Friday, 18 June 2010

Doodle Power: scribbling your way into awareness

As this is my first ever post I will start with a brief introduction. I have just graduated from UEA studying environmental science and alongside my studies I am an active member of TN, involved in everything from carbon conversations groups to organising the reskilling sessions - more on them in the future I am sure.

But today I would like to talk to you about doodling.

It all started in May with a monthly challenge in the Otesha project newsletter (more about this on Sunday). They took their inspiration from this committed consumer's plan for cutting down ( and challenged everyone to draw everything that they bought for a month - everything from rent to bills to food shopping to underwear - draw it all!

Now being in the middle of exam revision this seemed like a brilliant opportunity for procrastination! So I decided to take up the challenge. These are some photos of my doodlings. I managed to keep it up for the whole month (and I'm still doing it) and it was a bit of revelation. Not only did it give me an excuse to unleash my creative side on a regular basis it was also very powerful to actually see on the page in front of me everything that I had bought. I am tempted to make excuses about the amount of snacks and alcohol on there being down to exam stress - which they are! - and all the bicycle equipment this month being necessary for my epic adventure this summer (update on Sunday), but I've realised that this isn't really the point! I can justify my consumption anyway I want, but until I can look at my doodles of a month's purchases and not feel slightly disturbed by what is on there I can't fool myself into believing that I'm happy with it and don't want to change it.

There are some drawbacks. I felt a bit like cheating to ignore all of the things that I 'consumed' but didnt pay money for, whether exchanged or given to me etc - but including those starts to get complicated so it is a useful beginning. And it can be quite challenging to work out how to draw some things, but I like a challenge.

I have found this process of drawing everything I buy actually helps me to change my consumption as well making me aware of it (it is truly a wonderous thing!), as it makes me reflect on every purchase that I have made and whether I would go about it differently next time. So having extolled its virtues I now challenge you to try drawing all that you spend money on for a month and see what you discover - drawing ability irrelevant as you don't have to show it to anyone!

The results of the Otesha challenge can be perused here (


  1. Smashing post, Kerry. What a great idea to capture all that shopping as drawings - much more revealing than just lists. And I love those notes that go with the drawings!

    All the best - Jane

  2. Hi Kerry, welcome to the blog. Drawing your shopping is a great idea, and I love your pics too.