How to Access Your Subconscious Mind by Drawing Doodles

Updated on September 27, 2016
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok writes about personal growth and emotional well-being that he learned from his studies of social behavior and from experience.

Doodling can help you tap into your subconscious mind and consciously visualize what's hidden there. You may actually get to understand yourself better.

I found I could tap into my subconscious mind and visualize what is hidden away by doodling without paying much attention to the creative process.

Have you ever doodled while talking on the phone or when you had nothing else to do? Did you ever notice something about your feelings that you were not aware of when you examined your creation afterward?

Even if you think you can't draw a picture, you'd be amazed at the ability of your subconscious mind to communicate visually.

Here's an interesting experiment you can try:

  1. Take a blank piece of paper. Any size will do. Sometimes I use index cards, but 9x12 sketchpads give more room for your artwork.
  2. Use a pen or a pencil. If you want to play with color, get a set of felt markers.
  3. Now, start anywhere on the paper drawing a line, a circle, or some other pattern.
  4. Let your mind go free and let your hand move anywhere you feel that it wants to go.

The idea is to let your subconscious mind communicate without filtering or censoring.


Here's an example of what can come out from your subconscious mind when you don't pay attention while you're doodling. I drew the doodle below without conscious thought. There was clearly an egg and a man's shadow. After examining it, I realized that the man might represent "me” and the egg might represent the birth of my future creativity.

The hidden mind can communicate through doodles.
The hidden mind can communicate through doodles. | Source

Doodling From The Subconscious Mind

When you doodle, you are letting hidden feelings come to the surface in the form of art without censorship. Your subconscious mind will be free to speak to you in its own way if you let it. Whatever you feel like doing when doodling — let it happen.

  • If you feel like making circles, then do so.
  • If you feel like making squiggly lines all over, do it.
  • If you feel like messing it all up and just going crazy, let it all come out.

Many of my doodles were done without removing the pencil from the paper. I would look at it with conscious thought when I'm finished and add a few things, such as the eyes in this doodle below.

Conscious addition of eyes.
Conscious addition of eyes. | Source

It's okay to modify your doodle later, as I did above. There are no rules as long as you don't censor your subconscious mind. You'll want to get that first impression of hidden feelings. After that, you're free to go wild and do anything you want with your creations.

Adding Conscious Additions

After you draw your doodle without censoring yourself, you are now allowed to consciously play with it.

When you think you're done, look it over from every angle. Now it gets interesting. You're going to let your conscious mind get involved a little.

While you look at your doodle with the extra awareness of your conscious mind, meaningful ideas develop from your thoughts. Feel free to continue drawing what your subconscious mind started.

Rotate your doodle and view it sideways, and upside down. When you view it from a different angle you might see more in it that you didn't notice, something that can be developed further from what you started with.

Feel free to consciously add whatever extra that you feel like doing to complete your drawing. You're working on a conscious level now. That's okay. The subconscious part of the work is done.


Those circular strokes in the doodle below were my ways of letting my mind go free with unconscious twirls of the pen. Later I consciously completed it by adding eyes and filling it in with a little color.

Letting the mind go free.
Letting the mind go free. | Source

Doodles Change Over Time

When you doodle over many years of you life, you may discover interesting changes that occur with your style of drawing. As you go through various stages of your life, different patterns emerge through your doodles.

I discovered that my doodles had changed drastically over time. There was a time in my life when they all seemed to be faces. Then there was another period when all I ended up drawing were meaningless squiggles. At least they seemed meaningless, but I knew that my subconscious mind was trying to communicate something to me.

Looking back on those doodles years later, I realized I was going through a difficult time with a lot of confusion and uncertainty. That's what was portrayed in my doodles of that period with lots of odd shapes and designs.


Even with the meaningless shapes, as in the following example, there still was a sign of order and structure. I didn't realize it then, but it became clear when I analyzed these doodles years later, I was trying to hold onto sanity in my mind.

A doodle with a sign of order and structure.
A doodle with a sign of order and structure. | Source

Save Your Artwork for Future Review

Your doodles are precious. Looking back at them later in life may bring some unknown thoughts to the surface that would have forever been lost. They provide a visual way to reflect on your past.

