CanUX: Visual Thinking in Practice

by Luke Wroblewski November 17, 2008

David Gray’s workshop at CanUX 2008 in Banff provided the core elements needed to get people drawing so they can visually communicate concepts to others.

  • We are taught to think that drawing is about making things look realistic.
  • But drawing is really about getting ideas down on a page. Think of it as another vocabulary that enables discussion.
  • Visual alphabet: the abc’s of visual communication are a way of breaking down drawing into basics so that everyone can do it.
  • First kids use points and lines then stumble upon circles and ultimately forms within forms.
  • Forms: one sided (circle), two sided (football), three sided (triangle), four sided (square), etc.
  • These are the building blocks of drawing. If you can draw these basic shapes you can draw anything.
  • Drawing is an abstraction of real life. It needs to convey the basic facts not every detail.
  • Think about big shapes first then move on to little shapes.
  • Connect things to a ground line to help get yourself going.
  • To draw a head, think about where the nose would be pointed. Use a simple line for the nose to give the head dimension.
  • Think about objects and what we need to connect them (numbers, arrows, lines, etc.)
  • Linear perspective is just one of several methods of drawing.
  • Cognitive perspective is not about how something appears from a point in space but instead how it appears to the mind. Kids draw this way because it is natural.