fountain pen doodles jinhao

Doodling With Fountain Pens: Shapes Pattern

John BosleyHow To 10 Comments

The next pattern in my Doodling With Fountain Pens series is one that is fairly easy to draw, but has a few variations that are possible. I’m calling this one Shapes. If you’re ready, grab a pen and some paper and let’s get started!

Thoughts On This Pattern

If it seems familiar, it’s probably because I copied this pattern from the sidebar of the r/fountainpens subreddit. I find it’s a really fun little pattern to do with a bit of spare space in a planner or bullet journal, but also makes a great full-page spread.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes bullet journal version 1

Here’s one I did in my bullet journal

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes bullet journal 2

Here’s another from my bullet journal

How It’s Done

This pattern is very similar to the Circles pattern in my previous post. I think it is a little more difficult, though, as the straight lines tend to line up or overlap in strange ways that can make it tricky to draw.

I like to use a fine or medium nib for this pattern. Broad and stub nibs work, but due to the big line size I sometimes misjudge where to start or end my outlines and find that they end up touching. I like using both shading and sheening inks for this pattern.

You can work with any shapes you’d like, but I find that triangles, squares and pentagons tend to work best. Irregular shapes can work as well, but I’d recommend starting off with more simple shapes until you get a feel for the pattern.

To start, draw a straight line on your paper. You can use a straight edge if you want, just be careful of smearing wet ink when you remove it from your paper.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes smear

Moving your straight edge while the ink is wet can cause a smear

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes straight line

Here is your starting point

Once you have a line, draw your first shape, using the line as one side. Now expand that shape by drawing larger and larger “outlines”. I usually do 5-6 total lines per shape, counting my first center shape.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes first shape

Here’s my first shape in the pattern

Now you can move to a different point on the line and repeat the above process. The next shape can be the same as before or something different. It’s totally up to you.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes square

My next shape doesn’t touch the first shape

Once I have a few shapes on my line, I start adding in shapes above the line. Similar to how I did with the circles pattern, I like to have the shapes in this pattern close enough so that they intersect the initial shapes. You can also start some shapes far enough away so that they don’t intersect other shapes.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes start of new shape

My new shape starts floating above the line

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes touching

Watch out for lines that are parallel with other shapes

Continue drawing shapes to get some overlap in the pattern. Use your judgement on when to stop.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes almost finished

Here I’m done with drawing shapes

I like to fill in any closed spaces between the shapes with color. It’s definitely not required to make the doodle work, but I like the way it looks. I also sometimes like to fill in the center of each shape.

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes filled spaces

The spaces between shapes can be filled in

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes centers filled in

Sometimes I like to fill in the center of each shape


This pattern has a few variations that you can try out. Of course, this isn’t all of the possible variations you can do, so feel free to experiment and see what else you can come up with!

  • Start without a base line. Instead of starting with a base line to work off of, just start drawing shapes in the middle of your paper. This will give your doodle a different feel, but will play out the same way.
  • Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes no base line

    This version has no starting base line

  • Add variation to your outlines. Instead of faithfully following the outline of your first shape, add some zigs, zags, or squiggles in as you get further from the center.
  • Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes squiggles

    This version has squiggly lines

  • Round your corners. Change up the original pattern and use some rounded corners. You can still have sides to your shapes, so don’t draw circles, just round out your triangles and squares.
  • Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes rounded shapes

    This version has rounded shapes

Wrapping Up

This pattern is one of my favorite space fillers. Whenever I have some empty space in my bullet journal or just on a piece of paper, I draw a line and start drawing shapes. It is satisfying because it is somewhat self-contained and still looks great with just a few shapes. It also doesn’t take a lot of planning like some patterns. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

Fountain Pen Doodles Shapes j herbin bleu calanque

Comments 10

  1. Another great one. Just love this series and have started trying out a couple of your patterns in the emptier pages in my Hobonichi a6. Pure fun! Thanks again, John.

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  2. This is another great pattern John. And this series is my favorite of anything you’ve posted. Keep them coming please!

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  3. I love these doodle inspirations! When I looked at the email with the snapshot of your first example, I actually thought the pen was lying on top of a pile of really elegant confetti.

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