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Mama’s Drawing Lessons: Little Drawings That Makes Great Design Impact

My Mom’s an epitome of care, compassion, love and understanding. When we were growing up as kids, she would show us how to draw. Her favorite lesson was drawing the “Okuko” meaning chicken (no wonder my Pops was always asking of chicken, turkey much later LOL!) meaning chicken. That was the first thing we knew how to draw very well. Teaching us this single visual skill would greatly inspire quite a lot of things for me later in life. It seemed Mama was telling us that pictures speak louder than words.

In primary school, I hated arithmetic-related subjects. I loved art related stuffs that gave me the freedom to express myself and ideas. I would later find out that there are 7 different intelligences. In 1983, Howard Gardner, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, published his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The following are brief descriptions of Gardner’s Seven Intelligences:

  1. Verbal-linguistic: People gifted in verbal-linguistic intelligence tend to be good at reading, writing and memorizing words and dates. They learn best by reading, taking notes and listening to lectures. These people are left-brain dominant.
  2. Logical-mathematical: Those gifted with this intelligence do well in math. The are comfortable with numbers, numerical problems, logic and abstractions. These people are often left-brain dominant.
  3. Body-kinesthetic: These student are often gifted physically. They ted to learn better by moving around and by doing. This intelligence comes out through the gym, football field, dance studio, woodshop or auto shop.
    Professional athletes, dancers, actors, models, surgeons, fire fighters, soldiers, police, racecar drivers and mechanics are often gifted with this intelligence.
  4. Spatial: This intelligence is strong in art, visualization, design and puzzles. These people are generally considered right-brain dominant.
  5. Musical: This intelligence is sensitive to music, rhythm, pitch, melody and timbre. This kind of people often sings and plays musical instruments well.
  6. Interpersonal: These people are communicators. They are usually popular and extroverts, displaying sensitivity to other’s moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations.
  7. Intrapersonal: This is often called emotional intelligence. This intelligence deal with self-reflection and being introspective. Emotional intelligence refers to having a deep understanding of yourself, knowing your own strengths and weakness, and what makes you unique, with the ability to handle reactions and emotions.
    Intrapersonal intelligence is crucial for high stress environments. In fact, intrapersonal intelligence is critical for success in almost any field or profession.

Unfortunately for me, I had to do sciences in secondary school because, at the time, we didn’t have an Arts teacher or let’s say I just wanted to belong to the “eficos” meaning bookworms in those days –then when you were in Art or Commercial class, you were perceived as being weak. During lessons, instead of writing topics of any subject we were been taught, I would rather draw them .

I took this same habit to higher institution and I must confess that it helped me a great deal. I had discovered my dominant intelligence, SPATIAL. I had quite a lot of courses that seemed incredibly hard to understand. So guess what I did? I drew my understanding of the definitions, features, processes of operation etc. For me, so long I can interpret my drawings (which were pretty funny) I found it easier to understand the courses over time.

Today, I still do quite a lot of drawing to help me visualize seemingly complex subjects that I read. I find it more exciting and interactive to draw what I read and then interpret or write them down later in my own terms and understanding. This keeps me engaged in reading and has become one of the fastest ways of ensuring I finish any literature material I handle. If I’m reading something that looks boring; too analytical or technical, I simply draw them and later on, I start getting a quick, clear grasp of the basic idea of what the author tries to communicate and then understanding becomes a smooth scale.

Do I Need To Learn How To Draw To Be Good Designer?
For me, the ability to draw is an additional advantage for you. If you can draw, you can quickly make scribbling of how you visualize the customers brief and that hastens up the design process when you are ready to bring those abstract concepts to reality on your computer.

Drawing, So What
The fact that the computer has replaced the traditional pencil or hand brush is one proof that you shouldn’t disqualify yourself from carrying on with your career as a designer instead of musing over the fact that you don’t have drawing skills. In true essence the major thing you are required to know is just to be able to do basic sketches that reflect your understanding of placement of elements within the design.

The other thing why you shouldn’t kill yourself over if you don’t know how to draw but want to be a digital artist is the fact that employers don’t ever make it a requirement in their recruitment exercise. Have you ever seen it advertised in any Nigerian newspaper that they need a graphic designer that must have drawing skills? No what they majorly ask of is your knowledge about today’s software; your years of experience and probably your portfolio. It’s a different ball game if they are looking for an illustrator because drawing is a paramount skill required for this position.

Drawing Is Planning
You would want to put your idea well marked out for a great design project. When you take time out to draw –let me not scare you, say sketch, you are able to get a clearer visual understanding of the project at hand. This is only natural because, as humans, we are more visually oriented. With just a little sketch, understanding is a smooth scale.

Can I Learn How To Draw?
There’s no skill you can’t learn if you put your heart and find commitment towards it. It’s as simple as that. From taking your drawings from stick like objects to fleshing out with your knowledge of anatomy all takes practice and commitment.

This my drawing habit led to my first ever infographic.

So what other ways do you get better understanding of what you read?


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