“I am not an artist.”  “I cannot draw or paint.”  “I am not creative.”

These are all lies that people tend to believe about themselves.  I know; I believed all of these fallacies.  I remember trying very hard when I was a kid to draw horses or castles or people.  The results were nothing more than hard scribbles.  So, like any disciplined young man I gave up my dreams of being an artist and turned that passion towards Tecmo Bowl.

The problem with these lies is that they keep perfectly creative beings from developing their gifts.  Recently, I have reignited my desire to draw, not so I could become an artist but so I could represent ideas in the best way possible (for me and others).  This led me to the work of Austin Kleon, whom I have blogged about before.  What I love about Austin Kleon is that he gives loads of training away for free.  Recently he taught a seminar entitled “Visual Note Taking” and he posted the slides AND audio for free on his website, along with some other tutorials.  These are invaluable resources for anyone who works with people and ideas.

Here’s why visual thinking matters (according to the Committed Sardine blog):

•                Visual thinking is an actual strategy for learning developed by Abigal Housen and Philip Yenawine in the 1980’s, which uses visualization to increase critical thinking.  It is an important strategy in the teaching and learning process.

•                Visual thinking has been shown to increase comprehension of ideas from six to 20 percent.

•                Visual thinking taps into imagination and intuition.  It can be very effective for exploring ideas that are not fully understood.

•                Visual thinking allows us to find new ways to represent information, therefore increasing perspective.

Personally, I use visual thinking and infographics in small group activities and in meetings that I’m leading.  It has made a profound impact on the group interaction and understanding, especially when I am introducing ideas that are brand new.  I have found Kleon’s material to be especially effective in brainstorming meetings.

So pick up a pen. Start doodling.  Draw!  Paint!  Be creative.  You’ll find yourself discovering gifts you were intended to use.