EXPERTS say that nine out of ten people are doodlers, so the chances are that you, too, make squiggly little drawings from time to time.

Even if you simply underline or circle words, you are a doodler. In fact, those who merely outline or decorate their own names are revealing a lot - they're egomaniacs!

No doubt about it, your scribbles tell much more about you than you might imagine. Top psychiatrists and art therapists believe that, next to dreaming, your "meaningless scribbles" can be a vital key to untangling the depths of your unconscious mind.

"It you think that all those loops, lines, circles, squares and zig-zags you draw when you're on the phone or at a meeting are merely the products of a bored mind, you're so wrong," says leading American art psychotherapist Nancy Nelson, who, along with Alice Landry, compiled The Doodle Dictionary.

"Those scribbles are telling you something about hidden desires, fantasies, fears, or even the way you cope with life in general. Doodles and drawings have been used by many psychotherapists to help their clients understand unconscious feelings."

Nancy confirms that it is important to note just how you draw your doodles. Are you heavy-handed, for instance? Or do you prefer lightly drawn lines? Here are a few interpretations:

Heavy lines: This can mean you are forceful and aggressive, and even uptight.

Light lines: Could mean you are a hesitant, indecisive, shy person, or someone who is flexible and adaptable.

Horizontal lines: A sign you are more feminine and self protective. Vertical lines: Chances are you are masculine and assertive.

Large doodles: As you might expect, they are usually the sign of a show-off who, possibly, might also be trying to hide an inferiority complex. Small doodles: Unusually small scribbles may mean you are depressed or feel inadequate.

Circle: You enjoy being alone, and you sometimes feel like cutting off the outside world and retreating into a shell of isolation where no-one can intrude.

Square: If you draw a simple square, you are very practical - a down-to-earth realist.

Squares inside squares: You are a self-starter, totally dependable, the person others rely on whenever there's work to be done or a problem to be solved.

Squares with criss-crossing

or diagonal lines: You are gifted with the ability to cope with life's complexities and know how to handle them very effectively.

Arrows: These show you have tremendous drive, determination and energy, and you have an open, candid nature.

Cube (or other three-dimensional form): You have a probing, logical mind, and you like to get to the bottom of things.

Ladders or steps: You have a strong desire to move up in the world. Ladders particularly indicate a tremendous ambition to reach the top of your field.

Shaded dots: You are a deep thinker, with a restless, inquiring mind.

Spider webs: You are always seeking ways to broaden your horizons and improve yourself.

Apple: Is often the sign of a wise and loving doodler. If you draw an apple being eaten, you may have a large sexual appetite, but a row of apples might mean that you are deceitful.

Clock: If it is a clock face with numbers but no hands, you may be conscious of wasting time a lot. Hands but no numbers means you don't want to know what time it is because you are concerned with the passage of time.

Eyes: Small eyes denote you are self-absorbed, even a little hostile. Large ones can mean you are suspicious or hyper-sensitive.

Hearts: Hearts pierced by arrows show a contrite lover. A broken heart means exactly that. Two hearts linked shows you feel sympathetic. Hearts within hearts show you need to express affection to yourself and others.

Palm tree: You may feel isolated, lonely or have a need to escape. Rectangle: Less popular than squares and circles, you could do this when you are feeling rational and secure. But if heavily shaded, you could be worried about security or your state of mind.

Triangle: You are probably feeling powerful or restless. Upward-pointed ones mean you are a high achiever and need to be on the go. Downward-pointed ones show you are more passive and less ambitious.

l Celebrities including Elton John, the Duchess of York, Terry Wogan and Joanna Lumley have produced doodles for National Doodle Day. To take part, buy a £1 doodle card from a Lloyds pharmacy and sent it to the address given.