One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Creativity: Creative Combinations

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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!

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Visual Thinking: Simple is Powerful

Friendly hand-drawn visuals can breathe new life into an old message. The topic of New Year's resolutions has been covered time and time again. So much so that people stop really paying attention to it. In effect, it becomes invisible. 

 

When that happens, a new approach is needed. Something to break the pattern and grab people's eye. No need to make it fancy or complex. Simple can be very powerful. Plus, when you keep things simple, they're less scary so you're more likely to follow through.

 Bring Visual Thinking To Your Next Project Or Event

Creativity: You ARE Creative

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?

Yes.
 

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.”

-Howard Thurman

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Creativity: 10 Ways to Shake Things Up!

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  • 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.

    Hire me to shake things up for you!

Visual Thinking & Creativity; Visualize it richly & colorfully

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Visualizing things richly and colorfully leads to more creative thinking. You probably visualize things more than you realize, without really thinking about it. So you already have some visual thinking skills. But how do you become better at visualizing things on purpose?
Try this:

Go to a hardware store or someplace that sells paint. First, pick a paint sample color card that matches your shirt. That's a warm-up, starting with something very concrete and right in front of you — your shirt.

Then, look for a paint sample color card that matches something at home. It could be a different shirt, a piece of furniture, your walls. Whatever you choose, you will need to picture it very clearly in your mind so you can "see" the color.

Paint sample cards are usually free, so you can take home the ones you think are the closest and see how well you did. The more you practice, the better you get!

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking: Visual Biography

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Abstract ideas can be fascinating, but our brains really prefer things to be concrete. That way, it's much easier for the brain to make sense of them. And remember them.
A great way to make your own short bio more memorable and engaging is to make it visual! Mine is above. As you can see, the key facts are worked into my logo. That helps folks remember a bit about me when they look at my logo, wherever it is.

A visual biography can be much more powerful than a paragraph or two listing your accomplishments. So if you need to give a quick bio for a speaking engagement or whatever, make it visual!

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking & Creatvity: Make the common new

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We look at letters every day. Online. Text messages. Street signs. Starbuck's coffee cups. Letters are everywhere.
When we see things all the time, we often stop really looking at them. Common things can become invisible.

When that happens, it's a great time to get creative with them. That causes you to look at things in a new way. Explore them from a bunch of different perspectives. Really look at them. See them in a new light. That's where a lot of new ideas are often found — sitting there right in front of us, in plain sight!

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Timelines

Pictures are obviously a big part of visual thinking. So are words. But if you just throw a bunch of words and pictures on a page, you just end up with a mess. A visual mess that makes your thinking messy, too.
That's where organization comes in. It's the third essential component of successful visuals. It doesn't have to be fancy. In fact, it's often best to keep things really simple.

A timeline is a simple and effective way to visually organize information.The image above shows a simple timeline of the International Center for Studies in Creativity, where I got my master's degree. Of course there's a whole lot more to their story than shown in this timeline, but it includes the things that influenced or impacted me in some way. You get the idea, at a glance.

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking & Creativity: World Creativity & Innovation Week

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It's two months since World Creativity and Innovation Week. But why not celebrate it every month? On April 15-22 every year, people from around the world celebrate creativity and innovation by deliberately doing something creative every day. It could be something simple or something profound. It really doesn't matter — just be creative, whatever month it is!

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording at Events

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There's never just one way to create visual notes, especially when they are created live. And at a large scale. That can make capturing a panel talk more of a challenge for some people. It takes a bit more flexibility than a clearly defined presentation.

I tend to capture panel discussions in a way that highlights the key points of the discussion as a whole. Not a series of summaries of what each person contributed. Since discussions tend to be rather fluid, the final visual makes much more sense that way. Speakers tend to like it better that way, too. So often key points build on what another speaker said, so there's no chance of misattribution when you capture the discussion as a whole.

The visual notes above were created during a panel discussion at TechInclusion last fall. You can see the whole set of visual notes created live, on-site there in this Flickr album