The Long Term Arc Of A Visual Practitioner (Stage 2: Going Pro) Featured - Verbal To Visual Video - Doug Neill - sketchnoting, visual note-taking, doodling

The Long-Term Arc Of A Visual Practitioner (Stage 2: Going Pro)

This is the second in a three-part series on what it looks like to build a visual thinking practice into your life, with the long term in mind. You can find Part 1 here and Part 3 here.

If you’ve got a solid base of core visual note-taking skills and have developed and applied a process to your initial reason for learning these visual tools, then you’re ready to move on to stage two of the long-term arc of a visual practitioner: going pro.

The defining characteristic of this stage is the ability to tailor your visual note-taking approach to the specifics of the context in which you’ll be taking them.

It’s the ability to branch out from that first application that you refined in Stage 1 and start adapting your skill set to new situations.

Let’s dig into the two steps that you’ll take each time that you bring your visual note-taking skills to the table in a new situation.

The Long Term Arc Of A Visual Practitioner (Stage 2: Going Pro) Full - Verbal To Visual Video - Doug Neill - sketchnoting, visual note-taking, doodling

Understand The Context

To be able to have a positive impact with your visual thinking skills, you first need to understand the context surrounding the situation.

Who is involved?

What exactly is going on?

Where is this taking place?

Why is it taking place?

When is it taking place?

The responses to those questions provide you with the necessary background information to tailor your visual note-taking approach, as we’ll see next.

Tailor Your Approach To That Context

Now that you’ve taken into account the details of the situation, you’re ready to make some decisions about how exactly you’ll tailor your approach so that you can use your visual thinking skills to have a positive impact on the situation.

First, decide what materials you’ll use.

Does small-scale or large-scale make more sense for this particular application?

Is it worth it to go digital right from the start via a tablet?

Is it just you that will be making marks, or will you get others involved in the idea-capturing process?

Next, nail down your process.

Decide what constraints make the most sense regarding how you’ll get ideas onto the page.

Game On

Now that you understand the context and you’ve tailored your approach to best serve the needs of that situation, you’re ready to put pen to paper!

Use your focus to help you enter a state of flow, and when in doubt, think back to the why component of the context, and react accordingly.

Game on.

Next we’ll be exploring how to evolve with the times.


Want To Dig Deeper?

If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.

If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos.

And if you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom.