One Squiggly Line Blog

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

Visual Thinking & Creativity: A Manifesto for Life

“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

@meredith.rose.poetry

Learn more about Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking: Adopting New Perspectives

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.”

-Chris Pine

bring visual thinking to your next project or event

Visual Thinking - The Artist's Mindset: An excerpt

“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.”

-Meredith Illig

@meredithrosepoetry

Learn more about visual thinking

Visual Thinking: Get it! Grab it! Go for it!

VisualThinking_GetitGrabitGoforIt_OneSquigglyLine

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.
 

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Use something in a new way

VisualThinking_Creativity_BusinessCards_OneSquigglyLine

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 way to get a new idea or find a creative solution is to use something in a new way.

Sometimes, I take stacks of business cards with me, like if I'm working at a conference or event. Regular rubber bands seemed to rip several of the cards, which meant I had fewer to give out. So, I looked around and found something different to hold my business cards together — stretchy ribbon hair ties. Not only do they hold my business cards together, they look better, too!

When it comes to creativity, the best ideas can be inside the box, not outside of it. You just need to use them in a new way.

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

VisualThinking_LiveIllustratedNotes_OneSquigglyLine

 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.

Visual Thinking & Creativity; Visualize it richly & colorfully

VisualThinking_VisualizeRichlyColorfully_OneSquigglyLine

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

image.jpg

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

IMG_3482.JPG

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 & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

VisualThinking_LiveIllustratedNotes_OneSquigglyLine

People often think I do a lot of drawing while taking live visual notes. If you really look at the image above, you'll see there's really not much drawing there at all. Just some squares, a couple of circles, and an arrow. That's it!
When you write words inside simple shapes, those simple shapes start making your own notes a bit more visual. They become more dynamic. More interesting. The image and the message become more unified. And far more powerful. 

A great way to make your own notes more visual is to write some of your words inside simple shapes — circles, squares, triangles, arrows, etc. Give it a try!

The image above is a close-up of a 4'x8' drawing, created live, in real-time during a Design Thinking workshop. Be sure to check out the entire image!