This photo, supplied by Basic Books, shows an undated doodle by President Kennedy, from the book Presidential Doodles, just released by Basic Books. Kennedy, known for separating his life into compartments, would enclose words and numbers inside circles and boxes.
This photo, supplied by Basic Books, shows an undated doodle by President Kennedy, from the book Presidential Doodles, just released by Basic Books. Kennedy, known for separating his life into compartments, would enclose words and numbers inside circles and boxes.

What your doodles say about you

By MANDY FRANCIS Time of article published Sep 12, 2011

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London - Stuck somewhere, waiting or listening with a pen in your hand? The chances are you’ll start doodling. And what you choose to doodle will reveal volumes about your personality and mood.

“We tend to doodle when we are bored or stressed,” says Ruth Rostron, professional handwriting analyst and vice-chair of the British Institute of Graphologists.

“Because of this, we’re usually only half-conscious of what we’re drawing - which means our inner preoccupations surface on paper.”

Many of us end up drawing the same things. Stars, flowers, boxes and arrows frequently crop up - common symbols of aspirations and feelings.

According to Rostron, you should also look at how a doodle is drawn to find out its true meaning.

“Emotional people who want harmony and crave affection tend to use rounded shapes and curved lines. Down-to-earth, practical types tend to use straight lines and squares. Determined people will use corners, zigzags and triangles, while more hesitant types use light, sketchy strokes.

“A large doodle shows a person is confident and outgoing, while a small one suggests the person prefers to observe rather than participate.”


The expression on a doodled face is often a good indication of the mood or character of the person who has drawn it. A nicely drawn, good-looking face suggests you see the good in others. If you sketch weird or ugly faces, you are probably mistrustful.

Comic faces demonstrate a desire to be the centre of attention. Child-like doodles of faces suggest neediness. Profiles indicate you’re an introvert.


The black and white chequerboard doodle suggests patience and persistence. Perhaps you are weighing-up various options regarding a tricky situation? It’s also the favourite doodle of people who are prone to mood swings.


Soft, rounded petals around a circular flower centre suggest an amiable, family-centric person.

If the centre of your flower is a circle, but your petals are pointy, you are probably hiding a warm heart behind a prickly defensiveness.

If you doodle a bunch of perky-looking flowers you are likely to be sociable. Drooping flower heads, on the other hand, indicate you’re burdened by worry.

Butterflies, birds or bees

Flighty and romantic, fluttering butterflies, birds and bees suggest you don’t want to be tied down - or landed with difficult tasks or problems.


Obviously a romantic doodle. Drawing a heart indicates you’re in love with love.

Intricate patterns

Busy, highly-detailed doodles are often drawn by people with an obsessive nature, who simply will not let go of their ambitions or loved ones. This type of drawing is often a favourite with extreme introverts.

Stairs or ladder

Symbols of ambition and a willingness to work your way methodically “up the ladder” in life, drawings of stairs and ladders also often indicate you have an important, long-term task in hand. They can represent a spiritual quest, too, perhaps a desire to be happier or more relaxed.


A determined person with a specific goal in mind will draw arrows, subconsciously “aiming” at his or her “target”.

If the arrow is sharp and angular, the target probably is something important - perhaps a person who needs to be confronted or a job that needs to be applied for.

If it is more fluid - and decorated - it’s likely to be the target is an affair of the heart or something the doodler feels passionate about.

Boats and planes

Doodling any form of transport often indicates a desire to escape from a situation.


This common doodle indicates a need for security. A neat drawing of a house suggests a secure home life, a more messy-looking sketch (especially one without windows) indicates unhappiness with your home life.

A house pictured on its own on top of a hill suggests you’re feeling isolated and lonely.

Spider’s web

This can symbolise a feeling of being trapped - or the desire to entice someone into a particular relationship or situation.

Name or initials

Doodling your name or initials is common for those who enjoy being the centre of attention. Teenagers often doodle just their first name or the initial of their Christian name, indicating a desire to break away from the family and do their own thing.

Doodling someone else’s name, on the other hand, shows they are in your thoughts - perhaps romantically or because they are a presenting a problem you need to deal with.


Stars are often drawn by ambitious people. Lots of little stars indicate optimism. If you’ve drawn one big, bold, embellished star, you’ve got a definite goal in your sights.

Neat, uniform stars suggest good mental focus, while freehand, asymmetric stars show an energetic personality.

Squares and boxes

Drawing a square indicates you want control of a situation - that you are thinking through a problem.

If your squares progress to a cube or box, you’re likely to be a very efficient, analytical person who can deal with difficult situations with little fuss.


Just as patterns made up of soft, flowing, curvy lines suggest a romantic, female approach to things, patterns made up of lots of straight lines, indicate more aggressive masculine characteristics.

Zigzags are a particularly common doodle and show energetic thinking and a desire to get on with things.

Stick figure

Commonly doodled by highly successful people, the simple stick figure reveals someone who is in control of their emotions and incredibly focused on their goals in life. - Daily Mail


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