#creativity #OddsAndEnds


It was Irish farmer practicality meets home improvement engineering. My gran grew the flowers. My mum dried them. And I, yes I, arranged them in little pots filled with cement. Pretty flowers now with added permanence

Having said that, the same practical engineering had us making rafts every summer for the river. A few of them actually floated…

* flares is Northern Irish for flowers…

#creativity #edchat

The Pi-clopedia

I don’t know about you but I’ve been tinkering in my man-shed. Curiosity-driven, soldering iron out, YouTube at the ready. The spirit of McGyver runs deep through my veins, and given enough time there is nothing I cannot make.

The Raspberry Pi? It’s a thing of beauty. Now then what shall I make it do? I’ve found the MagPi is a great place to start…

#creativity #thinkery


An empty page.
Create something.
But what? I can’t think of anything.
Why are you asking me? It’s your brain…
But it’s so daunting. It’s too clean. I’ll just mess it up. And anyway, I can’t draw.

An empty page is daunting.
But it’s also an opportunity.
You used to draw when you were a kid – So what’s changed?

Sit down and make some visual noise.
Express yourself – because creating, like anything worth doing, takes practice.

#creativity #thinkery

The thinkery process

I’m very much enjoying a project I’ve got on at the moment with Reclaim Hosting to create a new aesthetic for their indie edtech business.

I often get asked about the process I follow to create a piece of visual thinkery. So, here’s a little inside slide on the process behind the “edupunk” image.

#creativity #edchat

OER16 – Open…

What a distraction twitter is – especially if it means drawing something. I’ll see something on twitter, have a thought, and before I know it, I’m trying to create that thought. I came across Jim Groom tweeting the title for his keynote at OER16, and I couldn’t resist.

I highly recommend tuning in…

#creativity #thinkery

To create is to notice

Let there be light! And there was light, and it created a really interesting shadow…

The skill of noticing detail’s. Like any embedded skill, it takes a lot of practise. It’s like a teacher and a badly placed apostrophe (hee hee!) – it jumps out of the text and hits you on the head – but it’s merely a little divot in a sentence.

The visual thinkery I’ve created changed radically when I started noticing highlights and shadows; it’s all about what the light is doing.

Maybe to create is to notice.

#creativity #thinkery

This is my own hand

Listen… aha! There’s one! But what does it look like? Why are they saying that? Just start drawing – let’s see what shapes my pen creates, and go with it…

Some of my earliest visual thoughts come from keynotes at education-related conferences. I would try to zone in and capture just one thought the speaker was trying to illuminate. Then sketch, create and tweet the image before the speaker has finished. So it made sense to experiment with creating a font of my own hand, dipping my tow in the ocean of Typography…


Wanted: Honest Frank Feedback

It’s easy to look at what you’ve created and see it as either good or bad. The more you create, the more you get to know your own eyes and what they’re trying to tell you, and you realise that no creation is either good or bad. But after a while in the middle of a creation, your eyes stop seeing it. When it comes to asking for visual feedback, people see very different things – it’s heavily influenced by a product of the subconscious meaning each person has attached to the colours, aesthetic, shapes, fonts, spacing, words, etc. So, who are those people who will give you honest feedback, and tell you what their eyes see, wrapped up in a little cotton wool? Those people are gold-dust.

#creativity #edchat

Creativity in Schools

I watched this video clip of Dylan Wiliam talking about how important creativity in schools is. I worry – and I know a lot of others do to – about the lack of importance placed on this in schools, and in particular, secondary schools. In the UK, we’re going backwards. A lot of the responsibility must be placed at the feet of politicians who continue to tinker with the system in order to mimic their own warped view of education. This in itself shows a HUGE lack of creativity…

#creativity #OddsAndEnds #thinkery

Hey! How’d you do that?

I’ve been asked many times about how I go about creating visual thinkery – so here’s a first stab at illustrating the tools I use. Even though drawing with a stylus on my iPad was my path into drawing, I prefer to use pen and paper as the fastest way to capture and develop an idea.