The Doodle Test

Yoshiko croppedRecently I attended an introductory workshop on graphology given by my friend Yoshiko Inagaki. Yoshiko is one of the nation’s top graphologists and is also a certified life coach. She has examined more than 1,000 handwriting samples for Fortune 100 companies and individual clients, and in her life coaching practice she uses handwriting analysis to help her clients achieve deeper self-awareness.

One of the activities during the seminar was the Doodle Test, which I found fascinating. For graphologists, doodles have meaning. They are “like the  brain’s DNA,” says Andrea NcNichols. “They can unlock great insights into yourself and those around you.” For example, arrows can mean that the doodler is ambitious; cubes, which are quite common, suggest that the person is looking at the picture from all angles. One who draws houses may be yearning for a strong emotional center. Meaningless scratches indicate that the doodler feels directionless. Weapons are bad news. See other warning signs at “What your doodles say about you” at

Yoshiko explained that the test is a serious psychological analysis tool that has been administered to thousands of people. It consists of two preprinted sheets of paper with six squares on each sheet. Each square (with one exception) has one or more lines already drawn inside it. The test-taker is told to draw doodles that elaborate on the starting lines already provided. We learned afterwards that the doodles in each of the twelve squares represent how we  see some aspect of our lives–for example, home, parents, friends, sexuality, and so on. A few days ago Yoshiko honored me with an hour of her time to talk about her interpretation of the second part of my test.

In general, my doodles tended to be abstract, she said, suggesting that I’m comfortable with abstract thinking and don’t feel the need to have everything spelled out for me. She also saw that several of my squares reflected a strong creative side – a tendency to do things differently or march to a different drummer. Her conclusion fits with the description of my Enneagram type, which is Four. When it came to the square that shows an empty tic-tac-toe grid, I took my creativity to the extreme. Doodle tic-tac-toe smallThis doodle was supposed to reflect my attitude toward competition. Yoshiko was looking for choices of X’s and O’s and the patterns they formed. Instead, I filled all the cells with smiley faces. She took this to mean that I am independent and create my own rules. By not playing the game, at a deeper level, I’m rejecting the “duality-based mentality of this society that automatically creates the dynamic of the win-lose proposition.” While I like to win, I don’t want it to be at the expense of others. Life is about cooperation. She added: “By making everyone appear identical – and a with a smile – there’s a sense of happiness in oneness.”

Another interesting square had a hair-like arc in the center. I chose to draw a girl’s head below it and a hat covered in fancy curlicues on her head. Yoshiko told me that doodles in this square correspond to my social self-image. She thought the hat might be a jeweled tiara Doodle tiaraand the thought balloon, my thoughts about the future of the book I have just published. We decided that the doodle reflects my positive feelings in relation to my growing readership and the rewarding feedback I have been receiving about the book .

The test was a very interesting experience for me. I learned a lot about myself, and a couple of the doodles (not reported here) clearly pointed to some deep psychological issues. In those cases, Yoshiko guided me through them gently and helped me to not over-interpret what they meant.

Yoshiko will be celebrating National Handwriting Day this coming January 23 with a repeat of her workshop. For more information, you can contact her at


Filed under General, Personality

2 Responses to The Doodle Test

  1. This is fascinating! I’m a champion doodler…going to check out the link you included right now!

  2. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the art of handwriting analysis, otherwise known as graphology, you’ve come to the right place.
    I’ll go over the tricks and techniques on how to use it. Plus, I’ll add a few interesting anecdotes as I find them.
    Have fun, and keep an open mind!