Novel idea: Doodling with a pen on paper… instead of an iPad

Aug 16, 2020 · 2 min read
Uniball 207 0.7mm (top) and Pilot ultra fine point 0.38 (bottom)

Most of my blog posts here are related to the doodle-a-day project (which is really an evening project) I started on January 1, 2017 when I finally started using the Apple Pencil, purchased in 2016, “for something”. It had literally been just sitting around discharging its battery for the months that preceded the project. The vast majority of the doodles were done using an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and the amazing Procreate drawing app. However, Tayasui Sketches Pro, Infinite Painter, Art Set 4, Zen Brush 2, and Adobe Sketchbook have also been used on a variety of other touch screen devices such as an iPad mini, Chromebooks, and even an Windows 10 based HP notebook.

Something odd happened shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S. and tele-work became the norm for me— I started taking notes during meetings (video conference calls, of course) using a pen and a hard bound blank notebook that I happened to have lying around my home. As the number of daily video conference calls grew more numerous (nine yesterday — Friday), I found myself doodling in the margins or the empty left hand (back side of the paper) page. Some of the doodles were diagrams. But, still doodles, nonetheless. There is something very… not sure what the right descriptive word is… about using a conventional pen on a piece of paper. Comforting? Relaxing? Familiar? Natural? “Simpler” for certain.

I have an excellent note taking app on my iPad named Notability. It works reasonably well with the Apple Pencil. And, it has the advantage of having undo, multiple colors, the ability to include photos, searching, storing a backup safely, and many other features. And, I could even doodle in the margins of its digital notes pages. But, the more I used a plain old pen and paper combo the more I enjoy it.

It has been interesting doodling on paper “without a net” — no undo, no resizing, no cut and paste, no multiple layers, no initial “structure doodle” that can be hidden if I decide to “clean up” a doodle. Quite frankly, it is old school doodling — natural doodling, if you like. It has been an unexpected, but positive, development for me during this pandemic.


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