Visual sensemaking is a method to help you organize thoughts and plans by using simple content. It can be used in so many ways. If you happen to be artistically inclined, it can take you on some very interesting paths but it is there for anyone to use, whether you are an artist or not.
I think of the celebrated artist and writer Christy Brown. He was born with severe cerebral palsy and only had full control over one foot. The film adapted from his memoir, My Left Foot, was like a lightning bolt epiphany for many of us creatives back in the day. I remember it being discussed in my various circles, both literary and visual art. I fondly recall one dedicated but easily exasperated professor proclaiming, “If he can write novels and create paintings with his left foot, then surely all of you can stop putting things off and go out there and make your mark!” Indeed.
I’m an evangelist on the topic of creativity. I believe everyone can be an artist, yes, an actual artist and not just someone who is finally brave enough to pick up a pencil and draw a stick figure. Balderdash! We are not a nation of doodlers or aspiring doodlers! Yes, doodles are great but it’s long become too much a marketing ploy and less of a tool. I say that you can aim for the stars and create art–and it can be fun and even relatively easy. There are market-oriented art gurus who regularly dismiss artists, the art world (which I’ll admit can be confounding) and artistic talent as part of their brand. I can go into that in a separate post. Basically, I can’t think of anything more damaging than to add to the hate and misunderstanding of who and what an artist is all about. I say, yes, there is such a thing as talent and that involves a certain disposition towards art-making coupled with a will and determination. That’s all great stuff to aspire to, by the way!
I’ve drawn, and identified as an artist, all my life. I have gotten quite a bit of training too, including a college degree and more workshops than I can remember. I live and breathe art and that’s why I can safely say that I know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about. That said, someone who has never drawn is like someone who has never swam. You can learn to swim. You can learn to play the guitar. How far you take your skill is up to you. Just don’t dismiss the world of art and artists.
This brings me back to the relatively simple exercises I demonstrate in this video. We all have our own approaches. We can build upon this, layer upon layer. I like the idea, as the year is coming to an end, to jump right in and present this to you. As one year ends, another begins. It’s always time to start over again.