'I can't draw' and the power of doodling in your journal

When you were a kid in school, did you ever have a teacher make or draw something that you were supposed to match?

Then in seeing the difference between your eight-year-old efforts and their degree-in-art efforts did you get really frustrated and decide you sucked at it?

Some people have natural talent in visual art. I remember the kids who created incredible things.  We would say they "can draw." And truth is that they drew all the time. It just flowed out of them.

However, something doesn't have to be core to your being to learn to do it.  You can have "casual skills."

Drawing is useful. While you can capture an idea with words. there is power in illustration. The first time I saw this in action, Michael Lagocki was "scribing" at a conference, I was fascinated. Everyone was.  He created big foam core boards with phrases from the speaker along with drawings that connected it all together. There was impact in having the big ideas captured in a way that visually highlighted them.  It anchored the ideas and showed how they related to each other.  But most importantly, we could see the ideas.  And because we could see them, we could remember them.

I began to copy Michael's techniques practicing when I took notes at meetings. But the biggest impact was in my journaling.

There is something significant about adding drawings to your journal.  Simple sketches, lines, arrows, clouds and boxes create differentiation on the pages which makes them easier to process and remember.  Our brains are drawn to this and it can often help you creatively problem-solve.  Not only that but you don't have to be good at it.  The bar is low.  Your journal is just for you.

Just like the way we learned to write letters--and everyone's handwriting is varied--we can learn to draw lines and shapes and add color to communicate an idea.

After years of doing this, I've actually learned to draw.  It isn't the same as Michael's comic book perfection, but then drawing isn't "core to my being." It is simply a tool.  And one that has transformed the way I think on paper.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall