Drawing is Essential. Art is Not Required.

Posted by | Mar 29, 2016

3.29.16 Post“Art” is a loaded word within the field of visual practitioners and has been a popular topic online. Is what we do considered art? Does it matter? Years ago, I would cringe anytime anyone called me an artist, almost as if it undermined the “true” value of my work or implied that I was simply an entertainer. Now, I consider it a compliment and understand that it’s a way that people can make sense of this weird and quirky—but incredibly valuable work—that we do. The truth is, it’s not the “artist” label that trips us up, but rather a feeling that our work is not being used to its fullest potential.

Visual practitioners are visual storytellers. We use a combination of purposeful listening, intense thinking, clear drawings, and text to reflect and support the listeners’ experience. Not surprisingly, there’s a broad spectrum of our work depending on the experience of the practitioner, and their level of involvement in the design and in the room.

And whether we consider ourselves a graphic recorder or graphic facilitator or a combination of both, we can’t get sloppy and forget our basic techniques. After all, we’re visual practitioners. The use of visuals is core to the work we do. This means legible writing, knowing how to use the tools of our craft, and (most of all) developing our own visual drawing style. This style—simple or complex—reflect the ideas presented and will draw participants into the visual stories we tell.

Drawing skills are essential. It’s not more important than listening and understanding, but it must be mastered like any other part of the job. “Art” is not required.

Follow me on Instagram @graphicfootprints to see how just 15 minutes a day can improve your drawing skills. #scribbleoftheday #15minutesaday

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