The first time I saw one of my Dad’s drawings was last September. We were visiting my brother’s house and my niece was gently encouraging (i.e. pestering) him to draw on her blackboard.
He drew a tree and a boat. At that moment I realised I had never seen my Dad draw before. It was quite a strange feeling. Much like when you see a friend’s handwriting for the first time, it was a curious insight into his personality, his uniqueness.
This human element, this insight into someone’s personality is one of the key reasons I love hand drawn graphics so much.
You just don’t get that with those stock images you see in many PowerPoint presentations and websites. (My personal bugbear are the photos of glossy ‘office people’ with big teeth and headsets. Who looks like that? Not many folk in Scotland anyway!)
The human element is just one of many advantages of using hand drawn graphics. Yet despite the multiple benefits people often resist picking up the marker and giving it a go. Why is this?
That’s right, it’s because people believe they can’t draw. They don’t see themselves as artistic.
Do you know what response you would get if you asked a child of 4 whether they think they can draw?
They look at you like you’re mad (I’ve tried it.) ‘Of course!’, is the typical response.
What happens when you ask a child of 7 the same question?
They don’t immediately say yes. It’s often ‘maybe’ or ‘sometimes.’
Is this because a child’s drawing ability has dramatically changed between the ages of 4 and 7?
No, it’s because by the age of 7 early conditioning will have set in. By this age we’ve often been labelled as either ‘good at maths’, ‘sporty’, ‘artistic’, ‘musical’ etc. It often becomes a label for life.
So perhaps you can draw? Perhaps it’s time to revisit your confident 4 year old self.
The truth is if you can draw a line, a circle and a squiggle then you can draw. It’s all about building on key elements.
After all research has shown that a drawing only needs 30% of reality for it to be recognisable.
Kinda takes the pressure off!
So it really doesn’t matter if your house is a square with a triangle on top, or your stick man looks like he’s had one too many. People will get it. That’s the main thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect to get the message across.
Graphics isn’t art. In fact people with a background in art often struggle with graphics because it is so quick, so simple, so in the moment. There is no room for egos when you’re working live with a group of people. Thank goodness for that.
At the end of every graphics course I run I ask the delegates for some feedback. At the back of my office door I stick up all my favourite comments. This is currently number one:
Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics in Edinburgh on September 5th 2017 and discover what you can do.
The best way to use visuals and graphics is to enhance the work you are already doing. This way graphics don’t become an extra item on your to-do list, rather they make the to-do list just a bit more interesting…
1. Invest in an unlined notebook.
Whether you’re a fan of A4, A5 or the tiny A6 choose a notebook that is line free. It’s much easier to get into the habit of drawing graphics when presented with a fresh clean white page.
2. Ditch the biros.
Biros tend to suffer the same fate as socks and teaspoons – they disappear into an unknown vortex never to reappear. So why not bring some colour into your life and opt for a fine nib set of markers such as Berol Fine Tip? Don’t be surprised when people ask for a copy of your notes at the end of a meeting.
3. On the phone? Make visual notes.
The next time you’re on the phone to someone use a combination of text and graphics to jot down what they say (with the aid of your unlined notebook and fine tip pens). It’s fascinating to look at afterwards, especially when it brings home the fact that yes, your sister did spend the last 35 minutes waxing lyrical about her latest squeeze.
4. Pimp your to-do list.
We all use to-do lists. They tend to be long, tedious and without end. Inject a bit of interest by adding a graphic to each item on your to-do list. This is also a great way to remember what actually needs to be done!
5. Design a template for an action plan.
Whether or not you take minutes at a meeting more often than not there will be an action plan at the end. Why not design a graphic template for this that you can reuse over and over again? Far more interesting than just another list…
My last tip is to share what you’ve created with your networks. Take a photo of your visual notes and share it on Twitter or LinkedIn. The positive feedback you receive will encourage you to keep going.
Want more tips? Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics open course on September 5th. Sign up here.
This post was initially emailed to my subscribers on Friday 26th June 2015.
I don’t know about you but since the 1st of April I’ve been checking the Skills Development Scotland website to see if the Flexible Training Opportunities (FTO) training fund was going to be extended for 2015-2016.
And now – at last – I can reveal that it is!
The FTO fund allows employers to reclaim 50% of the cost of training.
However there are some changes to the fund this year, most notably:
- An increase in the maximum amount payable for one training opportunity to £1000.
- Introducing a minimum cost threshold for training of £200.
- Reducing the maximum level of payment a company can receive to £3000.
You can get the full lowdown and make your application online via this link.
If you are interested in using FTO towards the cost of Collected Works services, namely:
– graphic facilitation (strategic visioning etc.)
– training including graphic facilitation training
do let me know and I can assist with the form filling.
It’s good news all round!