When Did We Forget How to Draw?

In a recent blog post on Visual Thinking, George Siemens wrote:

I’m not a visual person. Ok, not totally true. I’m a visual person, but I lack skills to express myself visually.

He then provided a great link to Joan Vinall-Cox’s article on Visual Literacy and Visual Thinking. I wanted to thank him on his blog but it seems I do not have the right permissions to leave a comment – so if you surf past this little bit of cyberspace, thanks George, and perhaps you’ll find more resources below!

I personally understand things better when they are put in a visual form. When I was a child, I first learned to draw. In fact, I learned to talk first (and, according to my dad, haven’t ever stopped since) and then I learned how to draw, and then I learned how to read and write.

Universal Recycling Symbol
Universal Recycling Symbol

History shows us that early civilizations drew pictograph’s on the cave walls, then came proto-writing and eventually came the modern alphabets as we know them today. But we still commonly use symbols and images to communicate. An strong example is the Universal Recycling Symbol which is an internationally-recognized symbol.

I recently picked up Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin in which he explains that we are essentially visual people and that drawing is an inherent talent to all. With the most basic of drawing skills—a square, a circle, an arrow, a stick figure and a smiley face—one can communicate effectively, leveraging hand drawn sketches on a napkin (or by extension on a whiteboard). You can watch an hour long video presenting the key concepts by the author made available by Authors@Google.

Back of the Napkin - The 66 Rule
Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin

I’d love to hear about other resources you might recommend!


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