National Doodle Day: Terry Jones, Esther Rantzen and Glenda Jackson draw snapshots of their subconscious minds
Scribbling incoherent sketches when you should be devoting full attention to the matter in hand is something most of us will have been guilty of at some point in our lives.
Doodling is the perennial pastime of the daydreaming child in the classroom – not to mention the grown-up who should know better in the boardroom.
But across the country today the doodle is being enthusiastically encouraged and should even make some money for charity.
As part of National Doodle Day, a host of famous faces have donated their very own doodles for auction on eBay with all the money raised going to charity Epilepsy Action.
Among the famous doodlers to have contributed to the auction are the late Kentish Town actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, Hampstead comedian David Baddiel and actress Denise Van Outen, another Hampstead resident.
Monty Python star Terry Jones, 72, who lives in Highgate, donated a humorous doodle of a naked man trying desperately to preserve some dignity.
In line with the theory that doodles are unconscious drawings made while a person is otherwise occupied, Mr Jones believes his doodle, which he cannot remember drawing, is probably inspired by a childhood “fear of nakedness”.
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He told the Ham&High: “I don’t remember doing it. It sounds like one of my doodles. I only doodle when I’m asked to.
“I did a sketch in Python about changing on the beach which was based on my fears as a child. I was very coy and I’m now not at all coy!”
Broadcaster Esther Rantzen, 73, another Hampstead resident to have donated a doodle, believes her drawing of a cow grazing in a field says a lot about her state of mind at the time.
“That’s one of my favourite doodles,” she said. “In my life I have seen many cows and, in fact, I worked with a few – and I mean two-legged ones.
“When I was at school, I perfected certain doodles and when I was in an irritable state of mind I would draw things like crocodiles, but when I was feeling happy and contented, I would draw cows and roses.
“I may not be listening to what you’re saying but I’m in a very contented mood.”
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson, 77, produced a particularly incomprehensible doodle for the auction which she could not recall when contacted by the Ham&High.
“My favourite doodle usually is three swans, because they’re easy,” she said. “I can’t remember [this one]. I don’t do it unless I’m asked to do it.”
Graphologist Ruth Rostron, 68, an expert on doodling, said the celebrity doodles were “autographed drawings” rather than proper doodles as “the nature of a doodle is that you do it while you’re thinking about something else”.
But she said the drawings still said intriguing things about their authors.
Ms Rantzen’s cow has “very pointed hooves” indicating Ms Rantzen is a “sharp cookie”, according to Ms Rostron, while Mr Jones’s naked man has a “massive head in comparison to his body which shows he feels much more confident in his brain than in his body”.
Ms Rostron said that the swirls in Ms Jackson’s doodle represented her “emotional side”.
For more information about National Doodle Day and the celebrity auction, visit nationaldoodleday.org.uk.