How to Turn Thoughts into Sketches, with Visual Expert Dave Gray

One of the fundamental communication skills everyone needs to have is the ability to turn thoughts into sketches. But where do you go to learn how to do that?

Look no further than the video of this workshop recorded Sept. 26, 2008, where my friend and visual thinking expert Dave Gray of xPlane shows you the visual fundamentals you need to know to start illustrating your ideas.

To launch the workshop video, click this link.

Video Timeline (Total Time 00:55:48)
Time Activity Detail
0:00:00 Introduction Cliff introduces Dave Gray – founder of XPlane –
helping people turn complicated stories into pictures, learning the
fundamentals
00:03:24 Dave Gray Introduces himself with a few slides – XPlane – often called “The Visual
Thinking Company”
00:04:50 Mapping company information, for complex companies
00:06:30 Boxes and Lines – getting out of that habit
00:07:30 Find where the most meaningful useful knowledge lies, using stickie notes
spread out the information, making your napkin sketch
00:08:50 Napkin sketch turned into a colorful graphic image that tells a
story
00:13:00 Starting to use the basic tools, pencil and paper vs. electronic sketching
tools
00:14:20 How companies are most often not aligned, actual procedure vs. historical
procedural documentation, how XPlane works with companies to become better
aligned
00:17:00 the ABCs and 123s of making basic visuals, drawing is no harder than
learning to read or write
00:20:25 Analogy of using clip art for your presentations would be like copying and
pasting words from another presentation into yours
00:21:20 Using SketchBook Pro – or pen and paper – and tablet PCs to work on your
visual alphabet
00:25:20 Start with a decimal point, line and arc etc…of the visual
alphabet
00:27:15 Flows vs. Forms in the visual alphabet, 12 shapes will lead you to be able
to draw anything
00:29:50 Brainstorming, outlining ideas, rough draft, final document – use similar
process for drawing images
00:32:00 Using path or sequence from start to finish of a presentation, different
ways of organizing and grouping information
00:35:40 Adding structure – what are the relationships and connections between your
information?
00:37:00 Drawing a car using simple shapes, practice will help improve your
skills
00:44:00 Abstract thinking vs.visual thinking, everything falls into value, grouping
and structure, discussing visual frameworks
00:46:35 Head, heart and hands = Logical, emotional, practical – the different ways
of working through information and telling a story
00:50:30 The need to appeal to the audience
00:51:50 Questions from workshop attendees
00:54:30 Wrap Up
00:55:48 End
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