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An introduction to
visual thinking ✍
(non-artists welcome!)
By Mar Murube (www.marmurube.com)
What we’ll cover
● About me
● What do we call it (what is visual thinking)
● Benefits of drawing
● What we need
● 5 main tips
● Drawing exercise
About me
Most of you know me as a service designer and
researcher, but I also have a background in
illustration…
● Drawing non-stop since I was 2
● Won a bunch of awards
● Studied some art in college, mostly self-taught
● Drew comics strips for magazines as a student
● Worked as a professional illustrator for many
well-known brands around the world.
Have you seen some of these kids draw?
Always felt like an
impostor, never felt I
was good enough!
What do we call it?
Visual note-taking
Sketchnoting
Doodling
Storyboarding
Graphic facilitation
etc
Visualising concepts
and using them to
help us think and
communicate more
effectively.
Visual thinking is not about
being an artist.
It’s about communicating
with visual elements and
using them to help us
think.
And the others are too!
This is a drawing of a horse
Benefits of drawing
● Helps us order our thoughts, patterns become
clear
● Helps organise contents
● You get new ideas
● It opens people up
● Helps people focus on what’s important
● Helps communicate faster
● It’s FUN!!! It engages!
An introduction to visual thinking
What do you need?
Materials
- Something to draw on
- Something to draw with
- Something to capture it
- Remember: Less is more - KISS
5 tips for drawing
➔ Learn the shapes
Learn to draw basic shapes and
combine them to create people and
objects. Have a “drawing alphabet &
vocabulary”
➔ Use hierarchy
Learn to identify the most and the
least important information.
➔ Play with elements
Practice your handwriting, know how
much or how little text you want to
use. Use shapes to help you make
your drawing scannable.
➔ Tell a story
Have a narrative. The order in which
you present the information matters.
➔ Never stop learning
Find inspiration and practice thinking
visually. It’s not about being perfect,
it’s about getting better at it.
1. Learn the shapes
● Build up an alphabet and a vocabulary
● Google images is your friend!
● “Go to the gym”
● Practice, practice, practice!
2. Use hierarchy
● Stress the important stuff
Learn to identify which
content is more important
and how to highlight it
● It’s like when we are talking:
if all words have the same
weight, it becomes dull and
unengaging, but if we shout
all the time, we don’t know
what’s really important.
3. Play with elements
● Add structure with connectors
(lines, arrows), dividers,
containers…
● Find the right balance between
having too much text and not
enough
● Practice your handwriting and
lettering skills
● Make the page scannable
4. Tell a story
● Present information in
the right order so people
can understand how it
links together.
● Use metaphors. They
grab people’s attention
and helps connect the
audience with our story
by using concepts they
already know.
5. Never stop learning
● Look at other drawings and visual notes,
the best way of learning is from others!
● Read comics!
● Join drawing and sketchnoting groups
● Do (at least!) a drawing a day
● Why not take a course or a workshop
about it?
● Experiment with new materials and
ideas
Other things to consider
● What is the goal?
● Who is your audience?
● What is the core message?
● Will you be present to explain it?
● How much time you got?
● What is the setting? Room set-up, attendees,
whiteboards…
Sketchnote I did
about doing user
research during
COVID-19
(This could have
been a page full of
text!)
Exercise
(5 min)
Draw yourself
using simple
shapes like these
ones, then take a
photo and put it
on the chat
Your drawings
Sketchnote of
this talk by
Chris Spalton
Thank you
Mar Murube (www.marmurube.com)
Insta/twitter/etc: @marmurube

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An introduction to visual thinking

  • 1. An introduction to visual thinking ✍ (non-artists welcome!) By Mar Murube (www.marmurube.com)
  • 2. What we’ll cover ● About me ● What do we call it (what is visual thinking) ● Benefits of drawing ● What we need ● 5 main tips ● Drawing exercise
  • 3. About me Most of you know me as a service designer and researcher, but I also have a background in illustration… ● Drawing non-stop since I was 2 ● Won a bunch of awards ● Studied some art in college, mostly self-taught ● Drew comics strips for magazines as a student ● Worked as a professional illustrator for many well-known brands around the world.
  • 4. Have you seen some of these kids draw? Always felt like an impostor, never felt I was good enough!
  • 5. What do we call it? Visual note-taking Sketchnoting Doodling Storyboarding Graphic facilitation etc Visualising concepts and using them to help us think and communicate more effectively.
  • 6. Visual thinking is not about being an artist. It’s about communicating with visual elements and using them to help us think.
  • 7. And the others are too! This is a drawing of a horse
  • 8. Benefits of drawing ● Helps us order our thoughts, patterns become clear ● Helps organise contents ● You get new ideas ● It opens people up ● Helps people focus on what’s important ● Helps communicate faster ● It’s FUN!!! It engages!
  • 10. What do you need? Materials - Something to draw on - Something to draw with - Something to capture it - Remember: Less is more - KISS
  • 11. 5 tips for drawing ➔ Learn the shapes Learn to draw basic shapes and combine them to create people and objects. Have a “drawing alphabet & vocabulary” ➔ Use hierarchy Learn to identify the most and the least important information. ➔ Play with elements Practice your handwriting, know how much or how little text you want to use. Use shapes to help you make your drawing scannable. ➔ Tell a story Have a narrative. The order in which you present the information matters. ➔ Never stop learning Find inspiration and practice thinking visually. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting better at it.
  • 12. 1. Learn the shapes ● Build up an alphabet and a vocabulary ● Google images is your friend! ● “Go to the gym” ● Practice, practice, practice!
  • 13. 2. Use hierarchy ● Stress the important stuff Learn to identify which content is more important and how to highlight it ● It’s like when we are talking: if all words have the same weight, it becomes dull and unengaging, but if we shout all the time, we don’t know what’s really important.
  • 14. 3. Play with elements ● Add structure with connectors (lines, arrows), dividers, containers… ● Find the right balance between having too much text and not enough ● Practice your handwriting and lettering skills ● Make the page scannable
  • 15. 4. Tell a story ● Present information in the right order so people can understand how it links together. ● Use metaphors. They grab people’s attention and helps connect the audience with our story by using concepts they already know.
  • 16. 5. Never stop learning ● Look at other drawings and visual notes, the best way of learning is from others! ● Read comics! ● Join drawing and sketchnoting groups ● Do (at least!) a drawing a day ● Why not take a course or a workshop about it? ● Experiment with new materials and ideas
  • 17. Other things to consider ● What is the goal? ● Who is your audience? ● What is the core message? ● Will you be present to explain it? ● How much time you got? ● What is the setting? Room set-up, attendees, whiteboards…
  • 18. Sketchnote I did about doing user research during COVID-19 (This could have been a page full of text!)
  • 19. Exercise (5 min) Draw yourself using simple shapes like these ones, then take a photo and put it on the chat
  • 21. Sketchnote of this talk by Chris Spalton
  • 22. Thank you Mar Murube (www.marmurube.com) Insta/twitter/etc: @marmurube