When we put our ideas down on paper, most of us write them out as written words using text. This absolutely works, but having both words and pictures stimulates our minds more intensely.
You’ve already done visual thinking without even knowing it. If you’ve ever moved objects around on a table to help tell a story, or mapped out an idea by sticking Post-it notes to a wall in particular places, you’ve used visual thinking.
If you wave your hands around to convey spatial relations during a discussion, you’re relying on something more than just words to get your message across. Visual thinking is just another powerful way to help solve problems, generate ideas, get organized, and communicate effectively.
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Now, you may be thinking you’re not an artist and so drawing or sketching your ideas doesn’t make sense for you, but slow your roll! We’re not painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel here, and branching out into graphical note taking doesn’t require an MFA degree.
All you need is a visual vocabulary that consists of a simple set of some basic shapes, like lines, arcs, and loops. The bottom line is that if you graduated from kindergarten, you’ve got this.
The good people at XPLANE created an e-book called How to Draw Your Idea to explain the basics of visual thinking through drawing and introduce you to a few basic concepts to get you started. It shows how it works, gives lots of great examples of visual thinking, teaches a few drawing basics, and demonstrates how to organize your drawings to get your points across.