From sketchy to sketcher

Every day while reading the morning newspaper, I’m always intrigued by the daily cartoon jokes in them and wonder whether I would be able to draw any of it myself.  That is until today when I attended an event delivered by Graham Shaw at a careers event. After the two hour workshop, I was astonished to find a new talent inside me that is ‘Sketching’.

On our day to day activity, we come across a lot of information via many different sources like magazines, the internet, television, books etc. Studies suggest 90% of our brains input are from visual sources and the human brain’s aptitude for picture recognition is limitless. 

Research conducted by The University of Waterloo, Canada in which a sample audience were asked to remember information based on written notes and sketches proved that sketches outnumbered written notes by twice the size.

This was the impetus of today’s event. How to retain maximum information in the most efficient way and it turns out drawing is the key to memorising a large amount of notes. But when this simple solution is discussed among the population most of them, like me, would just shrug and say they don’t know how to draw. 

But you don’t have to be a genius in fine arts in order to draw basic shapes and symbols, the only thing required is the motivation and determination to try something new and use these basics to chalk out information.

Today we were a bunch of students who were ready to learn this trick and we found the best teacher we could have ever imagined. Graham provided us with the most important and basic insight, to remember something we need to follow a few steps: see, hear, say and do.

In our case ‘do’ meant draw, the first thing we learnt was to draw human faces with different expressions such as happy, sad, angry, shocked, confused etc to provide your future self with emotional context. We also came to know about the power of colours used in cartoons. They have the ability to enhance the visibility of an image which then makes it easier for anyone to retain the information.

All these drawing things are awesome but sitting during the event I was thinking as a Finance/Business student I have to make notes on various abstract topics which don’t have any figures like Growth, Teamwork, Sales etc. How can I sketch them? 

To my surprise, Graham explained this very doubt brilliantly. The idea is not to draw these words but to something which reflects them. For example, for teamwork, you can draw many people joining hands together, for growth a tree can be used and so on. One way to enhance our art is to write the word for which we are sketching.

The event even ended with pizza and drinks for everyone attending the event and we got to network with each other. Here again, I found out that it was not only business students who were there but also students from Archeology, English and many other fields. 

The conclusion, making notes with sketches help us to remember them pretty easy and also for a long amount of time.

Mohsin Parvez.

If you’d like to learn more about Grahams technique you can do so here;

TEDx Hull – ‘Why people believe they can’t draw –and how to prove they can’

TEDx Vienna ‘How to draw to remember more’

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