The other day VizThink founding member and one of our community’s biggest supporters, Dave Gray, put out a “VizThink assignment” on twitter. I personally love the idea and thought it was an idea worth spreading to those in our community who might have missed it, or aren’t on twitter.
The premise is simple, but I think it could be really eye opening: Take 100 index cards and sketch the same object 100 times in one sitting. Then, the next day, step back and look at the cards to see what has emerged.
It’s not a short exercise, you’ll likely need an hour or two to complete it, and to be most effective it really should be done in one sitting. Dave provided the process in an earlier entry on his Communication Nation blog:
1. Find an object that’s visually interesting to you; something you wouldn’t mind spending some time with. It could be big or small — anything from a water tower to a stapler. The only rule is that you need to be able to observe it from life.
2. Get a pen and a stack of 100 index cards.
3. Now draw the object 100 times — that’s right, 100 times — once on each card. It’s important to do this in one sitting no matter how long it takes. Part of the exercise is to discover things that will only reveal themselves if you are bored or tired. In the corner, number each card from 1 to 100 as you go.
4. When you are done, put the cards away and don’t look at them till the next day.
5. The next day, spread the cards out on a table, floor or other large surface. Take a few minutes to digest what you see. What themes or patterns emerge? As friend to arrange them in groups and put similar drawings in clusters or groups. You will have a few favorites. Ask yourself,
- Why do you like them?
- What do they have in common?