Tag Archives: Austin Kleon

Sketchnotes are Fantastic

Austin Kleon‘s recommended reading list in his book Steal Like an Artist continues to yield real gems.  Lynda Barry’s What It Is is the first from Austin’s list that I read and I loved it.  Sketchnotes by Mike Rohde is next on the list.

Here’s my sketchnote of what resonates with me from Mike’s book (plain English to follow:):

Sketchnote of what resonates with me from Mike Rohde's book Sketchnotes

Sketchnote of what resonates with me from Mike Rohde’s book Sketchnotes

I have taken notebooks full of notes but I can’t stand to read them. Mike felt handwritten notes fell short also. I needed a different way to do it and have struggled for some time to find something I’m comfortable with. I take notes so that I can learn better what I’m hearing by engaging in the subject kinesthetically. Rohde points out that taking notes as pictures and words takes advantage of something called dual coding.  We get the verbal by writing the words.  We get even more by making visuals. I tried it out and I love it!

If you ask most adults to draw they panic. Mike defangs drawing by focusing down to 5 basic shapes: square, circle, triangle, line and dot.  Mike shares a technique that a friend taught him of drawing different facial expressions easily and simply to prove that drawings don’t have to be “art”.

Sketchnoting makes everything more interesting!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal Like An Artist Cover, iPhone screenshot of kindle edition.

I found myself turning the lush pages of Lynda Barry‘s book What It Is because I read the minimalist styled pages of Steal Like an Artist: Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. In the back of the book, Austin Kleon, a fantastic living artist, left a tidy list of 10 or so books that influenced him. This one by Lynda Barry was on that list.

Lynda is another fantastic living artist who makes powerful work. She’s worth sharing. Here’s a nugget that struck home:

“To follow a wandering mind means having to get lost. Can you stand being lost?”

Just quoting Lynda like this isn’t fair to you because it doesn’t give any sense of the richness and power of her work.  Here’s a photo of the page where this quote lives and breathes:

Page quote from Lynda Barry, What It Is

Photo of Page quote from Lynda Barry, What It Is, by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

This is saturated, colorful, layered and intense.  All that and she’s got great content.  Can You Stand Being Lost?

Whether clinging to vertical career paths in a gig-based labor market, expecting consistent good health throughout life, or goaling ever faster run times in the face of age, when I need my life to conform to a certain map, I am NOT standing being lost. When I need everything I do to have a purpose, to align with my goals, I am NOT standing being lost.

There’s something gained by leaning into the lost times. Moses was probably on-plan when he saw the Burning Bush. He went to explore it. In a sense, he got “lost”. He followed a wandering. And his life, his purpose, his mission were forever changed from what he knew before and for good.

It’s important to have a plan but it’s also important to wander, to stand being lost.  Both are critical to becoming. Elsewhere, in Anna Farova‘s book, Josef Sudek, Poet of Prague, Anna quotes Josef, a fantastic Czech photographer with a long career in photographer from the early 1900s onward:

“I have no particular leaning toward….the all too clearly defined; I prefer the living, the vital, and life is very different from geometry; simplified securing has no place in life.”

New Year’s resolutions seem like Sudek’s geometry while the year that unfolds will be different because it is living and vital. As I begin the New Year, I have no particular leaning toward a resolution of any kind but to ask myself the question,

“Can I Stand Being Lost?”

All writing and images by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2013