For those of you inspired by Deke’s recent revival of his classic Cereal comic strip, it’s never too late for you to find your own inner cartoonist. I discovered this the other day during an excellent three-hour webinar on Visual Note-taking put on by the folks at VizThinkU. During the first segment of the seminar, Austin-based artist and author, Austin (from Austin) Kleon explained, “If you can write your own name, you can cartoon.” OK, maybe not cartooning as well as Austin or Deke can, but certainly well enough for effective visual communication. Here’s my favorite of Austin’s exercises:
1) Start with nine boxes (you can draw a box can’t you?) three rows of three boxes each. Add dots for eyes and half a triangle for noses.
2) Now, fill out the grid with the nine combinations of eyebrows and mouths that are possbile when you use either a straight line, upward curve, or downward curve. Note how simply changing the mouths and eyebrows give your blockhead creatures expressions.
3) Embellish. Of course, the artists in the audience took this to mean add hair, glasses, teeth and all kinds of artsy frivolity. But deep down, I’m still the wordy-girl with a Psych degree so I decided to emotionally analyze and caption my blockheads:
Whaddaya know, a few minutes into the seminar and I’m drawing people I practically recognize! Oh, Yes! (Next week, a little more on the actual practice of visual notetaking.)