The Inertia

“I think coloring books are good, but for me the lines are the fun part,” says surf illustrator Jonas Claesson. “The coloring is just the finish, but it’s the lines that tell the story. I think people can say a lot with very few lines, which is very cool to me. When I’m drawing, it’s the only time I get into the zone. It’s like meditation.”

You’ve probably heard of the adult coloring book trend, but the artistic activity of surf doodling is arguably much better suited for ocean lovers. Forget about coloring between the lines, or even coloring in at all. The aim of a surf doodle is to capture outlines, patterns, and contours. This is why waves are the perfect subject.

“A lot of times when I draw the ocean, it’s the only time I stop looking at the clock or thinking about my to-do list,” says Jonas. “I get in the zone and it feels like the equivalent of meditation.” But Jonas’ doodles have been turned into posters, badges, and clothing. Why should the rest of us who aren’t professional artists try it?

The stress-busting benefits of coloring books have been proven to calm our amygdala, the part of the brain that controls our fight or flight response. However, the practice of doodling could make you even more zen-like because of it’s simplicity.

In the book Chilling Out: The Psychology of Relaxation, psychologist Christine Selby recommends drawing a continuous line across the page that curves and crosses itself many times as a technique to help people unwind. You don’t have to stop to swap colors so your concentration is never broken. It has the same benefits as free writing, a journaling technique in which you write out your feelings without lifting your pen from the paper.

Surf doodling can also help you remember the best wave of your life. According to a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, people who doodled while listening to a list of peoples’ names being read were able to remember 29 percent more of the information later.

Not convinced? You’ve got nothing to lose by trying it. If you need more inspiration, type “surf doodles” into Pinterest where some of the examples are hypnotic. You don’t even need to buy equipment. Just grab a pen and piece of paper and get after it!

See more of Jonas’ beautiful art by checking out his website and Instagram.


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