Last week I attended my sixth STC Summit, the annual conference for the Society of Technical Communicators. Technical communication is my day job, and this year I merged different parts of my life - tech comm and sketching - to present a session at the Summit.
I titled my talk How Sketching Is Like Technical Communication - that's the title slide above. As an artist and a technical writer it's a topic I think about a lot. I've noticed connections between the two - primarily that they both rely on understanding your subject to clearly convey information, and they are both tools to help you with understanding. I believe most people can benefit from sketching, so I proposed that we take the idea of art out of sketching to use it as a tool to understand a subject better, to improve memory and observation skills, and to help us in everyday life.
In my presentation I showed practical applications for sketching, such as the above sketch that shows planning I did for an exhibit. Because I drew this out in my sketchbook, I had a physical space to look at and think about it before I installed it. There are so many of these practical applications that I use without giving much thought to it, but now I'm thinking about them all the time. From the questions people asked after my presentation I see that people do want this information. So expect to see more of these sketches, if not here then definitely on Instagram (@elizabethalley) and Twitter (@alleyelizabeth). And you can also follow me on LinkedIn, where I'll be sharing tips about practical sketching.
If you're interested, here are the resources I used for my presentation...
Syllabus by Lynda Barry
The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown
See What I Mean by Kevin Cheng
Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice by D. B. Dowd
Drawing is Thinking by Milton Glaser
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
The Thinking Benefits of Doodling by Srini Pillay, health.harvard.edu/blog
What Does Doodling Do? by Jackie Andrade, onlinelibrary.wiley.com
Medical Doodles: 30 Minutes Well Spent by Carol Ann Courneya, cmaj.ca
Seven Science-Backed Reasons You Should Make Art, Even If You’re Bad at It by Sean Kane, businessinsider.com
Drawing Helps Us Remember Details Better Than Writing or Taking Photos by Taylor Dafoe, news.artnet.com
A Simple Way to Better Remember Things: Draw a Picture by Tim Herrera, nytimes.com
Drawing Can Help You Boost Your Memory – Here’s How by Abigail Cain, artsy.net
The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling by Steven Heller, theatlantic.com
Need to Remember Something? Better Draw It, Study Finds, sciencedaily.com
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