Drawing as a thinking process

Manuel Herrera, innovation coordinator at Affton School District in Missouri, is passionate about drawing as a way to share thinking. There are a lot of ways to describe this type of drawing — visual thinking, sketchnoting or graphic recording — but no matter what you call it, it’s all about how we show our thinking to others.
One big obstacle many people face when it comes to sketching their ideas is competence. They think they can’t draw, so they get stuck. But Herrera says it’s not about the art; it’s about the thinking! Anyone who can think, can draw. To illustrate his point, he challenges people to draw four or five squiggles. Then he asks them to turn those squiggles into birds simply by adding eyes, beaks, legs and a tail.
Suddenly those squiggles have turned into different types of birds. If you ask someone to draw a bird, anxiety takes over. But if you ask them to add bird features to a shape, it’s easy for them to do.
The second strategy is to practice shapes — squares, circles, triangles, lines, slashes, arches, and dots. That’s all you need to communicate any idea. Practice drawing a lot of shapes and think of them as letters that come together to create words. Shapes create pictures. For example, draw a squiggle and a line to make a tree.
Herrera will be a Featured Voice at ISTE20. Watch his video to get a preview of his session, “Drawing as a Thinking Process.”