One Squiggly Line Blog

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

Creativity & Visual Thinking: Love is Powerful!

Do you know what love feels like?
 

Does it make your heart skip several beats? Does it make you feel nervous? Excited? Content? Happy? Calm?
 

Love feels different for everyone - we each have our own love language. It’s our goal to identify how we respond and react to love.
 

In order to do so, we must become more familiar with ourselves.
 

This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. This applies to all aspects of our lives - our jobs, our friends, ourselves, as well as our significant others.


It’s important to fall in love with our lives, or at least certain aspects of them, as our lives are too short for mediocracy.  Our lives are too short for mediocre careers, hobbies and relationships.


We must not settle for something that doesn’t stir our heart. We must try and live our lives in accordance with our passions.
 

In order to find love, we must know what we’re passionate about.
 

This all takes takes time, experience, and even failure. We must not be afraid of encountering new experiences, as every new and unfamiliar experience is valuable in helping us learn more about ourselves.
 

How are you going to learn more about yourself and your love language? What experiences do you want to have this year? What areas do you want to grow in?

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: 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 & 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 & 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!

Visual Thinking & Creativity: World Creativity & Innovation Week

WorldCreativityInnovationWeek_VisualThinking_OneSquigglyLine

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 & Creativity: Think inside the box, too!

VisualThinking_Creativity_Patterns_FlowersInBoxes_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.

While there's often a push to "think outside the box" when generating ideas, thinking inside the box can be just as important. And productive. "The box" gives you a starting place, and sometimes getting started can be the hardest part.

So when looking for creative ideas, it's really ok to start with what you know, right where you are, with whatever you have right in front of you. Because once you start, you'll most likely keep going until that great idea hits you.
 

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Visualize it Richly & Colorfuly!

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. The 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!