Pencil as Power Tool
A few years ago, I took a five-day drawing class in New York City that changed my life. I entered the class a complete ignoramus on matters visual. By week’s end, I was somewhat less of an ignoramus — because, to my amazement, I had begun learning how to see.
Drawing, as I discovered that week and described in A Whole New Mind, is a terrific way to develop the aptitude of Symphony, the ability to put together seemingly unrelated pieces to create something new. If you’re ready to pick up your pencil and try this technique out for yourself, a good place to start is Mike Rohde’s article, “Sketching: the Visual Thinking Power Tool.” (Mike is the illustrator of REWORK, the outstanding book by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals fame.)
According to Mike, “Sketching provides a unique space that can help you think differently, generate a variety of ideas quickly, explore alternatives with less risk, and encourage constructive discussions with colleagues and clients.” Most important, “it’s not about the quality of the drawing, but about capturing and communicating ideas from one mind to another.”
I’ll be stuck in an airport for a few hours tonight. But instead of doing what I usually do there (answering email and foraging for red wine), I’m going to spend some time sketching. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help me come up with some new travel tips. If you’ve been using drawing as a thinking tool, tell us about it in the comments.