Sketching your ideas primer

Think of this as your cliffnotes for this series. You can read this section and call it a day, or dive deeper into each section.

How this series works

Welcome to the first series at Nineteen80.IO. We've structured this series in a modular format with three main sections.

  1. The Primer - think of this as your cliff notes of the whole section.
  2. Three Topics - we cap the topics to three sections to make it easier to digest. Each of these are modular and do not require any order to read.
  3. Recap and Practice - this final section brings it all together similar to this primer but now with application. Use the practice module over and over. Think of it as your learning mediation practice. Finally, we include additional resources for you to dig further.

Sketching your ideas primer

The majority of our brain is built around visual processing. When we sketch our ideas, we help activate those neurons and create new connections. As kids, we start out separating drawing from language, but at some point in our adulthood, we shed the drawing part away. This series is intended to help you get that back.

Visual alphabet and your icon library

We have an alphabet for words and numbers but there is not an agreed-upon alphabet for visuals. Below is one of my favorite set.


With these basic building blocks, you can start to build our your own library. These are icons that you can recall quickly and sketch them quickly. In my experience, I suggest keeping this core set to no more than 10-15, building up more as you get more experience.


Framing your ideas

Now that you can sketch out basic ideas, another skill is to add a visual metaphor or frame to your ideas. It can be as simple as a story frame like beginning, middle, and end, or alternatively past, present, and future.

Or it can be as creative as a metaphor like a tree, cliff, or path forward.


Hand lettering

Most of us mortals can't handwrite anymore because we type everything out. Slow down to increase your legibility. Handwriting is important because we are going to label our sketches. Remember that this isn't Pictionary, it's sketching your ideas.


Putting it all together and building a practice habit

In the final section, you'll learn how to put all this together and build a sketching habit. I included a practice video which is really like a self-guided meditation.



Up next

Visual alphabet and your icon library

We all know the 26 letters of the alphabet and numbers but we don't have a visual alphabet for sketching our ideas.

Series episodes

Sketching your ideas primer
Sketching your ideas primer
Key Topics: Sketching
Key Topics: Sketching
Visual alphabet and your icon library
Visual alphabet and your icon library
Framing your ideas
Framing your ideas
Hand lettering
Hand lettering
Sketching Recap
Sketching Recap
Sketching: Putting it together
Sketching: Putting it together
Sketching practice
Sketching practice
Sketching Resources
Sketching Resources