How Do I Set Up A Doodle Inn?

COVID-19 – Virtual Doodle Inns During The Pandemic

During the current global pandemic, with gatherings not permitted in many places, real world Doodle Inns are on hold…

…but planning goes on, and interest in setting up Doodle Inns is very much welcomed.

Check out some FAQ’s below, to find out more about how to get a Doodle Inn started in your community.


If you’d like to get an idea of how a Doodle Inn feels, why not join in a Virtual Doodle Inn session online first – click here to find out how – and it might give you more idea of how one could work in your community venue.


Before we say any more, the most important thing to say is that every Doodle Inn will be different, depending on the location and type of venue it’s in and the type of community it serves.

What Type Of Community Can A Doodle Inn Serve

When we refer to a “community”, this certainly can be an actual residential community – those living in a particular area, town or village, housing estate, or even street. But Doodle Inns can serve communities – ie groups of people who use or populate a place – in many other situations. A Doodle Inn can be set up to serve customers to a shop – maybe an art shop – or a cafe. A ‘pop-up’ Doodle Inn can exist during an event, serving the people who attend the event; this could be anything from a music festival, to a business conference. A Doodle Inn can serve the ‘community’ within a workplace. The possibilities are almost endless.

What Type Of Venue Does A Doodle Inn Need?

Any place that is already being used in some form by a community, where there is some space to spare, and sufficient light (ideally natural, but of course artificial light will sometimes be the only option).

How Much Space Is Needed?

That’s a bit of a “How long is a piece of string?” question! To some extent it depends on how many doodlers are anticipated at one time, but really so long as there is enough room for a few tables and comfortable chairs – easy chairs can work too for drawing, although aren’t so good for anyone wanting to spread out their drawing tools – or even one largeish table.

So, How Do I Set Up A Doodle Inn?

  • Identify your space.
  • Contact Doodle Inn HQ for materials (bright engaging posters, banners, leaflets etc).
  • Put up some publicity posters and identifying banners.
  • Add furniture.
  • Distribute leaflets or hold a publicity event or ‘Opening Day’.

And that’s it really. Of course, once again, it does depend on your type of venue and community, and how much time a volunteer “Innkeeper” has to spare, but aside from keeping an eye on stocks of leaflets, sketchbooks, pens and pencils etc., maybe some special events could be arranged?

Doodle Inn HQ is also here to, among other things, make the public aware of the existence of the spaces, co-ordinate sponsorship and donations of basic drawing materials from suppliers, organise events to spread the word, and answer any queries that arise.

What Sort Of Space Is Suitable?

Suitable spaces may be an underused corner in, for example, a large office building, an indoor shopping centre, a gallery, museum, sports centre, a cafe, a public library, even a community park or garden with a suitable sheltered covered space for cold or wet days – the possibilities are endless.

The aim is for it to be somewhere people are already passing by or through, whether with an alternative aim in mind (for example, shopping, reading, sitting and admiring a view etc), or specifically to de-stress a while with a bit of drawing (and maybe chat while they draw, and form new friendships, and find they’re starting to really see and appreciate the smallest details in the world around them)!

By making a Doodle Inn in a space within a place that’s already in use, the cost of things like heating and lighting, and provision of washrooms, etc should already be taken care of. This will help to maintain the all important ‘Free To Access’ feature. It should also be easy to designate someone from existing personnel to keep an eye on things and act as the Doodle Innkeeper.

Remember: a Doodle Inn is not a business venture. It’s a free-to-access space where the focus is on drawing for wellbeing and on using drawing with others to foster a sense of community.

There is no limit to where Doodle Inns might pop up, and each space will be unique to its surroundings, and inevitably will develop and grow with use.

Ideas For Making A Doodle Inn Even More Special

As well as the spaces being used regularly for anyone to drop-in and draw, special events might be organised from time to time – maybe around drawing a particular topic. Some basic classes in technique, discussions about materials, etc could be scheduled if there was interest.

There could simply be a “show your work” wall perhaps (with showing being very much optional), or “daily prompts” for those “I don’t know what to draw” moments.

Special groups might grow organically from Doodle Inn participants talking amongst themselves and realising interests in drawing certain topics (like nature, or buildings, or animals).

Sketchcrawls might be organised, again perhaps with a specific focus, or just around the local area. Maybe simply a weekly walk out from wherever the space is, a bit of sketching out and about, and back to chat about what people drew.

The emphasis throughout is on the Doodle Inn being accessible and free. The focus is on being uncompetitive and relaxed, on fostering a feeling of community, and on using drawing to de-stress, record the world around you, for pleasure, and relaxation, and fun.

At a Doodle Inn it’s very possible the word “art” will never be mentioned, but if it is, it will be with a very, very small “a”.

Here at Doodle Inn HQ the driving force is the certainty that everyone can draw, and that everyone’s lives can benefit from taking time out to draw, even for a few moments and no matter whether it’s a detailed illustration or a squiggly doodle.

Drawing might be referred to as “making art”. However, at a Doodle Inn it’s very possible the word “art” will never be mentioned. If it is though, it will be with a very, very small “a”.

How Will People Find A Doodle Inn?

When gatherings and events out in the ‘real world’ are allowed once again, you’ll find a list of Doodle Inns here on the website, that will be kept updated with all the relevant details, and new ones added as they are set up.

When things start to get back to some sort of ‘normal’, Doodle Inn HQ will be able to offer help and advice to anyone interested in setting up a Doodle Inn within a place they are responsible for, or have connections with, within their community, workplace or event.

Get in touch

“Drawing helps me…

… to feel connected, part of something basic and timeless. Not having drawn for a time, I feel that now; I can identify what was missing.”

“Drawing and doodling…

are very meditative for me. They make me feel calm and relaxed, and bring out my creative energy. The more I draw the more creative I get in other areas of my life too.

“My sketchbooks…

are a record of happy moments, of quotes that have inspired me in the down moments, of friends, and of my evolution as an artist (with a small ‘a’!).