top of page
  • Bianca Vinther

How to doodle paint: a daily practice in 3 steps to unlock your artistic creativity

Looking for a fast and hyper-effective way to boost your creativity in art?

Here's how to doodle paint in three easy-to-follow steps.

There are days when we just feel empty and uninspired. Whether it slowly creeps into our minds or it comes on like a giant wave-like cloud, art block is a challenge we all have to deal with from time to time.

You wake up in the morning, follow your usual routine, and get ready to begin another day of work in your studio. And then … you feel that something blocks your mind. You lack the inspiration that keeps you moving forward. You’re feeling stuck. What do you do?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Julia Cameron’s seminal work The Artist’s Way is that a daily practice like the morning pages is vital to one’s mental hygiene and creative resilience. After having understood how blockage relieving and brain stimulative such a daily routine is, I went on with my morning pages until I came across doodle painting.

I began to practise doodle painting one rainy morning in the early days of the first lockdown, when I had run out of ink cartridges for my fountain pen and, as a consequence, I didn’t feel like writing my usual morning pages. I must confess, I don’t write almost anything without my fountain pen. Don’t say I have a pen fetish because I can use a ball pen or a drawing pencil instead, but only if I’m forced to. So, this is how my morning pages turned into daily doodling, a practice that has brought me many benefits so far.

Curious to know how that works with me? Follow the 3 steps below to learn how to doodle paint The Pointless Artist’s way.

Step 1: Choose your art materials

You can pick whatever materials you want to use before you start to doodle paint: acrylics, watercolours, oil paints, ink, gouache, airbrush colours, water-soluble pens ... And you can choose whatever brushes and out-of-the-box painting tools you'd love to work with (e. g. twigs, sponges, and corks).

I normally use a paper block, my favourite watercolours, some airbrush colours, gouaches, and acrylics plus a set of oil pastel chalks, and a few B pencils. I pick a handful of round, flat, and fan brushes in various sizes, and some alternative painting tools, like small pieces of cardboard, a few pointed wooden sticks, a little round sponge, cotton pads, and two wine corks.

My art table with a selection of art materials for doodle painting
My art materials, ready for doodle painting

Some of my favourite brushes are medium to large round brushes (preferably the kolinsky sable-hair ones), medium and large flat brushes, and small to medium size dry fan hog-bristle brushes.

I like to keep to a limited range of art materials because fewer materials help me work simpler and faster. But nothing should stop you from using as many colours, brushes, and alternative painting tools as you want. In other words, choose whatever feels best for you.

Step 2: Start with a few points, lines, and splashes of colour

Now it’s time to doodle paint.

With nothing in mind and no time for reflection, you should begin with a few lines or a couple of splashes of colour. This is my favourite intro, by the way, for nothing can go wrong here, and there’s no pressure or fear of failure whatsoever involved in it.

A view of doodle painting in progress displaying a few splashes of colour, a feather, and a brush

A view of doodle painting in progress displaying a few splashes of colour and a wine cork

A view of doodle painting in progress displaying a few splashes of colour and a brush

A view of doodle painting in progress displaying a few splashes of colour and an oil pastel chalk

A view of doodle painting in progress displaying a few splashes of colour and a B pencil

Alternatively, you can draw a few abstract shapes and then paint inside several of them without following their contour, like Emily Sutton, an amazing British illustrator. Have a close look at her paintings — there’s a lot you can learn from them!

Step 3: Play with your marks, shapes, and materials

Layer colours on top of each other to achieve more depth or more sophisticated tonal values. Notice each time how the colours spread and blend. This works particularly well with airbrush colours – it doesn’t take more than a few drops of paint added to a few water puddles.

Observe the patterns and textures that emerge, and wonder at the way they unfold. Like I said in a previous blog post: work with your materials and tools, focus on your marks, think and create without an end in mind, and let yourself be surprised.

Detail of a doodle paint in blue, yellow, and grey tones

Don’t force your means of expression into a pre-established grid, don’t manipulate them into a specific direction or towards a clearly defined result. Let go of the urge to control them and the outcome of your work. Doodle paint. Literally.

I simply love to play intuitively with my colours, like in a stream of consciousness, without having to think about the design of my works. This is one of the most relaxing practices I know!

I always leave some areas completely white because, like in a musical score for an ensemble piece, the painted surface needs a general pause, which can be short or rather long and profound, depending on how you feel. An empty space in a painting has always got the power to amplify the effect of the marks and shapes that the painting contains.

As my doodle painting expands, I go back over dry sections with pencils, oil pastel chalks, or other tints of colour. I set aside any judgment or thoughts. I let myself be led, and just go with my creative flow.

Sometimes I draw inspiration from stones, scallops, dry plants, tree bark, and feathers, but my approach remains personal and the outcome very free in its form, lively, and often in high spirits, pretty much like a musical capriccio.

A basket filled with scallops

A collection of scallops and stones from the sea shore

A little collection of scallops and sea shells

Seagull feathers against a white wall with pictures of the ocean

A collection of stones, feathers, twigs, and branches on a window sill

Doodle paint: One extra piece of advice

There might be days when you don’t feel like doodle painting. Use them as opportunities for playing with your favourite B pencils, pens, or pastel oil chalks. Exercise doodle drawing instead! That can be fun and is so easy to carry wherever you go.

It doesn’t only allow you to express your passion, complete your daily commitment, and feel wonderful about it, but it can also help you practise social distancing in a pretty smart way (you don’t sit too close to people when you doodle, and people do not generally disturb inspiration struck-artists).

My heartfelt advice to you: be a dedicated doodler. Begin today. And in a not-too-distant future, you’ll see yourself bursting with artistic creativity. I promise you.

What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed ”. (English adaptation of J. W. Goethe by John Anster)

In case you'd like to try The Pointless Artist's doodle painting way, I've prepared a worksheet for you entitled "How to doodle paint in 3 easy steps".

How to doodle paint in 3 steps
Download PDF • 1.02MB

Thank you for reading till the end.

If you’ve got something to add, please comment on this blog post below, drop me an e-mail or pm me on Instagram @the_pointless_artist. I'd love to hear from you!


To stay tuned and never miss a blog post, make sure to sign up for The Pointless Artist’s email list below.

Recognise your pointlessness, and keep creating!

From Germany with love,

Bianca Vinther


What to read next

Wondering how to see like an artist? Read my next blog post entitled: "Seeing like an artist: the secret revealed".


bottom of page