A Doodle Inn is all about giving people a place to go where they can relax, forget their troubles for a while, and feel free to draw, maybe for the first time. There’s no need for goals, and no expectations or competition – it’s a space to enjoy the process of making marks on paper, in the company of others.
When I try to describe just what a Doodle Inn is, I sometimes liken it to a cafe with pens and pencils and paper in place of food and drink, and where the other people are quietly doodling. Or a gym, where the work out is for your imagination, and the equipment is the tools you use to make marks on the paper.
It’s somewhere to drop into, where you can take your mind off other things and give yourself a reason to focus on a pleasurable pastime for a while.
It’s a community space, created for everyone to pick up a pen or a pencil and draw the world around them as they see it.
Importantly, a Doodle Inn is simply for fun, for the pleasure of drawing, alone… but with company.
Is it just for Artists?
Whether you’re having a go for the first time, or whether you’re a seasoned doodler, the key is it’s somewhere to forget your troubles for a while, away from your usual environment, where you can drop in and, in the quiet company of others, simply enjoy discovering and spending time drawing.
You’ll find that drawing in company can be fun, but – like a gym or a cafe – you can be as solitary or as sociable as you like. You may just want the background hum of low voices or the gentle sound of pens on paper, or after a while you may find you get to know fellow doodlers and like to offer a welcome to newcomers, swopping drawing ideas and sharing your artistic efforts.
A Doodle Inn isn’t somewhere where you’ll find Art, with a capital A. A Doodle Inn is somewhere to, well, doodle. To play – maybe for the first time – with making marks on paper, and see where it takes you.
At a Doodle Inn, basic drawing materials are provided – pencils, pens, paper, maybe markers, brushes and paints – and some simple comforts like chairs and work surfaces.
What do we mean by “community space”?
The uniqueness of a Doodle Inn is that it may pop up anywhere. Ideally it will be free to access and regularly open, but it may be a quiet corner of a venue that has another purpose, or it may be part of a one-off event. At Doodle Inn HQ we are always open to suggestions for new locations.
The phrase “community space” could refer to a public space open to absolutely everyone in the local area – indoors, outside under cover, or in the open air on fine weather days – or it could also mean a space that serves a particular ‘community’. In other words, just like gyms and cafes, Doodle Inns may be found within other venues, office buildings, hotels, shopping centres, colleges, or perhaps within a general leisure facility.
A Doodle Inn may also be temporary, as part of an event. It may be an attraction in its own small marquee at a summer fete, a music festival or a street market perhaps – or it may be a wind-down space or break-out room at a corporate event.
Or a Doodle Inn might be an event in itself – a weekly pop-up in a public space. It could even be a roving thing, an adapted van, camper van, caravan, or even comfortably kitted out trailer.
The possibilities are almost limitless. Anywhere where there is space that can be made comfortable, with good light, protected from inclement weather and easily accessible.
The essence of a Doodle Inn is that it’s just there, waiting for you to drop in, pick up paper and pen, and draw whatever you want; and engage as much or as little as you wish with others who are doing just the same.
Here at Doodle Inn HQ we’re hoping that as time goes on, and word spreads, Doodle Inns will be popping up all over the place, and more and more people will be finding how much pleasure and fun they can have doodling!