Sketching & How to Win at Pictionary

Published Categorized as Design, Sketching, Speaking
Sketching and how to win at Pictionary title slide

I always find it interesting when people say that they’re “not very good at drawing” – I find myself saying it, even though drawing has been a hobby of mine since I was a kid.

In my day job as a user experience designer, I often come across situations where communicating with words, or even vigorous gestures and sound effects, just don’t quite get the message across. Usually this is just when I’m working things out for myself, but sometimes when explaining or discussing things with others. I’ve started to bring my hobby more into my work and get more confident at sketching and sharing sketches to communicate and work through ideas. Even for someone who has been drawing for some time, this is scary!

That’s why I started to try and think of this as not art, but sketching to get an idea across quickly, as you would in a game of Pictionary. It can be fast, scrappy and low fidelity – doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense in the moment. It’s much easier to start sketching without that fear of being less than perfect and the pressure of being an artist.

Top tips: 1) Don't be an artist, this is not art. 2) Consider your audience. 3) Make it snappy. 4) Use what you got. 5) Think, then sketch

This talk that I did for DDD Perth was to share that sentiment and what has worked for me, and to get more people sketching – even if they’re not artists. It was a really fun event and such an honour to get to speak along with so many amazing developers, designers and data scientists! I was a little overwhelmed with the response and the feedback afterwards, and so happy that some people told me that they were going to try and start sketching in their work soon.

Photo of a group of amazing ladies at DDD Perth, all wearing my "Trying my best" pin!
Photo by Amy Kapernick
Photo of me giving this talk at the DDD Perth 2018 conference

You can see my talk slides and view a video of a previous run of this talk at Fenders Perth.

I also did my best to take sketchnotes through the day from all the great talks I went to – check the DDD Perth website and social media for photos and videos soon.

Sketchnote of the talk "Towards a Welcoming Web"
Towards a welcoming web, by Karolina Szczur (@fox)
Sketchnotes of the talk Looking for a pet project? Here's a list of humanity's biggest challenges.
Looking for a pet project? Here’s a list of humanity’s biggest challenges, by Rimma and Diana
Sketchnote of the talk What to do with our unconscious bias
What to do with our unconscious bias, by Ming Johanson (@mingjohanson)
Sketchnote of 10 UX principles you should know
10 UX principles you should know, by Phil Delalande (@phildelalande)
Sketchnote of the talk Rise of the tech influencer
Rise of the tech influencer, by Michelle (@msanfor)

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