Drawing in Research

I’m giving a webinar for the PHC Knowledge Translation Community of Practice today and wanted to jot down a few notes as a companion. Many of the activities I have included were used in my Going Visual workshops at SFU. For the sake of this session, I am revising them below. The title of the webinar is…

“Drawn to Your Research: Using Visuals to Improve Academic and Non-Academic Presentations”, will guide participants through a series of fun drawing exercises designed to amplify your visual literacy. No previous drawing experience is required, only a willingness to make your marks!

Visual Practice

I must clarify first what I will mean by “presentations”.  It could in fact be a powerpoint presentation that you are working in which, many researches would be used to. But for the sake of this session I will widen the scope of presentation to anytime you are telling the story of your research, whether that be in the boardroom, the classroom or elevator. You may in fact find yourselves presenting your research on the back of the proverbial napkin, and if so, this workshop is intended directly for you.

Drawing, and more specifically drawing comics has been making headway in academia lately. In my world of teaching and learning, we use it to help synthesize ideas for the classroom, but in the research world the audience and the time you have with them can be much more diverse, and unpredictable. Regardless of audience, there is something much more approachable about a quick doodle or sketch compared to a graph, diagram or white paper. Case in point Jorge Cham (PHD comics) and Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to bring us  We Have No Idea a collection of comics dedicated to answering some of sciences toughest problems, in a comic book format.

So many ideas, a sketchnote

Continue reading “Drawing in Research”

Making lines

This series of images is part of research project intended to provide students and instructors some ideas to put into their own visual “toolbox”. We are prototyping and developing more of these resources over at bythepen.ca which as of this posting is still only a fresh WP install with no content. I HAD put some content in there, a few plugins and images etc, but in my haste made a few mistakes and had to restart fresh. Consider it COMING SOON. Nevertheless my partner on this project , and I will be presenting tomorrow at the Educational Technology Users Group workshop and are all about showing our process! Things have unfolded in the past couple of months in a very organic way and since we will not have time to dive deep into the ‘toolbox’ portion of the project (most likely) I thought I would share some of these doodlings here. I could deconstruct and annotate the intention for each of these images, but for now I will will just let you click through the gallery and draw your own conclusions.

Well I guess there is one more thing. As per the terms outlined in my ds106 membership I MUST PRODUCE AN ANIMATED GIF of all works, creatives, designs and concepts to be published as open resources to the internet. So here is that as well.


Practicepracticepractice… aaand repeat.

Voracious V - 0215
Voracious V – 0215

I continue reflecting on my drawing practice and experimenting with ways I use the internet and computers to augment that practice. This morning it boiled down to… “what am I doing with the drawings I generate at Dr Sketchy? where are they going? what’s the point?!”  I have a desire to share them with others, and to use them as stepping stones as I work through this thinking out loud, but have many questions about platforms, presentation styles, plugins, and on and on and on.

What inspired me yesterday was coming across a tumblr blog of a buddy from the Sketching classes, Mr. Vincent K. Smith A.K.A Creepstown. He’s set up a tumblr blog for his sketches which is FANTASTIC, and whose site I at once want to copy.


Then of course begins the second guessing. What is all this about using a 3rd party social media site, when I have a perfectly functioning blog right here? Why should Tumblr get me content for free (and the traffic!) when I could be generating that energy at jasontoal.ca. BUT… there is a community of tumblr blogs out there that I follow, why not join them? The lightbox is pretty good and SEPARATE from my blog, a good place to post “quick and dirty sketches” without having to commit to a thoughtful post, and I get the benefit of the huge tumblr audience and all their reblogging and favouriting to help get my work seen. But is pure numbers my objective here? Also, I am an instagram user, and found a lovely little plugin that takes all my IGs and imports them into my blog for posterity.  It saves as ‘draft’ by default, by I like the idea that I GET TO KEEP MY INSTAGRAM posts, and could do so wether IG stays afloat or not. There could potentially be similar plugins for tumblr.

I have come to no ultimate decisions about how I will proceed sharing my sketches, but I will make the effort to do so.  Not the finished pieces, but the sketches.  The 1, 2, and 5 minute poses that we do during our warm up. I often throw these away because I cant keep everything, but inevitably there are little pieces of magic in these drawings that I love and want others to see.

What I intended for this post which was to scan the drawings from my last session and share them in a gallery here and that is all. I am not sure tumblr will play a role but honestly if I can have my cake and eat it too why not?

In this practice I can say it is the actual scanning and file maintenance that is the most tedious task and biggest barrier to sharing. I am going to focus on scanning, uploading and sharing and will continue to experiment with different Gallery tools, Social Media and Plugins to share them in a meaningful way.