All thinkers benefit from incorporating their hands, bodies, and tactile experiences into their creative process. Straight lines are not required, ever. That’s what rulers and computers are for.

Visual thinking is about opening creative channels and tapping into fresh ideas waiting to be released. It’s a natural skill we all had as children. All you need to do is remind your brain that you can do it—and get going. These authors can help.

Visual Thinking Book Picks

The Back of The Napkin      Doodle Revolution cover     The Artist's Way      Think Clearly With Paper for iPad

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam
Dan is a well-known author and speaker, as well as the founder of The Napkin Academy. I was fortunate to see him present live at Confab 2012. Using a digital tablet, he drew on top of his PowerPoint presentation while we watched. Of course, I was captivated. He helps business people “relearn how to see” so they can capture even very complex ideas in a visual and shareable way. “The Back of the Napkin” started the revolution. “Unfolding the Napkin,” “Blah Blah Blah,” and “Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations” take his ideas further. You can visit Dan’s webpage for more details.

The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently by Sunni Brown
Sunni is the founder and chief infodoodler of Sunni Brown Ink, a visual thinking consultancy that helps clients “unlock the power to think differently.” Her latest book stresses that “doodling is a precursor to and a catalyst for deep intellectual and creative breakthroughs.” See Sunni’s website for more books, training, and an introduction to “performance doodling.”

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Julia is a best-selling author and trainer on the creative process. Although it was written nearly two decades ago, “The Artist’s Way” is continually updated and is much more than a book: It’s a movement, a training program, and a suite of guidebooks and tools to help you “discover—and recover” your creativity. Get more details at Julia’s website.

Think Clearly—With Paper for iPad by Mathias (Vestergaard) Jakobsen
Mathias is a meticulous note sketcher. Even his email newsletter is a beautifully crafted piece of handwriting and sketches. He believes “one of the most important skills we need is the ability to think clearly.” His book uses video tutorials accompanied by written transcriptions to help you see and read the lessons. Usually, I need both kinds of input, so this makes me very happy. He takes Paper by 53’s sketching app to new levels, including how to make reusable notebook templates for very effective note-taking. While the e-book is available at the iTunes store, you can watch the video portion for free here, as well as find links to more of his magical resources.

Also check out my recent post Tools for Visual Thinking and TFP’s June Book Pick List focusing on data visualization for more ideas and how-to’s.

If you’d like to share something you’ve read, drop us a note. For more articles from TFP Design Director Mary Lester, see our InDesign section, and keep up with the latest industry news coverage by signing up for our This Week in Publishing emails and Publishing Innovations newsletter.

Posted by: Mary Lester

Contributing author Mary Lester leverages her deep experience with storytelling, design excellence, multi-platform publishing, and technology-focused content to help leading-edge businesses meet the challenges of today's rapidly changing media industry.