Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips

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Here are the five simple tips we cover both at Credera and at the start of each Dallas VizThink meeting. Hopefully you'll find them useful next time you're the one holding the marker.

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Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips

  1. 1. Sketching 101:Whiteboard Pro-tipsDallas, TXJanuary 6, 2010Discussion document – Strictly Confidential & Proprietary
  2. 2. Why Sketching Matters …Whoever is best able to describe the problem is the person most likely to solve it“When I started out as a consultant, it took me a long timeto figure out what a consultant really does. After manyyears, I finally realized that a consultant’s role is to be anon-demand problem solver: you’re called into a businessmeeting, presented some data and questions, andexpected to start solving the problem right then, whatever itmay be…”“Any problem can be made clearer with a picture, and anypicture can be made using the same simple set of tools.” Dan Roam Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips January 6, 2012 2
  3. 3. Top 5 Tips …Effective sketching is easier than you think – following a few simple rules willmake your drawings both easy to follow and memorableTop 5 Tips for Effective Sketches1.  Title your sketch2.  Combine simple shapes3.  Express emotion or state4.  Label each noun5.  Arrows demonstrate relationshipsLet’s take a closer look at each ofthese rules to see how easy effectivesketching can be. Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips sketch  by  @PaulGoode   January 6, 2012 3
  4. 4. Top 5 Tips … Title Your SketchWrite the sketches title before making any other marks on the board – thisestablishes a frame and purpose for your effortTip #1: Title The Page / Whiteboard And Write The DateDon’t worry about getting the title right.You can always change it later.But getting a title down on the board getsyou and everyone else in the room thinkingabout the problem, ready to break it down,describe, and solve it! Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips January 6, 2012 4
  5. 5. Top 5 Tips … Combine Simple ShapesEven the most complex illustrations and diagrams are just collections andcombinations of the most basic shapes that we all know how to drawTip #2: Combine Simple ShapesThe most elementary shapescan be combined into veryrecognizable symbols.Every noun depicted here iscomposed of simple boxes,lines, and circles or curves.This is more than enoughdetail to communicatemeaning (andunderstanding). Remember   Ed  Emberley?   He’s  awesome.   Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips January 6, 2012 5
  6. 6. Top 5 Tips … Express Emotion Or StateDemonstrating action and emotion amplify the effectiveness of sketchesTip #2: Use Simple Lines To Show Activity & EmotionSimple changes in the linesused for eyebrows andmouths can dramaticallyeffect the emotion of a simple“smiley” face – very useful forcontrasting the “current state”from the “future vision”.Using a triangle, circle, and afew lines we can illustrate awide range of physicalactivity – very useful fordescribing a process. Remember   Ed  Emberley?   He’s  awesome.   Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips January 6, 2012 6
  7. 7. Top 5 Tips … Label Each NounEasiest way to make your symbols easier to recognize is to label themTip #4: Use Both Words And Shapes In Your SketchesSome people learn visually.Some people learn audibly.When we label our pictureswe cater to both, and removeambiguity.These images are easier toidentify because they are alllabeled. S<ll  awesome.   Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips January 6, 2012 7
  8. 8. Top 5 Tips … Arrows Demonstrate RelationshipsConnect your nouns with verbs – arrows help demonstrate how each of yoursymbols are relatedTip #5: Use Arrows To Show Chronology,Causality, or Any Other RelationshipConnecting yournouns creates visualsentences. Aconnection mightshow steps in aprocess, cause and Required  Content  for  Legal  Quals  Database  effect, or even just asimple sentence likethe concept mapillustrated here.Before this wascleaned up in Visio, itwas just a collectionof nouns on awhiteboard, eachentity connected witha verb. Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips January 6, 2012 8
  9. 9. Top 5 Tips … SummaryTake another look at this sketch and you’ll see how these simple, repeatableconcepts make an effective means for communicationTop 5 Tips for Effective Sketches1.  Title your sketch2.  Combine simple shapes3.  Express emotion or state4.  Label each noun5.  Arrows demonstrate relationships 3 1“Any problem can be made clearerwith a picture, and any picture can be 2made using the same simple set oftools.” 5(Dan Roam, again) 4 Sketching 101: Whiteboard Pro-tips sketch  by  @PaulGoode   January 6, 2012 9

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