About this project
Thank you for joining me in this crowdfunded, global launch of my second book, The Idea Shapers: The power of putting your thinking in your own hands. When we reach the goal, we'll celebrate a new book that will give you and so many others clear, engaging, fun and powerful steps to make drawing your best thinking tool.
In The Idea Shapers, I lead you through a system of elementary visual thinking concepts. Every Idea Shaper is a distinct method with a visual and spatial component and a thinking component. Each one is a specific building block. You build them up into more complex drawings to tackle more complex problems. You can immediately put these tools into practice approaching your next project. The 300 some pages of The Idea Shapers comes from my lifetime experience of thinking through drawing.
I am a lifelong learner and a lifelong drawer. I believe thinking and drawing go hand in hand. I was the child who got revved up by hands-on projects, but powered down with a book in my hands (unless I was pouring over a map, diagram or the anatomy overlays in my family’s encyclopedias). I was the extremely fortunate student who was given lots of leeway by my teachers to redesign my assignments, making them more tactile, stimulating and challenging. I have enjoyed a life getting to work in the way I work best. In 1996, I began a career as a graphic facilitator. I listen, draw and think professionally, making live, large scale drawings of conversations and presentations. I witness the positive change that occurs when someone sees their idea captured on a piece of paper. I see how a group’s dynamics change when everyone is literally on the same page. For nearly two decades, I have been making a wonderful living working to my strengths listening, organizing, synthesizing and drawing for groups of people, to help them do better work. I am fortunate and grateful.
And I want more.
I don’t want to be the one person in the room drawing. I want you to feel the power and possibilities in paper and pen. I want you to work to your visual, spatial and kinesthetic strengths. I want you to discover and develop untapped skills. I want you to feel the shift when your drawing helps you see a difficult situation from a new perspective. The joy of making new meaning when you make a drawing for yourself. I want you cultivate drawing as an adaptable skill, forever at your fingertips.
You may feel like drawing is impossible. Gave it up back in grade school. You may hold a specific memory of how old you were, what you were drawing and who told you you couldn’t draw. And just like that — you put down your markers and crayons.
Now is the time to pick up paper and pen again. These very simple materials are your entry into the work. In the pages of The Idea Shapers, you will learn straightforward techniques, very simple actions you can use over and over again. You’ll experience the relief of getting your swarm of ideas out of your head and made tangible on paper. You will explore your thinking spatially, letting your ideas go in any direction they need to. Using The Idea Shapers, you will find the shape of a difficult project or navigate the terrain of learning a new topic. The Idea Shapers guide you through making choices, making decisions, every time you make a drawing. These physical drawings make your thinking concrete. These properties of drawing — it is simple, tangible, spatial and physical — are what makes drawing so powerful. I feel power, control, relief, joy when I draw. This is why I love drawing.
While I may be more strongly hardwired for visual thinking and spatial reasoning than the average bear, and have forged my skills with years of practice, I know I am not an exception.
I am not alone.
The Idea Shapers is for anyone who wants to strengthen their visual thinking muscle. For those who want to learn using their hands, to engage their brains with their bodies. This book is for those who know the old methods of slogging through pages and screens of text, text and more text does not work for navigating the complexity around us. The Idea Shapers is for anyone who tackles complex projects, or makes difficult decisions, or simply wants a fantastic tool to clarify their thinking and reduce feeling overwhelmed.
Back this project, read The Idea Shapers, and put the power of your thinking in your own hands.
I have already made substantial progress on the book. The book's formatting is established and I have cracked the code on the all-important structure of the book. I estimate the same length of 300 pages as my first book, The Graphic Facilitator's Guide: How to use your listening, thinking and drawing skills to make meaning. Currently, I’ve got 150 pretty solid pages written. In my process, the structure is the biggest mental lifting. Since that is well in hand, I now have the easier task of filling in and illustrating the details. I need your help raising the funds that let me focus and finish.
The book begins with The Draw Quad, a model designed to help you broaden your definition of drawing. Most folks don't see a use for drawing in their lives because they only think "good" or "right" drawing is Drawing to See, representational drawing. The Graphic Facilitator's Guide focuses on Drawing to Do, being the one person in the room drawing to facilitate a group's work. The Idea Shapers is for everyone in the room because it gives you clear steps for Drawing to Think through your ideas. Developing your own personal drawing practice.
The core of the book is a five-step model that walks you through The Idea Shapers. Each individual Idea Shaper is so simple that I hope you say, "Of course! I can do that." You use them together to do complex visual thinking.
These five sections build from my 2013 TEDx talk, Shape Your Thinking. Here's how you hold the power to shape your thinking:
Look at the pile of information in front of you, or the swirl of ideas in your head. Pull out one pertinent piece of information. The ability to discern what is relevant and distill it into useful language is the first, crucial step.
2. SORT + GROUP
As you identify chunks, you begin sorting and grouping them, finding patterns and noting categories and themes.
3. CONNECT + CONTAIN
You'll use simple lines and shapes to define relationships between your individual chunks and groupings.
These Idea Shapers involve the size of the canvas you are working with and the relative size of ideas to each other. You can go big to expand and organize many levels of details, or go small to force a summation of your ideas.
