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!

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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; 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 & 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.

Graphic Recording: Use those visuals after the event!

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Graphic recording happens live, in real-time and on a large scale right in front of everyone. That's part of what makes it so powerful, engaging, and memorable. But those images can be quite powerful, engaging, and memorable after the event, too. So how do you put them to good use? Shop.Org had a great idea, as shown above in this Twitter screenshot. 

Visual Thinking & Creative Lettering Design: Lowercase B

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Drawing some letters is a great way to warm up your creative and visual thinking skills. That's what all these lowercase B's are about! I set a timer for a few minutes and drew as many different lowercase B's as I could in that time.

Setting a short time frame keeps you going. There's no time to evaluate what you just did. So you don't. You just keep coming up with ideas. There's plenty of time to evaluate things once you're done. The same is true whether you're drawing lowercase B's or thinking up ways to save the world.

Visual Thinking: Simple Can Be Powerful!

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No fancy art skills are needed to turn your message into a picture. Really!

Just take a look at the image above. It's made from super simple shapes and lines. The snow on the ground is just a bumpy line. The poles are long, skinny rectangles with slightly curved stripes. One flag is a rectangle. The other is a rectangle with wavy lines on the long sides. The snowflakes are made from four lines crossed over each other in the middle. That's it!

When you put all those simple things together and make them fill the page, you end up with a picture. Add some words to those flags and suddenly your picture turns into a message. A message with impact. A message people get in a glance. Or one that's interesting enough to study a bit longer.

Give it a try. You'll be amazed at what a few simple lines can turn into!

Graphic Recording: Mr. Sketch Markers

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There's no denying it, Mr. Sketch Markers are just plain fun to use!

Each marker smells like either a fruit or spice. They're pretty easy to get your hands on, too. Most office supply stores carry them, as well as places like Walmart or Target. And they're a lot less expensive than fancy art markers.

They have a chisel tip that lets you draw thin or think lines, depending on how you hold the marker. Bold lines are great because people can see them from across the room. Thin lines are great, too, because they let you add some details for people to see when they're closer.

Back to the bold lines for a minute...

Working with big, bold lines is a great habit to get into. Whether you're working alone or with a group, bold lines make it much easier to see things. If you're planning to send pictures of any sketches electronically, bold lines will actually let people see what you've drawn. And that's the whole point, right?

Sketching: Quick and Simple

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Elaborate drawings are great but not everyone has the time or skills to create one. Often, a quick sketch can get the message across just as well. Especially if you're brainstorming and looking for as many ideas as possible. When you choose an idea to flesh out, the sketch can then be fleshed out, too, if you want.

The sketch above was one of several done to convey a coaching session, done with a Sharpie marker. Sketching with a bold marker makes it much easier to share online. And if you you want to use that sketch at some point, you're ready to go - no redrawing necessary.

Creativity: Unfinished work

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Here's a sketch I did in high school. I never finished it and I have no plans to. But I hold onto it because I like it. And I had fun doing it. And I learned a lot from it. So, it really doesn't bother me that poor girl still doesn't have a foot!

When it comes to creativity, there is no rule that says you have to finish everything you start. Just be sure to hold on to those unfinished projects, though. A quick glance at one may be all it takes to get your creative juices flowing again when you get stuck.