Doodles can open doors into closely-held secrets

PENS and pencils at the ready – today is National Doodle Day. Whether it is to kill time during a boring meeting, to keep your spirits up on the phone while on hold to a call centre, or even to help you concentrate, pretty much everyone will indulge in the odd bit of senseless scribbling.

Celebs such as Rolf Harris, Caroline Quentin, Gok Wan, and Jo Brand are among those to back today’s national event, which is raising money for Epilepsy Action.

So we thought we would ask some Edinburgh names to come up with their own creations.

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The results are certainly varied and only intended as a bit of fun.

If you did want to try and read anything into the scribbles, however, there is certainly some science behind it.

In fact, according to one study, doodling can aid the memory by expending just enough energy to keep you from daydreaming.

Professional handwriting analyst Ruth Rostron has had a look at some of the offerings and believes she can tell a lot about the personalities of those behind the drawings.

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“A doodle can tell you a great deal about someone, once you know what to look for,” she explains.

“The subject will give you some clues, but the way the drawing has been done will tell you even more.

“Doodles show what kind of people we are because we are free to doodle what and how we like, and we show our individuality through all the choices we make in life.

“Doodling is an uninhibited form of self-expression.”

Council leader Andrew Burns’ cityscape of Edinburgh is very revealing, according to Ruth, an Oxford English graduate, who points out “the clouds look turbulent and stormy and there are some extremely large drops of rain”.

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Cllr Burns would no doubt point out the over-sized smiley sun, however, dominating the picture, proving that it’s not all bad news.

Professor Joe Goldblatt, executive director of the International Centre for the Study of Planned Events at Queen Margaret University, has submitted an “interesting” piece of work, according to Ruth.

“We have supposedly got two people, but everything relates to the person that did it so it’s more likely that he is expressing two sides of the same person,” says Ruth.

“They are having a dialogue which seems to be questioning who he is and his importance, so I would say this is, in comic terms, quite an interesting issue for a man who has achieved a lot in his profession.

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“It is like he is literally getting in touch with the animal in him.”

Actor Gordon Kennedy, who is originally from Tranent, has drawn a “typical actor’s doodle”, says Ruth.

She adds: “There is a certain egocentricity about someone who has drawn his own face five times over.”

Ruth says that the doodle by Edinburgh fashion designer Holly Fulton is very “feminine” due to the curved lines, as is the submission by children’s author Lari Don.

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As for celebrity hairdresser Charlie Miller’s scribble. Answers on a postcard please.

Quick on the draw

NATIONAL Doodle Day was established in 2004 to create a fun, simple fundraising event that was open to everyone.

By simply doing a doodle, thousands of celebrities, schools, companies and individuals have joined together and helped raise more than £250,000 for the charity Epilepsy Action.

Dozens of celebrities have signed up to take part this year, each penning their own doodle to be sold off to raise money, with members of the public urged to take part as well.

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The celebrity auction starts today and all doodles that appear on the National Doodle Day website in the 2013 gallery will be on sale for a ten-day period.

Celebrities who have donated their scribbles this year include Rolf Harris, Jo Brand, Bernard Cribbins, Chris

Tarrant and Justin Fletcher.

For more information and to submit a doodle along with a donation, visit