Where Science Meets Muse

The Necessity of Reclaiming Drawing and Art as Tools for Communication

Posted by Plish on October 30, 2009

The Swimming Stags in Lascaux, France

Drawing -The Distinctly Human Endeavor

Long before humans were writing eloquent words with pen and paper, we were drawing pictures on walls, expressing our views of the world and even the future. 

The same thing can be said of each of us as individuals – we drew long before we could write words or sentences.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Yet our briefs, presentations, and books are filled with pages upon pages of words and often very few pictures.

Why is this?

Words that stir the imagination must be artfully combined to create effective and emotive communication,  or else they simply portray information in a boring fashion – they’re just words. 

It’s hard to convey emotions, information and perspectives with just words.

On the other hand, pictures, even the most basic, can convey information and emotion more effectively.  Take a look at these pictures made by children during the Spanish Civil War and tell me if you can’t get a pretty good idea of what was happening where and to whom in Spain.  How many pages would you have to read to get that information?

Children are great at drawing and illustrating.  In fact,  ask almost any parents and they’ll tell you that channeling the urge to draw and paint can be one of the most challenging tasks they have.  Drawing and communicating via art is natural for children.  As we get older we begin to judge our works more critically and receive more critical feedback.  We either deal with it and improve or we buckle under the scrutiny, say we don’t have any artistic talent and make ourselves masters of 75 page PowerPoint presentations filled with clip art and bullet points.

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

When in meetings, instead of asking people for opinions on what’s wrong, ask them to sketch it using stickfigures, finger paints, whatever!  The act of drawing it on paper will engage the person more than having them give a soliloquy. 

When submitting reports, make it a practice to draw the report and use that as the inspiration for words. 

We need to reclaim the use of drawings and other forms of art as communication tools. 

We’re Humans – We Draw!

If you’re still uptight about your drawing abilities, then check out the below three resources which I personally reference and recommend.

ID.Sketching – Fantastic website with sketching and drawing tutorials and information

Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies)

Sketching: Drawing Techniques for Product Designers

Drawing – It’s not just for children any more…

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