Drawing is Thinking

Drawing is Thinking

When you were in school, did you get caught doodling?

Have you ever got the evil eye from a co-worker for doodling during a meeting?

You were on right page!

A study, sighted by the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, found that doodlers could easily recall ‘dull’ information 30 percent more than non-doodlers. Break out your pen or pencils and notepad…doodling is greatly encouraged.

Like writing, there are benefits of doodling and sketching:

  1. Cognitive development and increased memory
  2. Improved concentration
  3. Creative confidence

Drawing is essential for the brain development in children; as a learning process and technique for making observations or problem solving. While at the same time improving their memory skills. This combination leads to achievement in other subjects, particularly math and science.

It is our own translation, the imagery from our mind, which we create the visual references (aka details) that we’ll draw upon in the future.

Have you been to a conference or meeting with a live sketch artist? One of the pioneers in this industry, Sunni Brown, believes that she and her team develop concepts through pictures that words alone cannot describe. The pictures are not about aesthetic quality, but rather the quality of the learned and learning experience; developing a visual language.

Milton Glaser’s iconic logo

Drawing (sketching or doodling), like meditation, is a self-exploration that connects us with our ‘self’ on an intimate level. The adroit action stimulates us to a comfort level–enough to keep us awake, focused and engaged. Researcher believe that we reach deeper levels of concentration and this is where we develop richer concepts.

“When you draw an object, the mind become deeply, intensively attentive. Drawing is thinking.” Milton Glaser, acclaimed graphic designer continues, “It is that act of attention that allows you to really grasp something to become fully conscious of it.”

Here’s John Hendrix, author (Drawing is Magic) and illustrator, “As adults we often stop having fun. Drawing when we were kids was fun. Finding enjoyment is the essential first step to finding good ideas.”

When we ‘draw out’ our ideas, we’re releasing our imagination.

John Hendrix’ book “Drawing is Magic”

Every heard the phrase, “conceived on a napkin”? What tools do you need to facilitate thinking? PENCIL AND PAPER. No need for a computer, tablet or special app for you smartphone.

When we externalize our ideas on paper it makes it easier to re-constuct them, transforming the “spark” into a good idea, great idea… a gift to mankind idea.

Drawing is more than thinking: it’s MAGIC.

 

References:

The Atlantic, Cognitive Benefits of Doodling

Sunni Brown, TED Talk, “Doodlers, Unite”

Sun + Shade + Art Supplies = USk Chicago Sketch Seminar

WOW!!!

Two full days of sketching, painting and creativity with people who share a passion for urban sketching. I am humbled to have been a part of the leadership team with my own Architecture Sketching Tour. I’m looking forward to next year.


CHICAGO SKETCH SEMINAR

This year’s Sketch Seminar workshops sold out rather quickly, people from the greater Chicagoland area, across the nation and international sketchers, too. Sixteen workshops scheduled over the weekend, many offered twice, from breaking free of the fear of on-site sketching, introduction to art materials, oil painting, sketch like an architect, sketching with markers and colored pencils to coptic bookbinding. I don’t have final numbers yet, but I’d guess that 200+ people participated in workshops, volunteered and taught.


 

BACKGROUND

Urban Sketchers is a global community of urban sketchers for those who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner… always on location, not from photos or memory. And, he/she shares their sketches with the community. The manifesto is quite simple:

  • We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  • Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
  • Our drawings are a record of time and place.
  • We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
  • We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  • We support each other and draw together.
  • We share our drawings online.
  • We show the world, one drawing at a time.

 

Passion. Talent. Community. Exhaustion. This is how I’d describe the weekend. Individuals with artistic passions learning new techniques or pushing their own creative talents in groups, and sharing ideas throughout the workshops and afterward. The weather in Chicago was extraordinary with sunscreen and cold water readily available. The gentle Lake Michigan breezes were calming, encompassing the entire Chicago lakefront experience.

Architecture Sketching Tour

ArchiSketch-GrantPark-071216-usk2The original request to lead an architecture tour was quite a surprise and humbling*. And, after I had drafted an initial tour, the hub for Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016 shifted to American Academy of Art located at Michigan Avenue and Van Buren–a new tour needed to be developed. The challenge was to organize a walking route that would be interesting and allow enough time for sketching. I believe my Grant Park: Michigan & Congress tour achieved these core principles.

Overview:
  • Chicago Club
  • Van Buren Metra Entrance
  • Michigan Avenue “Cliff” (Van Buren to Congress)
  • Fine Arts Building
  • Auditorium Building
  • Grant Park Entrance at Congress: The Bowman and The Spearman
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • Presidents Court Sitting Lincoln (excluded due to Taste of Chicago fencing)
  • Railway Exchange Building
  • Metropolitan Tower (fka Strauss)

 

USk 2016 Architecture Sketch Tour Map & eBook
USk 2016 Architecture Sketch Tour Map & eBook

The map and entire tour booklet are available for download. I’ve included in my booklet the background information on each location and additional photos.

 

Gratitude

First, thank you to ALL who participated in the Architecture Sketching Tour on Saturday and Sunday. Your feedback and comments have been very helpful to refine this tour. Big thanks to the Chicago Sketch Seminar leadership team, teacher and volunteers who made 2016 a success year for Urban Sketchers Chicago.

What’s Next

The Architecture Sketching Tour was a precursor to ArchiSketch Chicago that I’ve been developing since early Spring. Based on feedback, I’m now ready to launch. Visit ArchiSketch Chicago for more information about workshops.

See you on the street with your sketchbook!

Joann

*  USk Chicago seminar planners aren’t aware, but, as Docent, I had to seek permission from Docent Standards at Chicago Architecture Foundation to participate and lead USk tour.