A brief history
I never planned to be doing this. It just happened. Accidentally. The clues were there – or were they? The backgammon board I made, the other subjects I didn’t take at school because I could do maths & science, the scribbly notepads full of boxes and arrows, the endless maps I used to draw as a kid for missionaries overseas (!)
It’s funny how we can be obscured from the things that have the potential to give us the greatest pleasure. Simply speaking, if you’d have asked me a few years ago if I could draw, I’d have replied no or not really or what’s it to you? As if it’s even a binary! Can you write? Sure. What can you write? er… An email? Of course…, A joke? A dad joke maybe…, A novel? Well that’s going a bit far…
Everyone has the potential to be able to draw, and all it takes is practice, purpose and letting out your inner child who didn’t care so much when it didn’t come out as planned. The biggest thing holding a person back is the belief that they can not draw. But don’t take it from me, here’s Quentin Blake in a book I got as a Christmas present a few years ago:
But it’s not really drawing itself that butters my parsnips, it’s the thinking – or more precisely – visually articulating a thought. So I’ve made it my job to help others catch thoughts and articulate them visually. As such, I’ve created thinkery for a whole bunch of Organisations. The Open University, Hack Education, City & Guilds, Reclaim Hosting, Creative Commons, Mindshift… I’ve created thinkery for a whole bunch of people too, and often because I’ve tripped over a turn of phrase in a conversation, or a sentence in a blog post, and a picture has appeared in my head.
I attribute great value to the skills of listening and noticing, and conversation is my strongest shovel in collaboratively mining for insight that deserves – or even demands – to be articulated visually.
If you’re still reading and have nothing better to do with your time, you can watch this talk from the OEB conference in Berlin:
What’s wrong with this picture?
Commission a project
If you’re interested in commissioning a project, or you’d like me to speak at your event, or you’d me to do some crazy live drawing of a conversation, then I’m all ears – please get in touch. There are whole bunch of project stories over at the main Visual Thinkery website – go have a rummage!