What grabbed your attention first — the image above or the big chunk of text below?
Odds are, the image grabbed your eye first. It's probably the main reason you're reading the text in the first place!So go back to the image for a minute.Really look at it. READ it.
Now, read the paragraph below:
Visual thinking makes complex information simple, brings clarity to confusing communication, makes the common unique, turns the passive into the active and apathy into interest. With visual thinking, the clumsy becomes elegant, the impersonal becomes personal, the dry becomes juicy, "Yes, but..." is replaced with "Yes, and...", trial and error turns to trial and learn, the cold becomes warm, and the separate become unified.
That paragraph and the accompanying image say the same thing!Most people find the information easier to absorb through the image than the paragraph.They're able to absorb that information faster and remember it longer. And, it's a lot more fun!
Check out One Squiggly Line'sAbout Visual Thinking page to learn more.
One Squiggly Line Blog
Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!
There's a myth out there that highly creative people just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. Like a great big lightening bolt from the sky. Or a soft whisper from a mystical muse.
Truth is, creativity is not quite so passive. It is an active process. And there's a science to it, not just an art. There are even formulas, methods, and procedures for generating ideas and, equally importantly, evaluating them.
One classic way to create something new is to combine two things. Take the markers above, for example. Nothing new about a round tip marker. Or a brush tip marker. But when you put them both in one pen, you end up with a whole new product!
Learn More About Visual Thinking
There's so much more to visual thinking than doodles and diagrams! While physical drawings are a great way to help you think and communicate more clearly, there's a lot happening in that brain of yours before you even pick up a marker. The ability to see things clearly with your mind's eye, your imagination, is where it all begins.
To strengthen your visual thinking skills and boost your creativity,look at the picture above. Really study it for a few minutes. Pay close attention to the details, not just the overall image. Then, close your eyes and form a really clear picture in your head of the picture you were just looking at. Describe it out loud as accurately and thoroughly as possible, including as many details as you can.
To take it a step further, when you open your eyes, draw the image you just described. If you get stuck, close your eyes and try to see the image of the original drawing in your head instead of going back to the original picture.
You can do this alone or with a partner. Just remember the goal is to see the image as clearly and accurately as possible.No judging!
This exercise not only strengthens your visual thinking abilities and boosts your creativity, it also increases your observational skills, gives your memory quite a work out, and makes you a bit more articulate, too!
Check out One Squiggly Line'sAbout Visual Thinking pageto learn more!
Many people don't consider themselves creative because they can’t “draw” or “paint”.
The reality is that creativity can take on a variety of forms - many forms beyond the physical realm. In fact, creativity starts and is born from our internal world. Our goal is to figure out which medium best portrays our personal creativity.
Thus, we must make sure we cultivate an environment that is conducive to creativity. But how do we do that? How do we know what that environment looks like? Isn’t it different for everyone?
The first step, and the most important step, is to become more familiar with ourselves.
We must be able to recognize the types of things that stir our heart, set our soul on fire, and make us come alive. Because once we recognize them, then we can begin to replicate them.
And the only way to find out is by trying out a variety of different things, as creativity demands quantity.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Learn More About Visual Thinking
“Live deeply. Never let a moment go by where you’re not fully embracing the time you’ve been given. Be passionate. Don’t let anyone you encounter leave the same way. Talk deeply, talk real. Time is limited - Make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Absorb the beauty in everything. Cry. Laugh. Dance in the rain. Kiss passionately. Don’t lock your voice in your mind-speak. Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it. Love. Love life. Love everyone. Appreciate everything you’ve been given. Don’t become upset with what you don’t have. Don’t rely on materials. Sleep. Drink plenty of water. Take little adventures. Run outside. Go hiking. Go for a walk. Go fishing. Sleep under the stars. Be deep. Express your love. Be thankful. Be fully present. Always show appreciation for everything. Stay present and mindful. Absorb the experiences that will one day leave you with a burning memory in the back of your mind. Eat healthy. Treat your body right. Forgive. Be selfless. Don’t care too much about appearance. Be honest.”
