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Ben Crothers Director, Second Road
@bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
Sketching to explore,
explain and envision
Hi everyone, I’m Ben
DESIGN TOOLS &
TECHNIQUES
BRING OUT
CREATIVITY
HELP BRING
VISIONS TO LIFE
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers...
Words fail
Visuals stick Image: Rosie Joyce
So I’m not talking about this…
…or this
Sketching to help us generate and
communicate ideas to others
The basics, figures and faces
Common iconic objects, visual ...
How comfortable are
you with sketching?
3 types of sketching
LITERAL
REPRESENTATION
VISUAL 

METAPHOR
CONCEPTUAL
REPRESENTATION
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben....
No more stick figures!
The basics
Figures convey attitude,
action, and story
Sketch the body language
Sketching figures and expression
Ben Crothers | @bencr...
Faces convey emotion,
connection, and story
Think in comic language
Sketching faces and emotion
Ben Crothers | @bencrother...
Amping up your visual vocabulary
Sketching objects
and icons
All objects can be broken into
simple lines and shapes,
such as rectangles and circles
Basic objects
Ben Crothers | @bencr...
Draw light foundation
lines first in pencil or light
marker
Draw the final lines in
black marker using the
foundations lin...
Foundation lines
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
Foundation lines
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
Foundation lines
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
Foundation lines
Frames and ribbons
highlight importance
Thought and speech
bubbles are good for
storyboarding
Framing devices
Ben Crothers...
Vary line weight for emphasis
Add lozenges to group objects
Add shadows to anchor the
objects in space
Tips for adding vit...
Playing your movie in other people’s heads
Visual metaphor
We understand new concepts by
relating them to previous
concepts
Simple images are powerful visual
metaphors for communica...
Clichés are boring. Visualising clichés is awesome.
Tip: Play the ‘What Would My
Boring Uncle Say?’ game
MEANING METAPHOR ...
Visual metaphor - examples
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
Combine objects and icons for richer meaning
without words
Visual metaphor - on Red Bull
Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben...
Moving beyond simple Venn diagrams
Systems and
relationships
Explore different comparison patterns to
show relationships between elements
Connections and proportions
Ben Crothers | @b...
Sketch arrows to convey
journey and process
Treat the arrows like
characters in themselves,
and bring them to life
Time an...
Show structured events and sequences by
combining arrows and shapes
Use business process notation, like
fishbones and swim...
Final words
Get into the sketchbook habit
Set yourself challenges - one new icon a
week, draw on the whiteboard with your team
Find yo...
Thanks
@bencrothers
• Drawing Ideas (Mark Baskinger and William Bardel) - my
favourite sketching book right now
• Drawing on the Right Side of...
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Sketching to explore, explain and envision

This is a 1-hour sketch-along talk I gave at a Pivotal Labs meetup in Sydney: http://www.meetup.com/PivotalSydney-Tech-Talks/events/233277706/ . Grab a pencil and paper, and follow the examples in this deck to learn more about how to explore, explain and envision ideas using simple sketching, visual metaphor, and conceptual illustration.

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Sketching to explore, explain and envision

  1. 1. Ben Crothers Director, Second Road @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au Sketching to explore, explain and envision
  2. 2. Hi everyone, I’m Ben DESIGN TOOLS & TECHNIQUES BRING OUT CREATIVITY HELP BRING VISIONS TO LIFE Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  3. 3. Words fail
  4. 4. Visuals stick Image: Rosie Joyce
  5. 5. So I’m not talking about this…
  6. 6. …or this
  7. 7. Sketching to help us generate and communicate ideas to others The basics, figures and faces Common iconic objects, visual metaphor Conceptual sketching for systems and relationships What I am talking about: Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  8. 8. How comfortable are you with sketching?
  9. 9. 3 types of sketching LITERAL REPRESENTATION VISUAL 
 METAPHOR CONCEPTUAL REPRESENTATION Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  10. 10. No more stick figures! The basics
  11. 11. Figures convey attitude, action, and story Sketch the body language Sketching figures and expression Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  12. 12. Faces convey emotion, connection, and story Think in comic language Sketching faces and emotion Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  13. 13. Amping up your visual vocabulary Sketching objects and icons
  14. 14. All objects can be broken into simple lines and shapes, such as rectangles and circles Basic objects Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  15. 15. Draw light foundation lines first in pencil or light marker Draw the final lines in black marker using the foundations lines as a guide Foundation lines Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  16. 16. Foundation lines Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  17. 17. Foundation lines Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  18. 18. Foundation lines Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  19. 19. Foundation lines
  20. 20. Frames and ribbons highlight importance Thought and speech bubbles are good for storyboarding Framing devices Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  21. 21. Vary line weight for emphasis Add lozenges to group objects Add shadows to anchor the objects in space Tips for adding vitality and interest Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  22. 22. Playing your movie in other people’s heads Visual metaphor
  23. 23. We understand new concepts by relating them to previous concepts Simple images are powerful visual metaphors for communicating concepts Visual metaphor Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  24. 24. Clichés are boring. Visualising clichés is awesome. Tip: Play the ‘What Would My Boring Uncle Say?’ game MEANING METAPHOR SKETCH This data is of dubious quality Take this with a grain of salt Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  25. 25. Visual metaphor - examples Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  26. 26. Combine objects and icons for richer meaning without words Visual metaphor - on Red Bull Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  27. 27. Moving beyond simple Venn diagrams Systems and relationships
  28. 28. Explore different comparison patterns to show relationships between elements Connections and proportions Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  29. 29. Sketch arrows to convey journey and process Treat the arrows like characters in themselves, and bring them to life Time and flow Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  30. 30. Show structured events and sequences by combining arrows and shapes Use business process notation, like fishbones and swimlanes Order and sequence Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  31. 31. Final words
  32. 32. Get into the sketchbook habit Set yourself challenges - one new icon a week, draw on the whiteboard with your team Find your style - develop your look over time Display your sketches Final words Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au
  33. 33. Thanks @bencrothers
  34. 34. • Drawing Ideas (Mark Baskinger and William Bardel) - my favourite sketching book right now • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Betty Edwards) - great approach; something from outside the UX domain • Sketching User Experiences (Bill Buxton) - the most often referenced book • Sketching User Experiences - The Workbook • Rapid Viz: A New Method for the Rapid Visualisation of Ideas (Kurt Hanks & Larry Belliston) References Ben Crothers | @bencrothers | ben.crothers@secondroad.com.au

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