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23 Feb

Twelve things are all you need to be able to draw

Datum: 2011-02-23 16:19

To me, struc­ture is to achieve what you want as eas­i­ly as pos­si­ble; to do what you want to get done with the least amount of effort. 

Some­times in my work I enter devel­op­ment-mode”.

This can be when I for exam­ple am to help a man­age­ment team set a clear­ly defined course for their busi­ness, when I am in the process of devel­op­ing a new ser­vice, when I am
try­ing to make a process run smoother or when I need to sort out the key mes­sage in a new lecture.

Words com­pli­cate matters

When I’m tuned into devel­op­ing-mode”, I need to think and work with images. Words, text and cer­tain word­ing only slow the cre­ative flow down for me in these sit­u­a­tions; per­haps due to that words are so dis­tinct that it becomes very impor­tant that you choose just the right nuance in order for the group to strive in the same direc­tion. Some words might be impaired by a par­tic­u­lar set of val­ues, which will eas­i­ly side-track us instead of allow­ing us to focus on the task ahead. 

An unbeat­able tool in this sit­u­a­tion is to make a sketch by hand with a pen on a blank, white sur­face. It can be a white-board, a white sheet of paper or some­thing similar. 

Do you have sit­u­a­tions in your line of work when you need to devel­op a busi­ness-mod­el, or illus­trate how your prod­ucts are dis­trib­uted to the final client, or show how one thing inter­acts with anoth­er, or you need to explain the con­se­quences to the sales-work orig­i­nat­ing in that a cou­ple of your prod­ucts or ser­vices over­lap, or per­haps you need to explain a com­plex mod­el to your co-workers? 

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s in times like these you grasp for soft­ware which can aid you in delin­eat­ing the image? Hmm… Word, per­haps? Or Keynote? Or Visio?”

For­get about it. Make it sim­ple. Make the sketch by hand instead.

Some­times sin­ga­long”, or the lack of it, makes me sad

But, I can’t draw!”, might be your instinc­tive response. Few things make me sad­der than when some­one doesn’t sin­ga­long” when meant to since they don’t believe they can sing. I expe­ri­ence that the same is true for being able to draw or not. We make it more com­pli­cat­ed than it needs to be and think we need to do it right”.

The only thing you need to know

No, you see, the only thing you need to be able to draw to be able to make a sketch of the most com­plex of mod­els is:

  • A cir­cle, a square, a tri­an­gle and a rectangle
  • A line, an arrow, a dashed line and a thick arrow
  • A sim­ple face (a cir­cle with two dots as eyes and a small curve which makes for two eyes and a mouth)
  • A stick-fig­ure
  • A box drawn in per­spec­tive, in 3D
  • A cylin­der in per­spec­tive, in 3D

I assure you — you can do it.

Do this

  1. Down­load a prac­tice-sheet from here.
  2. Print out the practice-sheet.
  3. As you can see, I have drawn the sym­bols I men­tioned above to the left (I haven’t done a course in sketch­ing either). Prac­tice draw­ing each sym­bol on the right hand side until you feel you’ve got it. Didn’t need too many times to get it right, now did you?
  4. Take a blank sheet of paper or head towards the near­est white-board and sketch how your most impor­tant prod­uct or ser­vice is sup­plied to your client (who is the receiv­er of what you do), from that the client orders it until he has it in his hand, or until she gets the ser­vice performed. 
  5. Erase the white-board, alter­na­tive­ly get a fresh sheet of paper and get a col­league who would need an expla­na­tion of the mod­el. Do the sketch again. Now you know it well, and you have prob­a­bly had a giv­ing con­ver­sa­tion with your col­league about an essen­tial part of the busi­ness. Two birds with one stone!

Faster, more engag­ing, more live­ly and more playful

If you adopt the sim­ple sketch as a tool, you’ll be able to illus­trate com­plex con­nec­tions faster so that they become clear­er to you. If you sketch while hold­ing a lec­ture, the crowd gets more engaged, the lec­ture comes to life and you will prob­a­bly come through with your mes­sage to a greater extent. And, it’s eas­i­er to be play­ful and think out­side that box peo­ple keep refer­ring to when you are writ­ing, which is fun in itself.

What was your way of doing it?

When have you used sketch­ing as a tool and got­ten great results? Com­ment below and tell us how it hap­pened, and what you think was the great­est con­tribut­ing fac­tor of it being a success. 

P S Here you will find a true mas­ter on the top­ic.
…and few things can beat these small ani­ma­tions.