In the visual arts a journal uses visual language
and drawn images that relate to thinking through
Images can be invented or collected that relate to
what you are thinking about. These visual
inventions can be related to concepts or theories
from other areas you are exploring in BAPP.
Expressing your thinking in visual language is a
useful inquiry tool.
According to Mendelowitz’ Guide to Drawing there can
be three categories of drawing, only the first is drawing
from life (observational drawing). It does not have to
conform to any particular conventions to get the idea
(Wakeham, p. 12)
Drawing can also “visualize a nonexistent situation or an
object conceived in the imagination of the artist…”
(Wakeham, 1982, p. 7).
Edison’s original drawing showing the invention of the light bulb (McKim,
1972, p. 117) is a good example of an idea that has been brought to life.
The third category of drawings is based upon the use of
symbols. Objects , ideas and concepts are represented
as plans, diagrams, cartoons…” (Wakeham, 1982, p. 7).
Labanotation : key to labanotion
symbols designed by Rudolf Laban
The design process is often a visual process… (McKim, 1972, p. 120).
Visual forms like doodling and graffiti often use
alternative forms of visual communication, as do
abstract paintings that express ideas and
interpretations of ideas without necessarily using
Rudolph Arnheim invented the idea of concept
drawings. They are a way of visualising imagery without
using graphic depictions of pictures, but using lines,
arrows, shapes and forms to communicate ideas.
Arnheim described his process as ‘concepts take shape’ where an idea is
used to focus on during the drawing process, but the resulting image
includes emotional and cognitive themes that indicate personal
interpretations of ‘lifeworld’ experiences and ideas.
Automatic drawing (from Surrealism) uses the
unconscious mind to draw out issues, events or
experiences that you have been thinking about - so
without an starting with an particular idea .
Often these types of drawing are useful to find out
what is going on in planning stages, accessing
ideas for questions that you can take forward in
your professional inquiry.
In other words, in your private reflective journal,
you can experiment with how you capture ideas
about yourself and your professional world, and
this evidence might lead to an interesting topic.
Frida Kahlo, the painter, used automatic doodles and writing to express
So try out some ideas using drawing in your
personal journals – if any are successful you may
want to share them with the network.
Head to head – the bun
versus the pud (Yorkshire
pud). Two English favourites
– I am still involved with the
idea of learning the ways of
Jotting down notations for movements or scenes.
Doing some quick line drawings that accompany
brainstorming – as in “this is how it might look”.
Storyboard something you want to video as an
If it is quicker than explaining in another way use
visuals in the final presentation of ideas.
Ideas for the Journal
Arnheim, Rudolf (1969) Visual Thinking, Berkeley: University of California
Britannica (2010) labanotation: key to labanotation symbols [Accessed
29/10/10] Available from: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-
Fuentes C. and Lowe, Sarah (1995)The Diary of Frida Kahlo An Intimate
Self Portrait, London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. London
McKim, Robert H. (1972) Experiences in Visual Thinking, Belmont CA :
Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.
Wakeham, Duane A. (1982) (3rd Edition) Mendelowitz’s Guide to Drawing,
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.