Doodling and Comicgraphy

Most people doodle. Without thinking they scribble down some symbols or other images on paper while listening to the speakers in a meeting or maybe to someone on the other side of the telephone.
Studies have shown that people who doodle retain 30% more information than people who don’t. It seems the brain is stimulated by this activity.

While doodling is drawing while your attention is otherwise occupied, comicgraphy is drawings with a meaning to the comicgrapher and maybe even to the “reader”.
For this the comicgrapher needs to have a visual vocabulary. When the notes or drawings are looked at again the comicgrapher doesn’t have to guess what the meaning is. Let’s face it, even reading back notes can leave you in the dark to the intended meaning. Letters are also drawn symbols. We have agreed on the meaning of them.

Increase in focus
I’ve noticed an increase in focus for instance while taking rapid notes during a seminar or speech. My mind only has attention for what is being said. I don’t even lift my head up to look at the speaker.
In meetings this is a bit impolite so I have trained myself to draw even when my eyes aren’t on the paper. In meetings you are expected to “pay attention”. But I still dream away and draw solutions while listening at the same time. For this I use humor and visual jokes. It helps me to gain understanding of a project.
Comicraphy uses a lot of images supported by a minimum of words. Words are there for others who don’t share your common vocabulary and would still like to read your notes. Granted that someone who hasn’t attend a meeting or lecture might not understand everything. These require a different style of comicgraphy.

Usefulness
I use comicgraphy for many things, not only for taking notes during lectures, but also for brainstorming or making an extract of a book.
I also use it to design user flows, icons and web-pages or telling stories.
I’m pretty sure many of you also use comicgraphy. I would love to hear your thoughts. How has it helped you with your tasks at work or in your life?

The image for instance is my fear monster of 2009. I captured my fears and beliefs in one image.

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