By: Meredith Illig
Learn more about Visual Thinking
Take a cold shower
This will likely be an unfamiliar experience, allowing you to create new neural connections.
Make a new meal without a recipe
This will force you to be comfortable without all of the answers in front of you
Try a new hairstyle
A new change could inspire you!
Create a new outfit that you’ve never worn before
Mixing and matching will help you form new styles. A new outfit can give you a new vibe, which can inspire confidence.
Journal about your day
This reflection time will allow you to absorb what you’ve learned throughout the day. Journaling will also allow you to look back on old memories and see patterns in your life.
Take a new route that you haven’t taken before
This will give you a new perspective. This will take you out of auto-pilot mode, and force you to think in different ways.
Rearrange your room or living space
This can create a fresh environment and get you out of a routine feeling
Ask more questions
The more curious you are, the more you will learn.
Limit or eliminate social media for a day
You can use the extra time gained from eliminating social media to be more productive. You can spend this time in silence. It will likely be an unfamiliar experience.
Exercise your body and mind
Whether working out, doing yoga or meditating, this will allow your body and mind to relax and take a break from life.
Giving your mind a break allows creative ideas to flow naturally.
I took an Uber home today and the driver dropped me off at a location near my apartment that I’m not used to getting dropped off at. Initially I was a bit frustrated because I had to walk a couple yards further than normal.
But, as I was walking, I started to appreciate it because it gave me a new perspective that I needed at the time. It was mid-week, and I had been going through my same routine without too much thought - wake up, go to work, go home, etc. This small instance changed my mindset for a moment and bumped me out of my normal routine. The scenery had changed, and I saw my apartment from a new perspective which I hadn’t seen before.
This brought me back to when I first moved here. To my mindset, and to the excitement I had. I felt different, as if I adopted a new pair of lenses. My day felt different from the other ones, and it got me thinking that I need to break more patterns.
So I decided to go to the gym. I also sat on the bench at my apartment, peacefully enjoying nature. And I prayed for the first time in awhile.
I decided to break up my usual routine, and instead fill it with new perspectives.
It was refreshing.
I didn’t feel so robotic. I felt alive.
It’s important to change our routines from time to time. New perspectives bring forth creative thinking patterns.
If we stay on the same path everyday, chances are we’ll tend to have the same thoughts as we’ve always had. If we don’t evaluate our lives on a regular basis, we can easily fall into the trap of forming habits that are not conducive to a creative life.
We must evaluate and edit our lives on a frequent basis.
“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.”
bring visual thinking to your next project or event
“Art is not limited to what one can create with their hands - that is far from art. Art is taking an idea, an experience, an encounter or a thought, and making it somehow visible. This visible form can come in the way one dresses, sings, writes, shops, speaks, or listens to music.”
Learn more about visual thinking
While visual thinking makes things simple, it certainly does not dumb them down. Part of the simplicity comes from removing unnecessary parts, leaving behind only what you need to work with. That allows you to really see exactly what it is you do have to work with. This often leads to that, "Oh, now I get it!" moment when everything finally seems to fall into place and make sense.
Once you can see things more clearly, you are able to make better decisions. Sometimes, things become so obvious it doesn't even really feel like you're making a decision at all. The right choice just jumps right at you. Or if you do need to think about it for a minute, it's much easier for you to grab it and run with it.
Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.
Hand-drawn visuals are far friendlier than standardized fonts and stock photos. And hand-drawn visuals are even more inviting when created live, right there where everyone can see.
The drawing above was created during the opening remarks at the Women in Cyber Security conference the end of March. It was then displayed near registration to welcome late-comers. Not a high resolution file shown here, just taken with my iPhone in the moment.
To see the whole set of visual notes from the Women in Cyber Security conference, check out this Flickr album.