.

Smiley Faces

Smiley faces are iconic symbols of happiness and positivity. They can be used to convey emotions, add a touch of humor, or simply brighten up your doodles. Experiment with different facial expressions to create characters or add a cheerful vibe to your sketches.


Clouds can be used to create a variety of effects in your doodles. They can represent the weather, enhance the dreamy atmosphere, or even be used as decorative elements. Experiment with different shapes and sizes of clouds to add depth and personality to your sketches.

Adding Simple Details

Adding simple details to your doodles can elevate them to the next level, making them more visually appealing and engaging.

Dots and Dashes

Dots and dashes are versatile elements that can be used to add texture, patterns, or details to your doodles. They can represent stars, create a sense of movement, or add decorative touches. Experiment with different dot and dash sizes and densities to add interest to your sketches.

Patterns and Textures

Patterns and textures can add depth and visual interest to your doodles. They can be used to represent various surfaces, like fabric, wood, or even animal fur. Experiment with different patterns and textures to enhance the realism and uniqueness of your sketches.

Highlights and Shadows

Highlights and shadows can create the illusion of light and volume in your doodles. By adding highlights to areas where light hits objects and shading with shadows, you can make your sketches more visually dynamic and realistic. Pay attention to the light source and experiment with different shading techniques to achieve the desired effect.

Textures and Backgrounds

Adding textures and backgrounds can add depth and context to your doodles. They can create a sense of environment, set the mood, or create contrast with your main subjects. Experiment with different textures and background elements to create visually captivating sketches.

Border Frames

Border frames are decorative elements that can enhance the overall presentation of your doodles. They can create a sense of completion, add structure, or simply make your sketches look more polished. Experiment with different border styles and designs to frame your doodles in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Drawing Basic Objects

Drawing basic objects is an excellent way to practice your doodling skills and expand your repertoire. These five categories offer a wide range of subjects that you can explore.


Drawing fruits can be a fun and colorful exercise in doodling. Practice capturing the shape, texture, and details of various fruits like apples, oranges, or berries. Pay attention to shading and highlights to make your fruit sketches appear realistic and vibrant.


Flowers offer endless possibilities for doodling. Experiment with different types of flowers, such as roses, sunflowers, or daisies. Focus on capturing the unique shapes, petals, and colors to create beautiful and delicate floral doodles.


Drawing animals allows you to explore different shapes, textures, and personalities. Start with simple animals like cats, dogs, or birds, and gradually challenge yourself with more complex subjects. Observe and study animal anatomy and characteristics to make your animal doodles more accurate and expressive.

Household Items

Doodling everyday objects can be a great exercise in observation and detail. Sketching household items like cups, lamps, or chairs allows you to focus on shapes, proportions, and textures. Pay attention to details and shading to make your doodles more realistic.


Drawing vehicles offers an opportunity to experiment with different shapes, angles, and perspectives. Practice illustrating cars, bikes, or airplanes, and challenge yourself with more intricate vehicles like boats or helicopters. Focus on capturing the unique features and proportions of each vehicle.

Creating Easy Doodle Art

Once you’ve mastered the basics and developed confidence in your doodling skills, you can explore various styles and techniques to create easy and captivating doodle art.


Zentangles are a form of structured doodling that involves creating intricate patterns and designs within specific shapes. They are repetitive and meditative, allowing you to relax and focus on the process. Experiment with different patterns and shapes to create stunning zentangle doodles.

Mandala Doodles

Mandalas are geometric and symmetrical doodles that can be incredibly satisfying to create. Start with a central point and let your doodle expand outward, incorporating various shapes, lines, and patterns. Mandala doodles can be a calming and therapeutic way to express your creativity.

Whitespace Doodles

Whitespace doodles utilize the power of negative space to create unique and eye-catching sketches. By focusing on the spaces between shapes and lines, you can create doodles that are elegant and intricate. Experiment with different shapes and patterns to create visually appealing whitespace doodles.

Patterned Doodles

Patterned doodles explore the repetition of shapes, lines, and textures to create visually captivating designs. They can range from simple and symmetrical patterns to complex and intricate compositions. Experiment with different patterns and techniques to create lively and engaging patterned doodles.

Abstract Doodles

Abstract doodles allow you to let your imagination run wild and create art that is open to interpretation. Explore different shapes, lines, and colors to create expressive and experimental doodles. Abstract doodles can be a beautiful way to explore your creativity and emotions.

Doodle Basics: A Beginner’s Guide to Simple Sketches.