Once you have done the first five steps, you step back and see what new ideas and conclusions surface. In these Idea Shapers you synthesize, conclude, create new meaning.
When you hold the book in your hands, you’ll see I hold off discussing drawing pictures for a long while. In the penultimate section, we focus on imagery. Throughout the previous Idea Shapers you have been drawing — just not drawing as most people narrowly define it. You have shaped your thinking by writing, by drawing lines, simple shapes, organizing by color and size and placement. All of this is fantastic visual, spatial and kinesthetic thinking that happens below the waterline of a proverbial iceberg.
In this section, keep a process focus on representational drawing that happens above the waterline. You'll learn that fast and simple is better, and you learn how to develop your own style and visual vocabulary.
The Idea Shapers are intended for you to make your own personal drawings to think through your own decisions, learning, experience and problems to solve. You never need to show someone your drawings. You will likely find sharing your drawings a useful way to share your thinking. In this final section, I share best practices to on how to engage others with your drawings and how to encourage them to make their own. Instead of a rare, unobtainable skill, I share how you can frame drawing as an accessible, adaptable tool to collaborate and communicate.
Your pledges benefit me in two vital ways. First, the profits raised pay some living expenses giving me time to focus on writing and drawing to finish The Idea Shapers. Since this is a print-on-demand book and I have most of the skills to produce the book, the costs are mostly hiring my editor and buying proofs of the book.
Honestly, the biggest help is that I am now accountable to all of you as my backers. Winter of 2012, I wrote my first book in isolation. It focused on the specific role of graphic facilitation in which I had worked professionally for 16 years. That book came darn easily, because I could focus on the role, the process, how to serve your clients in the room.
This second book is for anyone and everyone who wants to develop their visual thinking muscles. This book is bigger and more personal. In it, I dissect how I process things visually and spatially. It is how I have always been wired. It is a worthy mental challenge to observe and describe what I've embodied and done naturally — then describe these processes in ways that anyone can adopt. Risking sounding grandiose, I know in my bones how important this book is and that writing it is why I was put on the planet. That makes this project exciting AND pretty scary. Knowing that you are waiting for the book will keep my butt at my worktable insted of hiding under the covers. Thank you for making this project concrete, so I can't get wrapped up in my own abstract ideas or simply psych myself out.
Boy howdy, I do so love drawing and thinking. But it's so much more motivating knowing you are ready and rarin' for a clear and engaging book that will help you develop your own personal drawing practice.
Please share your excitement about The Idea Shapers! It is a huge help. I have always been a solopreneur. I have grown my business through sharing my ideas and connecting with others through my website (nearly 16 years old) and through social media. I know how powerful one person sharing, tweeting, posting is. Please share this campaign with anyone you think is ready for The Idea Shapers:
- Visual and spatial thinkers
- Hands-on learners and makers
- Students and life-long learners
- Teachers and trainers
- Facilitators and managers
- Anyone who tackles complex projects, or difficult decisions or simply wants a fantastic tool to clarify their thinking and reduce feeling overwhelmed
Original Goal = Reached!
This project will be funded when we raise $5,000. Once the goal is hit and the campaign ends on February 28th, you will be charged for your backer rewards (and international shipping, if applicable).
Wowsa! HUGE thanks to the first 100 backers who funded this campaign in the first 48 hrs. We need more Idea Shapers out in world, so let's keep this virtual launch party going. The more the merrier. The more money you pledge, the more time I have to make this book better, sooner. AND the more excellent stretch goal freebies you get with your books. Please keep sharing The Idea Shapers with others. Thank you!
I subscribe to Daniel Burnham’s inspirational quote, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die…” I have big plans for stretch goals of logical diagrams and other goodies for my backers.
Stretch goal #1 = REACHED!
When we raise $10,000, I will produce a full-color, 11”x17” folded poster all about color. One will be tucked into every copy of The Idea Shapers that ships.
BRILLIANT! Thank you all for supporting The Idea Shapers! We've now reached 200% funding and our first stretch goal has been reached. Now every copy of The Idea Shapers will ship with a folded, 11"x17" full-color poster on color theory tucked inside. I am so happy to add this gift to your books.
Stretch goal #2 = REACHED!
If we raise two thousand dollars more in the last three days of my campain, everyone who backed at least $25 will receive this packet of fun, "101 Questions to Ask Your Idea." Use this 32-page packet to think about your idea from every angle, helping you see its shape.
Thanks to a terrific past 48 hours, we breezed through our second stretch goal! Now everyone getting a book (or more), will also get a handy little booklet "101 Questions to Ask Your Idea." I'm writing it to help you see your idea/project/paper/problem/presentation from all sorts of visual/spatial and kinesthetic angles. I am really looking forward to having good fun with the booklet!
Please pledge now to show that you are ready for The Idea Shapers, that you are ready to pick up paper and pen and make great drawings to do fantastic work.
Risks and challenges
Thankfully, the risks are low because I self-published The Graphic Facilitator's Guide with great success in 2012. I am using the same format as before. That book was written in three months and edited in six weeks. My delivery window from Kickstarter launch to shipment is four months. I already have the structure of The Idea Shapers set and 150 solid pages at time of launch.
A possible wild card would be any hiccups to fulfill the stretch goals. I will certainly keep backers updated if any problems arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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