Maybe you’ve made doodles before and never knew what talent you had. What did you do? Did you throw away all that fine art whenever you doodled while talking on the phone or while listening to a lecture in school?

A nice way to save your artwork is to doodle in sketch books or drawing pads. You’ll be more motivated to save what you had created and you’ll be pleased when you find it years later. That’s what I did. I saved what I created early in my life and I’m glad I did. They are meaningful to look at later in life.

By looking at your old artwork, you may also see and understand something about yourself with a different attitude that you have later in life.

Additional Thoughts on Doodles

Doodling is a great stress reliever. It can be enjoyable. It lets your inner child speak to you. It’s definitely something you should try, especially if you want to open up communication with your subconscious mind.

There are many ways to do it. As I mentioned earlier, you can use color if you wish, or keep things simple with black and white by just using a pen or a pencil. Some of my doodles were just pen strokes, as I'm sure you've noticed.

Amazon sells a lot of art supplies, drawing pads, art journals, and all kinds of color pen sets. You can also check out your local art supply or crafts store. Who knows, you might be inclined to get a huge canvas and create something big from your subconscious.

Your feelings and emotions are always portrayed in your doodles when you let your subconscious mind communicate in this way. You may even get more in touch with your feelings.

In addition to all these benefits, you may also discover a way to let your inner child speak to you by visualizing what's hidden deep within your lost thoughts.

Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Glenn Stok

    Reader Comments

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      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Anusha Jain - It definitely initiates an alternative way to communicate with your subconscious mind. You may find hidden thoughts come out through your doodles.

      • anusha15 profile image

        Anusha Jain 

        2 years ago from Delhi, India

        I enjoyed this read a lot. The relationship between the conscious and the subconscious mind is as complex as the working of the conscious mind itself. The way they communicate, and all the lack of communication too, the way they overlap and all the staying away from each other is a tad too interesting. I am definitely going to try this, although, I am not sure whether will I be able to make sense of whatever I create. Maybe this will a full-fledged profession in future? Just like Understanding Meanings of Dreams. :)

        Great post.

      • SakinaNasir53 profile image

        Sakina Nasir 

        3 years ago from Kuwait

        Great! Thanks for sharing this with me Glenn! ☺

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        SakinaNasir53 - Here's an idea — you can upload your doodles to Zazzle and make money selling coffee mugs and other items with your doodles. People like flowers.

      • SakinaNasir53 profile image

        Sakina Nasir 

        3 years ago from Kuwait

        Lovely article! I have never doodled seriously before, but sometimes I just make flowers unconsciously on some book or paper to relax. I will surely try doodling with my unconscious mind and see what results I come up with! ☺

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        6 years ago from Long Island, NY

        watergeek - That's good that you saved your doodles. They must bring back a lot of memories when you look at them. Maybe Julia's book will inspire you to do more. It's precious to keep our creations.

      • watergeek profile image

        Susette Horspool 

        7 years ago from Pasadena CA

        Glenn - This reminds me of a book I worked with for awhile called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. She has the reader do the very things you mention above. I still have my doodles. It was pretty interesting.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        7 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Dan, give it a go and let me know what you get out of it. "Automatic Writing" -- Intriguing analogy.

      • Dan Barfield profile image

        Dan Barfield 

        7 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

        Cool idea - this makes me think of automatic writing. I may have to have a go at this and see what happens :)

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        7 years ago from Long Island, NY


        I published it through Lulu so it's available via B&N and other online stores too, in addition to Amazon. I did the same with my relationship book. I do think that the type of doodles we make is a refection on something about us. Your circles and geometric shapes might mean that you are mathematically inclined. Your flowers may mean that you like nature. Thanks for the vote and all the other.

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        7 years ago from Western NC

        Wait, did you PUBLISH that Amazon doodle book? ROCK ON!! You're awesome and I love your doodles!! My sharpie doodle hub has motivated me to try other things and see what I can do. I'm so glad I saw this. I wonder what in the world all the flowers, circles and geometric shapes I draw mean. LOL. Time will tell, I think. Voted up, shared, tweeted and pinned.


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