One of the best tips for doodling I learned a couple of years ago was during a session led by author Matt Miller who was building upon some ideas shared by author Mike Rohde. The idea is that you can take the most basic shape and turn it into other things with very simple transformations. And, you can define that thing based on what is near it.
For example, take this shape. Let’s call it a triangle. Add one thing to it, and now it’s a tree. Turn it upside down and it becomes a spinning top.
If you add one more element — the object’s position — you can make a slightly transformed object have even more meaning.
Let’s take a circle. It could represent a lot of things just by itself: a planet, a plate, a hula hoop, and so on. Let’s add one line to it. Now what is it? A lollipop? A sign? We can better define it by what is near it. If I add a ground — it becomes more defined as a sign. If I add a face nearby, then it might be a lollipop.
You can try now! Here is a chevron. What will you turn it into?