Drawing Beyond Colleen-O-Vision

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.)

Next entry:Visual Notetaking and Graphical Recording

Previous entry:Martini Hour 015, in Which Colleen Attempts to Represent Deke’s Adoring Masses All By Herself

  • Rules me out

    Darn, I can’t write my own name.

    I’m out.

  • Nice Lettering…

    Fine penmanship is in itself a creative endeavor.

    Your obvious choice of a nice pen and Moleskin already make you one of the creative types.

  • Great work Colleen!

    Now which one is me? ;)

    Mordy Golding


  • Anyone could be you, Mordy…

    depending on your mood. Just need to draw an extra down-facing half-circle on the top of their heads.

  • LOL!


    Mordy Golding


  • Very cool! And all without

    Very cool! And all without PS….

  • Well, not exactly without PS, Elizabeth

    Had to white balance my Moleskine pages back to the correct color in ACR. ;-) I disconnected my scanner a few weeks ago and had to use the DSLR for these.

  • What is \“paper\”...

    ...and what is “pens”? My old man told me about those things, but I considered them to be mere fiction. Things from a 15th dimension, so to speak.

    Also, I have to admit I’m perplexed as to why some tools in Photoshop are named after such archaic things. Items like “pen”, “eraser” and “hand” tools. I guess a little history edumacation is considered useful conversation ammo during a nice quantum phaser party :-)


    Happy, happy, joy, joy!


  • Cheers to the author for

    Cheers to the author for giving me some solid ideas