Delighted to have been invited by Lauren PG-Geall, an MA Magazine Journalism student at University of London, to write a feature on Journalist’s doodles for their alumni magazine XCity. This is The Drawn Identity.
And here’s the unedited version of what I said:
(Please note that I use the word ‘they’, because the doodlers were all anonymous at the time of analysing).
THE FACE: People who doodle faces are interested in personalities – they are people’s people. The triangular shapes in the face relate to resourcefulness. This means there is abundant creative potential hoisted by a determined, adventurous nature. Spirals are also to do with thinking outside the box. The doodler is likely to be highly individualistic – someone who doesn’t want to be perceived as ‘normal’. They thrive on variety, creativity and change. A face in profile (this one is facing to the left and the past) means the doodler is reflective and inscrutable, implicitly asking for privacy in their private life.
THE LION: The Lion reveals a strong, courageous personality with a secret lust for power. It’s the symbol of an independent, resourceful and enterprising thinker, someone who is strong-willed, with big dreams, bags of energy, and a strong desire to have authority and command respect. These people are leaders. The subconscious mind is strong here – the doodler reacts to everything, soaking up atmosphere and assimilating information almost by osmosis, creatively exaggerating and embellishing the facts. There’s a danger that fantasy could overtake reality and restraint is compromised. Yet they are proud and chameleonic, projecting nonchalance.
The doodler needs plenty of social stimulation. They love being involved in everything that’s going on, and they can usually keep their head under pressure. (This is seen in the narrow line spacing with no interlinear tangling). The wavy lines (in the lion’s fur coat and mane) uncover rapid thinking processes. There is huge empathy, a broad mind, and great depth of feeling and emotion, and these qualities are all applied in a down-to-earth practical manner to everything that’s going on in the world on a daily basis. This interpretation is supported by the large and dominant lower zone (wide and full loops beneath the baseline), as well as the ‘stretched out’ writing – the broadness – seen in the handwritten notes. There is a sense of discretion, because the oval letters are all tightly closed, and in some cases ‘flattened’, which also tells us that the writer doesn’t believe they have yet fulfilled their true potential in life.
THE FOX: In terms of symbolism, the fox represents mindfulness and enlightenment, but look closer, and there is much more insight to be gleaned. Interestingly, the fox doodle is a mirror image or reflection of the small piece of handwriting ‘A high-steppin’ Fox’:
- The long, slender legs of the fox mirror the long, lean and fluctuating lower zone* stems of the letters – telling us that the doodler’s motivation lies firmly in the camp of financial and practical considerations, but also revealing restlessness and a love of travel (because of the fluctuating size).
- The tall, bushy tail pointing upwards with a triangular tip, echoes the large and dominant upper zone* letter strokes, adding detail to the dry graphological interpretation, i.e. telling us that not only is the writer a radical thinker, but also shot through with imagination and ambition. Again, the fluctuating size (of the letters) reveals that the writer has a tendency to overthink things. It’s all about the thought processes.
- The long, thin body, together with the long, thin and triangular pointing nose, are reflected in the small and diminished middle zone* letters, further uncovering huge aspirations and a healthy appetite for success. The doodler is achievement orientated, and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals and dreams. The fluctuating letters on the baseline are evidence that in spite of appearing outwardly confident, emotion is creeping in …
Plug on to these interpretations that the writing is upright, printed (or disconnected – the letters aren’t joined up), with arcade (arched) formations and lean. This reveals someone who is super cool, classy, bright and creative, with one sharp eye on the detail and another on an ambitious vision of the future. There’s a curious desire to get directly to the crux of matters without any fuss, combined with a penchant for precision. This is someone who is incredibly focused and has the ability to translate ideas into action. The fox is deftly tiptoeing on the baseline of reality, and the feet have heavy shading/retracing/ ink flooding, which uncovers how the doodler is attempting to stay grounded, but this is causing some anxiety. The green coloured ink is also relevant, telling us that the doodler has an intense desire to be unique. Green ink is often used by natural, friendly people who have a thrill for renewal, change and growth, and sometimes exposes eccentric tendencies.
The horizontal layout on the page also means that the doodler likes to do things differently – we’ve already picked up that the writer likes thinking outside the box. The fox itself is huge, taking up most of the page, which shows an outward appearance of confidence and a strong desire for the doodler to get involved with everything that’s going on. The fox is placed right hand side of the page, which shows a desire for expression and adventure, but the fact that the fox is facing to the left tells us that the doodler reflects strongly on things that have gone before – things that have happened in the past. Or perhaps this shows a familial influence in the desire for ambition in life?
All in all, this independent, creative doodler needs an outlet for all their mental and physical energies and is looking back at the past to find the answer to their life questions.
The zones are very important, because they will tell you all about how someone is feeling on the inside – revealing the writer’s inner character. Someone with very large handwriting may give the impression that they’re confident characters who love to be noticed and admired, but it’s what’s going on in the zonal sections of the writing that will reveal the true story.
There are three zones – the upper, middle, and lower zones. The middle zone, which is all the small letters sitting on the baseline, represents the ego and relates to everything that goes on day to day. So, someone with a large middle zone will be living in the moment, probably enjoying a hectic social life, and will care about what their peers think of them. The upper zone comprising all the tall stems that are extensions of the small letters (seen in b, d, f, h, k, l, t) is associated with the upper part of the body. This is the realm of hopes, dreams, aspirations, imagination, spiritualism, and desire for achievement. The lower zone – the long downstrokes that hang beneath the baseline (seen in the f, g, j, p, q, y) – reveal instinctual urges, material needs, sexual drives and deeply buried subconscious issues.