15 May 2024

The making of Dr Scribble

How did you come up with your Giggle Doctor name, and what does it mean to you? 

As soon as I became a Trainee Giggle Doctor I started brainstorming ideas, I had a notepad that I wrote ideas in. At first just words that I liked or thought sounded funny or had an element of fun in them. I had words like Doodad, Hopscotch, Goofball etc. Once I’d done some hospital shifts and had successes with certain activities with children, I began to think of that as the framework, so a word that matched the skills I use frequently.

For me there were two; circus tricks like juggling, and drawing. For circus I thought of names like Dr Bigtop or Dr Carnival. For drawing, I was immediately into names like Doodle Smudge and Smiggle (a popular stationary shop for kids), but really, Scribble stood out above the rest and I was most confident in. So during my training I used it and never looked back!

Photo taken by Sheffield Children’s Hospital

What did you envision your coat would look like? How did the planning and designing process go to bring your final coat to reality?   

Early on I knew I wanted to have a black and white theme which is different to the usual colourful Giggle Doctor coats. I’d recently designed my office around the 1920s/1930s early cartoon style drawings, and I felt that was very striking and unique. 

Cartoons are a big passion for me, I love them, all, and when I think about my Giggle Doctor character/style, I often think about it as being a cartoon. They have this larger than life, exaggerated, funny or fun vibe that I’m trying to put across. I like the idea of walking into a hospital room and being like a cartoon character presence for the children. 

I also like how due to the simplistic nature of cartoon characters, children can project whatever they want onto them, as their imagination plays a huge role.

Another reason I was drawn to the black and white theme because I wanted to be as blank of a canvas as possible. If I’m all black and white and someone says their favourite colour is pink – well, mine too! If I had chosen a red outfit, I’d probably have to say red….but with a blank canvas comes the freedom to be who the children would want. 

I began working on a plan after my initial meeting with Lydia the Giggle Doctor coat seamstress, and I sketched out what I wanted. I drew a frame so that I could fit drawings from kids in, I gathered doodles from my closest friends and family, and a bunch of my own, placed them thoughtfully around the coat. Added outlines to my coat for definition for when I pose or do things.

How would you describe Lydia’s process and working with her?

Working with her was a breeze, it was so easy and straight forward. For me it felt so simple as I came in with a strong idea of what I had in mind. She immediately praised it and loved the concepts, and it was easy to convey to her what was most important to me and why. We ended up coming up with a final design I felt was perfect, I had no objections to her suggestions or fabric choice ideas. After the meeting I was immediately excited to get my coat. It felt like because I knew what my vision was she respected that and was ready to make my dream coat come true!

What do you think about your coat now that you have been able to go onto the wards with it? What are some fun details you included in the designs?

I ADORE! my coat. Very very much. Its so impactful, I love how contrasting it is to everyone else’s coat too, my whole outfit and shoes are also black and white so standing next to someone colourful like Dr Teapot or Dr Cowpat, we look very different and it’s great.

Kids love the weird doodles I’m covered in, some of them are rhyming drawings, so a ghost eating toast or a fox in socks, so it’s fun to say, and there’s alliteration too, a shoulder spider, a bunny boat. They all have fun parts. I have a drawing of a crocodile and I often make a crocodile balloon for people. My pen pot pocket is full of pens and looks great, kids always notice it and I think it sets the scene that I love drawing really well for them.

The best bit is the picture frame pocket though, kids love getting to add a drawing to my coat and mostly they choose to draw me! Which I think just goes to show how cool I look when I walk into a room!

The Magic Giggle Doctor Coat Maker

If you enjoyed reading about Dr Scribble’s Giggle Doctor coat story, why not read about Lydia and her team who have been creating Giggle Doctor coats and outfits for 30 years!

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