I am learning how to draw to help summarise and communicate ideas because images are a) more memorable; and b) they are a more effective way of getting a point across.

I started in earnest during a User Experience Conference in 2016 where one of the speakers explained how easy it was to convey expressions using the same basic face shape, eyes and nose and just changing the eyebrows and the shape of the mouth.

It was an effective exercise. So I gave it a shot …

Four different eyebrow arrangements and 5 different mouth shapes helps to convey 5 different emotions.

surprisearched, highopen, roundsurprise face
sadnessstraightupturned half roundsad face
angryturned inwardsslightly open but tightangry face
worriedturned outwardsflat with pursed lipsworried face
happinessarched, highhalf roundhappy face

This excellent TED Talk is a great next step for creating characters.

Graham Shaw’s ‘Why people believe they can’t draw – and how to prove they can’

I tried my own versions …

Then I checked out a couple of free online drawing courses including one on drawing cartoon character fundamentals that helped with basic head/face proportions.

I tried sketching what I saw … but I may have bitten off more than I could chew there …

Illustrating ideas

I wanted a way to work with design ideas

While working in a product design department of an agriculture tech company, I saw interesting descriptive drawings and thought that would be a great thing to be able to do having lots of ideas of my own.

For example a bunch of peacocks flew into the property we live on and proceeded to eat or dig up everything in our garden.

So I planned an enclosure.

It wasn’t exactly how I originally planned but I managed to scrounge more chicken wire than I originally thought I could procure … and it does work.

Step 2 of Phase I - enclose the second garden bed
Step 2 of Phase I – enclose the second garden bed

Visual Note Taking – bikablo

I completed a 2-day Visual Facilitation course using the bikablo technique and then a 60 day follow-up online group coaching program.

The premise of Bikablo is that ‘anyone can draw’ and rather than setting out to be world class (Malcolm Gladwell / 10,000 hours styles) just getting a point across in a drawing needs just a few hours (more along the lines of Josh Kaufman).

My first effort, summarising Jim Qik’s F-A-S-T acronym for learning faster

Towards the end of the 60 day program, I started trying to come up with my own easy to draw – easy to repeat characters.

I started drawing a story with (my own) children as the main characters in the scenes.

Then continued working with them to a point where I was happy (enough) and I could repeat them in different poses for the story.


I now take an iPad to meetings and workshops. My notes are rough outlines that I touch up later into drawings that are a great reminder of the core things that I took from the session.

I will often share these with others rather than write / type things out.

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