The Black Eggs Project
August 10, 2012
The view backstage
August 18, 2012

cocktail napkin sketch, by Kevin Lee Allen, moisture wrinkles and random stain. Done at some bar somewhere at some time

Designers have to find ways to communicate with clients across a broad spectrum of industries. The default way many of us do that is by quickly sketching out an idea on whatever blank surface is within reach. As in many aspects of life, business is often conducted in a social setting, over a drink, a cup or six of coffee or a quick bite. While we’re getting to know each other or catching up, our banter is usually peppered with snippets of upcoming projects that we might be able to work together on. It is in these moments where our cocktail napkin sketches enter the conversation. Most people are visual learners, we learn more faster by watching someone do something than we do from reading about how to do something.

Today, an interesting piece on doodling, “I Draw Pictures All Day” appeared on my desk top. I was instantly drawn (I know, being lazy with wording) to it, because the sub head “So, you do nothing all day.” hit a nerve, as I’ve heard so many times over the years in response to the question of what we do for a living.

From the article: (emphasis mine)

It’s often considered an empty practice, a waste of time. They’re seen as an empty mind puttering along with the busy work of scribbling.

But for us designers and artists, drawing pictures all day is integral to our process and to who we are as creative people, and despite the idea that those who doodle waste time, we still get our work done. So, then, why are those of us who draw pictures all day even tempted to think that someone who is doodling or drawing pictures in a meeting or lecture is not paying attention?

What does it mean to be a doodler, to draw pictures all day? Why do we doodle? Most of all, what does it mean to our work? It turns out that the simple act of scribbling on a page helps us think, remember and learn.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our studio is fully equipped with all the cool tools of a 21st Century designer. However, there’s still a bit of old school in us, as we are never without our trusty Moleskines and either a Caran D’ache or Parker Jotter. The physical act of putting pen to paper helps me think. And pen and paper are less susceptible to the occasional hazards of mixing inspired idea generation and alcohol.

“Sketchbooks are not about being a good artist. They’re about being a good thinker.” -Jason Santa Maria

I encourage you to visit Smashing Magazine and read the article, I hope you’ll be inspired to pick up a pen and doodle. It is good for your brain and your heart.


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