One Squiggly Line Blog

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

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


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


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, & Lettering: Time constraints


Need a quick way to be more visually and creatively productive? Set a time limit! That way, you're more likely to stay focused. Since there's really no time to critique your work, you won't! It may not be perfect, buy you'll keep going and make whatever you did work. That builds momentum and stamina to see things through. And finishing things leads to greater satisfaction and confidence. All of that carries over to whatever you tackle next. Maybe that's why innovation comes from chaos instead of void...

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Visualize!


Visual thinking and creativity have a lot in common. A whole lot. So much I did my master's project on the topic!

One key part of creativity and creative thinking is visualizing. That's really just another word for using and being aware of your imagination. Most people don't think about it much, but your imagination uses a lot of pictures. Just try to imagine a red rose without seeing a picture of it in your head...not gonna happen!

Getting those ideas and pictures out of your head is the first step towards creativity and innovation. As long as those ideas live only in your head, they're only a part of your imagination. They're dreams, not reality.

When you start putting those ideas down on paper, it helps you see them more clearly. And flesh out your idea more fully. Then you can better explain them to others. And they'll be more likely to understand them.

That's why visual thinking is not only powerful, but productive. Visual thinking leads to clarity. Clarity leads to confidence. And confidence is much more likely to lead to action.

Graphic Recording: Color & Lines Create Movement


People will often come up to me on live Graphic Recording jobs and say, "Wow, I sure wish I could draw like you!" That's a really nice compliment. But the truth is, most people really can draw most of the things they're looking at. The "wow" factor comes from the design.

Take the graphic recording above. There aren't many pictures here - some simple faces, a few dollar bills (rectangles with dollar signs on them), and a bunch of mosquito type things that could be any kind of flying insect. Nothing fancy!

What grabs people's eye and draws them in is the design itself. In between the bold lettering on the top and bottom are a bunch of powerful lines and strong colors. The bold lettering frames the page and keeps it grounded. The powerful lines direct your eye around the page so you're sure to look at everything. The strong colors direct your eye, too. They also organize the information so you can more quickly understand how it's related.

If you only look at the pictures, you know the talk had something to do with bugs, people, and money. The design itself is what invited you to dig a little deeper and make sense of it all.

This graphic recording was done as an experiment, using only a black marker and crayons. I discovered crayons tend to disappear when you make the background white. That's why I left the image as is - with a blotchy gray background. That doesn't happen with markers!

Just do it!


I get to listen to lots of talks, conversations, and presentations when graphic recording. And no matter the topic, industry, or people involved, one word almost always joins the conversation. That word is the biggest challenge individuals and huge corporations alike face when it comes to reaching both short and long-term goals. It's also the not-so-secret sauce of highly successful, productive, and prolific folks.

The word? Implementation. Ideas are great, and plans are great. But you won't get very far unless you actually do something with them. Visuals make it much easier for you to see what you need to do and track your progress. They also help keep the big picture in mind - your end goal as well as the steps needed to get there.