Sanjeev Kotnala: Doodling to Signature Art

13 May,2020

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I am revisiting a subject I wrote about a few years back. An involuntary action that helps me focus. I am talking about doodling. To be honest, in the last five years in doodling, I have moved from purely an involuntary act to a controlled well-directed effort, and at times even purpose-led.


I have been doodling, creating these supposing unrelated nomadic patterns while participating and concentrating on discussions and presentations. Some of the designs are dominated by what are called Zentangles. The patterns seek inspiration from many sources like minakari work of Rajasthan, Batik work of Gujarat, tiles and designs at iconic heritage sites and even the bunching of leaves. However, all are purely an impression of bliss and love.



Doodling defined as ‘the act of drawing pictures and patterns while thinking about something else’ is a distinct free-flowing art form.

The audience marvel at the unrelated designs creating a cosmic pattern. They see doodle evolve and wonder at the simple complexities that a doodler must lay with.

The doodler on the other side is always ignorant of development, totally dedicated and engrossed in the pattern reveals a different image before the eyes, the doodler just concentrates and enjoys the moment. At some stage, instead of playing wax, I will experiment with free inhibited doodling as the ice breaker and thinking initiator in my Brand-I sessions.

Doodling is simple and needs hardly any tools. A piece of paper, some pen and pencils, that’s it. Now within these people may have different likings. Like, I love using Uniball Signo ( 0.5 or 0.7), UniBall Air, Link Glycer or the Flair carbonix gel pens. I am still to experiment with Pigma Micron pens which are supposed to be best suited for doodling. I usually like doing a single colour doodle but am not averse to using multiple colours.

Once completed, the doodler forgets the doodle. The chapter is usually closed and if asked the doodler will most likely not hesitate to part with the creation.



Way back, during my corporate avatar, my colleagues used to say, ‘If Kotnala is not doodling, he is not concentrating’. It was not just a perception but reality. It opened up multiple immersive possibilities for me. I could do the most complex doodle and yet concentrate and contribute to the ongoing discussion.  Try it.

I need no research and science to tell me that doodling really improves concentration. You have to be in a zone to really doodle. Nowadays, I rarely end up being in a zone to do a doodle. I have lost the fun part of it, and I want to regain it.

Now, the new way of doodling is an escape with a piece of paper. Concentrate and draw patterns not for the flow of it but for the impact, design and beauty of it.

The patterns are still impulsive. They are not pre-conceived. The inspiration sources include Mandala, Wahi, Saura and Dhokra style, Pyramids. Maya architecture to empty streets and the shape of coronavirus. However, the need for wow and appreciation of the final effort is pushing it towards a measured geometric design. It is becoming a bit industrialised in my framework and that is completely wrong.



Here is the latest doodle flowing with complete mindlessness once the basic forms and foundation was completed. Yet, it loses the simplicity with a lot more geometric patterns fighting for impact and dominance. A result of heavy deliberations, something that does not helps create a doodle.


Doodle has to be a kid of four years, completely unhesitatingly curious, a river in the mountain totally unpredictable, the dance of a peacock, unintimidated and yet purposeful, the sensuous flight of a eagle and the hypnotic walk of a village damsel. Once directional efforts find their way into the simple art of doodle, it dies. I want to experiment and evolve it for the fun it always been.



Serious experimenting while doodling and use of symbolic patterns gave birth to something unique. The Signature Art, not to be confused with the signature on art.


Every signature art piece is unique. Signature art as it says, uses signature as the foundation and channel guidelines for the patterns. They grow randomly around the signature to reflect unique references to the personality and life of the signatory. These life infusing patterns are so susceptible to the doodler mood and style that the same signature used as a foundation may not even give shape to a similar output. patterns infuse life .


Some of the signature art pieces and doodles I created are displayed on the walls at home and offices of close business associate.



I am planning to create a few Signature art pieces before lockdown 4.0 is over. The collection will go as donation to an NGO taking care of stray dogs.


The signature art being unique is a brilliant gift too. You can get your signature art in any language. At the end the signature is just being the foundation.


To send in your request write in the comment box or write to me.


All you need to give me, is a high resolution image of your signature. For it, just sign as large as possible on an A4 size white paper using a thin-tipped sketch/ink/gel pen in black colour. Shoot the image using your smart phone and send it to me.


The donation is accepted by bank transfer or Paytm. The minimum donation for a black and white half A4is is INR 750 and INR 1250 for a Signature art in colour.


Once your signature art is done, I will scan I send you the image. In case you want the original hard copy, you will have to additional pay for the courier charges.



This reflection initiated on reading, ‘Mindless doodling during meetings may actually be mindful’, in HR Katha. And sincerely, I endorse it.


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