Happy Doodle Day! We’d love to be able to show you how Robert Adam doodled his way through a boring client meeting, or how Basil Spence amused himself during a tedious school lesson, but sadly doodles don’t tend to survive too well.
However, in honour of the diverting art of doodling, we’ve pulled some sketches out of the archives to share with you. While not doodles in the strict sense of the word, these sketches do have various things in common – having been speedily drawn on whatever came to hand, or with comic intent.
The early ‘workings-out’ of an architecture project, when the architect’s mind is roaming around a design challenge, don’t often survive. The Basil Spence Archive contains a fair few design doodles though, especially for his British Pavilion at Montreal’s Expo ’67.
Spence drew constantly – on napkins, menus, and even sick bags like this one!
Basil Spence’s initial ideas for the British Pavilion at Expo 67, Montreal.
The Scott Morton design archive is full of early sketches which have a ‘doodly’ quality to them. These fine fellows are alternative ideas for decorating the Thistle Chapel in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh.
Alternative doodle ideas for decorating the Thistle Chapel in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinbugh.
Doodles or desecration?
The line between doodling and graffiti is often blurred. Shortly before it was demolished in 2010, the walls at Glasgow School of Art‘s Foulis Building become communal doodling spaces.
The ‘Doodle Wall’ graffiti space in the Foulis Building, Glasgow School of Art.
This is not a new thing. During World War Two, workers at the Ministry of Supply Factory in Dalbeattie did the same. They filled the walls with poems, and sketched pin-ups and song lyrics to give them some relief from manufacturing explosives.
Workers used the whitewashed walls of the Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie as a huge doodle pad.
Workers sketched pin-ups as light relief from manufacturing explosives during WWII.
The pages of our historic photograph albums, such as the Isabel Asher Album, are often filled with little sketches and comments.
It’s not all drawings of buildings and monuments, though. The St Andrews Sketchbook has a mixture of views of St Andrews Cathedral, and cartoon animals!
The Isabel Asher Album of 1904.
The St Andrews Sketchbook contains doodles and drawings of cartoon animals.
Is the doodle doomed in the age of the internet, now we can stave off boredom with browsing the web rather than doodling?
A scout around the offices here at HES suggests its days are not quite numbered! Here are a few of the doodles still appearing on our pages…
Take a look at our Doodle Day Gallery on Canmore and if you’d like to see the originals, come and visit our Search Room.