I’m always on the hunt for great resources – for my visual practice and to share with those who join my visual thinking programs.
The past six months, I’ve been amazed at the surge of super titles that really are worth exploring. I’m going to give you the low-down on four books I think you should have in your library.
Here they are – in no particular order:
They all have something to offer anyone interested in visual thinking, graphic facilitation and visual note-taking. Here’s my take on the short story…
Still interested in more? Ok, here’s the longer story (I’ve linked the titles to where you can access these great books)…
Co-author of ‘Gamestorming’, Sunni Brown has released a new book this year ‘The Doodle Revolution: unlock the power to think differently’.
I love that! The promise of thinking differently. I believe we need to harness this power if we are going to make a difference in our communities, our businesses and on this planet.
In her book, Sunni challenges our current disregard for The Doodle, calling up the ghosts of intellectual giants – Albert Einstein and Marie Curie and figures of history – JFK and Henry Ford. They all shared a use of drawing as part of their thinking processes (aka ‘Class A Doodlers’).
She encourages us to look at our false beliefs about doodling, discover our “doodler DNA” and begin to develop our visual literacy. Sunni sets out a clear path for anyone interested in gaining visual literacy. With a playful style and game-based ideas – born from her work with Dave Gray, James Macunufo and their book ‘Gamestorming’ – Sunni sets out doodle games designed to help us learn the skills and concepts to be a proficient doodler.
Passion and humour are key hallmarks of Sunni’s writing style and you’ll find plenty in the book.
You’ll also find it packed with well-researched information and oodles of ideas for activities where you can engage your drawing and abilities to think differently. Try these – Stickify This, The Face Matrix and Doodle Bomb – a personal favourite where we are encouraged to draw on magazine ads… e.g. drawing power tools in the hands of supermodels and re-editing the copy for our own entertainment.
In short, encouraging us to take doodles seriously and at the same time, play around with our doodling abilities.
The book presents researched information to support the power of the visual at work and school as well as a depth of ideas on ways you can develop your visual literacy and tap the power of thinking differently. The visuals used throughout the book are also good case studies in communicating ideas using visuals. My overall comment – good resource for information, example visuals and activity ideas.
Businesswoman and author, Lynne Cazaly has distilled her knowledge of how to help people get over their ‘I can’t draw’ syndrome into a workbook. It has oodles of icon ideas and space to put those into practice.
For Lynne, getting our visual mojo working will assist us in capturing ideas, conveying information and collaborating with others.
But, I love this: Lynne advises -
“Don’t go cold turkey on words“
…and reminds us that words are still an important part of the message.
The book steps through the basics of getting started – practising lines and shapes that make up our visual language. The focus of the remainder of the book is on the 60 quick pics. Practising these will build your visual literacy.
Great workbook… Simple to follow, no fancy, schmancy language. My overall comment – good resource for those starting out to be able to pull off the shelf.
We’ll skip merrily over the saga about how I finally got my copy of this book (three orders with Amazon and three long periods of waiting, checking my PO box and finally accepting them as no-shows later) and focus on the absolute delight when it finally arrived late last year and I got to immerse myself deeply in its contents and wisdom.
I will tell you what I love about this particular title.
And there’s lots to love.
It’s packed with fantastic examples, the entire book is a study in how to take and present visual notes in an engaging way.
Importantly, there is no jump-cut between the “text” ideas and Mike’s examples. They are all one.
As a result, I found every page opening really appealing. I just wanted to explore and soak up the information and then sit back and reflect on how he did it. Notice what techniques Mike employed on each page. What type font he used… Little natty things like the way he tucks his ‘the‘ into the capital of the first letter and the big things like the detail he shares about the sketch noting process and types and hierarchies of sketchnotes.
One of my favourite quotes from Mike’s book is:
“It’s about IDEAS, not ART!”
That’s a critical point and one I share as part of the courses I teach in visual thinking, especially for those starting out, but also a great reminder for those who have been practising for a while.
As well as tonnes of information, Mike shares work from other sketchnoters, so as the reader, you get the chance to see some different styles and approaches. I love that some of the examples are ‘as is’, not prettied up for the book.
If you are into sketchnoting, this is THE book for you… It covers the process of note-taking, different types and style options, approaches, skills and techniques. My overall comment – yes, one to have on the shelf. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you will pull it out and seek inspiration from it. (NB: there is a video edition. You could get the book and take in some of Mike’s videos on the web instead.)
If you “draw like a five year old”, it may be because that’s when you stopped drawing!
Like the other three titles, Diane’s book takes us on a gentle learning curve of how to start with basic shapes and combine to create more complex and useful images.
What I adore about Diane’s book is the strength of her drawing style. It is inspiring.
I love the use of colour and the simply delightful images she creates.
Diane takes us through drawings’ application from early childhood through to the adult world of work. The book covers so many everyday topics and themes, it is a great resource.
(NB: Sketchbook Basics is very generously available for FREE from Discovery Doodles’s website)
Great ideas for drawing everything from your grocery list to icons for business and technology. My overall comment – A great resource for inspiration. Bring your process knowledge to the table and you have a super combination.
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