Yankee Doodle Came to Town

Happy Presidents’ Day! I’m a Yankee Doodler living in Brooklyn who has been spreading my doodles on napkins around the city. Since I was little, my mom would carry her large pocketbook filled with pens, markers, and crayons for her 11 children to occupy themselves at diners while we waited for our food. My siblings and I had many art war collaborative pieces. My flower would be attacked by my older brother’s monster drawing and thus, a doodle battle would begin. As a result, I have developed my monster doodles over the years. See below:


These early beginnings gave rise to a compulsion to draw on napkins at diners and cafes whenever I go. Diners and cafes are visited on the regular because I feel like it’s my job to try them all and use their napkins (plus, I get a break from doing my own dishes). Napkins make a nice unintimidating canvas and are free! One of the local diners has a waitress who always gives me extra napkins and some Earl Grey tea whenever I walk in the door because she knows the drill with me. Not all of my doodles are monsters…

Napkin January 2014 002

At times, I’ll leave my napkin doodle behind with unintended consequences. A few months ago, I went to Putnam’s Pub in Ft. Greene for brunch and one of the waitresses saved my napkin doodle after I left, hung it up for their patrons but, I was told it was stolen a week and a half later. When your doodles get stolen, then maybe you’re doing something right, I figure. I decided to start taking my camera along and documented my doodles each week. This became a thing. Several months later, I am here writing a blog about it. Here’s a post Valentine’s Day doodle while I was at Mega Bite’s Diner:

post valentine doodle 022

Not really sure who my audience will be but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only hit-and-run napkin doodler out there. If you are new to the concept of doodling, I highly recommend starting. If nothing else, it’s meditative and helps pass the time in a rather pleasant way. In this age of instant gratification, it helps to undertake an activity that encourages patience. This way everyone around you wins too! Doodling is not a terribly ambitious undertaking so I believe it relieves you of the pressure of being competitive while playing with ideas. Practice making your mistakes look pretty.

5 Pointz Remembered 029

However, there are those who feel that doodling can help you engage the brain and will actually offer doodling workshops. I can’t say that I completely disagree with that assessment on the effects of doodling but I am surprised that someone can learn to do something as unstructured and unconsciously done as doodling in a structured setting like a workshop. At the very least, it sounds like it supports creative free thinking which can’t be all that bad. If you’d like some support in the doodling arena, check out Sunni Brown, the author of a book called The Doodle Revolution. I haven’t read it yet but a friend of mine sent me a link to CBS News’ The Higher Purpose of Doodling. I found it to be of some interest and it gave validation in my doodling pursuits.

And here’s a napkin doodle when I was brunching it up at The General Greene. I don’t always use a Sharpie. I dig the micron archival pens too, as you can see here.

Napkin at General Greene 002

Finally, thanks for following and remember to always keep your markers handy!

Peace and happy doodling!

13 thoughts on “Yankee Doodle Came to Town

  1. Hello Mary! The english word “doodle” is new for me, since I’m a Spanish speaker. I always doodle (I guess this is the correct verb) when I’m making a phone call and people make me wait on the phone, but that all. Now, with your post I’m asking myself why not doodle more? Your doodles are very artistic. I thought the markers would be absorbed by the napkins excessively, but it looks really good. By the way, thanks for following my blog “Exploring the world: photography, travel, art”.
    Kind greetings,


    1. Thanks Marianne! And yeah, I really enjoy your blog and I am honored to be the one to introduce the word “doodle” into your vernacular. I really think doodling, drawing without any plan, makes a person very present. You stop thinking about the past or future. You are simply being and I find that extremely calming. Also, I’m usually surprised by what my drawing turns out to look like. So, welcome and, yes, continue doodling!


  2. Hi Mary, I enjoyed browsing your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine and giving me a little nudge to try this art again. Your napkin canvas idea has lots of value, like you said. Maybe my mistake was using paper. LOL. Peace and keep the Marcal flowing. 🙂


    1. Thanks for checking it out and it really makes me feel good to know that you’re going to keep at the artwork. I think it would be really cool if you did a bit of napkin art for your local diner. We can start a napkin doodle movement!


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