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 & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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 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

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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 Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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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: Words vs. Images

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To many, the term visual thinking means pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Maybe some charts and diagrams, too. And possibly a few mind maps thrown in for fun. 

While pictures are a big part of visual thinking, words are also a big part. Words can be really powerful. Pictures can be very powerful. And when you put the two together, the message becomes even more powerful.

Check out the drawing above to see more specifically what's involved with both words and pictures. 

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

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Smile!

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It probably comes as no surprise that cheerful, happy visuals  can put you in a cheerier mood. Or make you crack a smile at the very least.

What may come as a surprise is that cheery visuals impact more than mood. And that impact differs between men and women. Men experience a greater drop in anxiety than women do when looking at a happy picture. Women, on the other hand, experience a greater boost in their working memory than men do when faced with a cheerful picture.

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

Visual Thinking & Leadership: A Strong Vision

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A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do. — Leroy Eims

Leadership starts with a vision. Whether you're leading a country, a company, or simply yourself, you must have a vision. A strong one. Because the stronger the vision, the more likely success will be.

That vision, strong or not, always begins in your imagination, or the mind's eye. That's where you start to see things as you'd like them to be in the future. Or the way you wish things could be right now.

Getting that vision out of your head and onto paper makes it more concrete. That allows you to see your vision more clearly, to flesh it out, and to better communicate it to others. It also allows you to see what may be missing or what may not be necessary. A tangible drawing makes your thinking and communication much more efficient!

Drawing out your vision and keeping it someplace where everyone can easily see it, keeps your vision front and center in everyone's mind, which fuels the motivation needed to continue moving forward.  A physical image also allows everyone to see how far you've already come, hopefully prompting you to celebrate those successes along the way.

So pick up those markers and start drawing! Remember, you're drawing to communicate here, not to create the next Mona Lisa! 
 
Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking: Words & Pictures Together

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What grabbed your attention first — the image above or the big chunk of text below?

Odds are, the image grabbed your eye first. It's probably the main reason you're reading the text in the first place! So go back to the image for a minute. Really look at it. READ it.

Now, read the paragraph below:

Visual thinking makes complex information simple, brings clarity to confusing communication, makes the common unique, turns the passive into the active and apathy into interest. With visual thinking, the clumsy becomes elegant, the impersonal becomes personal, the dry becomes juicy, "Yes, but..." is replaced with "Yes, and...", trial and error turns to trial and learn, the cold becomes warm, and the separate become unified.

That paragraph and the accompanying image say the same thing! Most people find the information easier to absorb through the image than the paragraph. They're able to absorb that information faster and remember it longer. And, it's a lot more fun! 

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

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!

 

Visual Thinking: Live, Large-Scale Visual Notes (Graphic Recording)

Awesome. Passion. Both very powerful, positive high-impact words. Notice the difference between reading those words in standard print here and seeing them used in a hand-drawn illustration above?

If you look closely at the above drawing with an analytical eye, you'll see there's really not much drawing there at all. Just a big orange heart and two smaller black ones. Plus a few lines here and there. That's it! Nothing fancy at all, yet much more powerful than those exact same words printed out in a computer-generated font. And even more powerful yet when you actually watch someone write them.

That's just a small sample of how powerful live, large-scale visual notes and graphic recording can be. Curious to learn more? Check out the One Squiggly Line's "Services" page for a lot of examples. Just imagine how much more powerful those images would be if you were right there, watching them being created live, right before your eyes!