Let's GratiDoodle! A Joyful Approach to Building a Creative Practice | Ayoka Kaiser | Skillshare

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Let's GratiDoodle! A Joyful Approach to Building a Creative Practice

teacher avatar Ayoka Kaiser, Sketchnotes & Co.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

19 Lessons (1h 17m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Signposts

    • 4. Class Overview and Project

    • 5. What are Sketchnotes

    • 6. Basic Shapes

    • 7. Doodle Lego

    • 8. Creative Playground 1

    • 9. Visual Vocabulary

    • 10. People

    • 11. Emotions

    • 12. Creative Playground 2

    • 13. Words

    • 14. Color

    • 15. Layouts

    • 16. How to GratiDoodle

    • 17. GratiDoodle Challenge

    • 18. GratiDoodle Together

    • 19. Conclusion

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About This Class

In this class you will learn tools and techniques to set up a bite-sized creative gratitude practice that you can keep up even on busy days.

We’ll explore

  • how you can draw simple icons from basic shapes
  • how to attach meaning to them
  • and how to add text and color.

These skills are part of something called sketchnoting: a fast, intuitive and extremely effective way of creating visual notes that you’ll remember.

Sketchnoting lights up both rational and emotional parts of your brain and connects them with each other. That’s why it’s not only great for note taking but also for recording your memories and feelings.

The good news is: You don't need any drawing skills or talent (although it's not a hinderance ;-)) - anyone can learn to sketchnote or create a GratiDoodle. 

GratiDoodles are wonderful way of taking a few minutes every day to reflect on the good in your life. You can do them by yourself or include your kids, partner or a friend. 

Join me for a fun and creative adventure into the world of visuals!

The wonderful music in the class is by Josh Woodward, generously shared under CC-BY license.


Meet Your Teacher

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Ayoka Kaiser

Sketchnotes & Co.


My name is Ayoka, I'm a visual trainer and an information illustrator with a background in speech therapy. 

I love making communication more joyful with hand draw visuals. 

Ever since I learned about sketchnotes and saw the amazing effect it had on my speech therapy patients I've been fascinated by the power of visuals in communication. Learning to use simple icons alongside text and language lights up our brain, taps into our emotions and releases a lot of creative energy. That's why sketchnotes are great for innovating and problem solving as well remembering information and connecting with others. Obviously, using images and color makes anything a lot more fun too!

But sketchnotes can also be turned inwards and used as a tool for... See full profile

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1. Intro: Every evening I sit down and draw what I call a GratiDoodle, a little thumbnail sketch of something I'm grateful for that day. Sometimes I add words, sometimes I don't. It's a moment of reflection, but it is also an art practice. It's so small and simple and it brings me so much joy that it feels easy to stick with it. Hi, my name is Ayoka. I'm a visual trainer and an information illustrator with a background in speech therapy. I love making communication more joyful with hand-drawn visuals. In this class, I'm going to show you tools and techniques that you can use to set up your own bite-sized creative gratitude practice. We'll explore how you can draw simple icons from basic shapes, how to attach meaning to them, and how to add text and color. These skills are part of something called sketchnoting, a fast, intuitive, and extremely effective way of creating visual notes that you'll remember. Sketchnoting lights up both rational and emotional parts of your brain and connects them with each other. That's why it's not only great for note-taking, but also for recording your memories and feelings. What I love about sketch noting is that you don't need any drawing skills or artistic talent. This creative technique is for anyone. But skills alone don't build a practice. To do something every day, you have to enjoy it. Otherwise, you'll quit when your determination wears off. I've tried to keep a gratitude log for years, but it was only when I added the elements of joy and creative play that I was able to stick with it. The exercises in this class encourage you to experiment, play, and get lost in doing like we all did when we were little. I also created some visual signposts or reminders that you can print out and keep around as you build a daily creative practice. After exploring tools and techniques, you will create a week of daily GratiDoodles as your class project. I'd be delighted if you want to join me on this creative adventure. 2. Materials: Welcome to class. I'm very happy that you're here. First, we'll talk a bit about the materials you'll need for this class. I'm super sorry, but it's not one of those classes that gives you a really good excuse to visit your favorite art store and buy lots of yummy, new art materials. The great thing about GratiDoodles is that you can do it with anything you have at home, from the ballpoint pen to any felt pens or crayons or watercolors, whatever you have at hand and whatever you love. I'll show you what I'll be using and I'll give you some tips, but most of the stuff you'll probably have at home anyways. You will need any mark-making tools that you like. We'll experiment a bit with different tools later, so just grab everything you have at hand. I'll be using pens, watercolor, markers, or felt pens, crayons, and colored pencils. For the exercises that we're doing, printer paper is great. You can also do your GratiDoodles on them later. But if you want to use a wet medium, you might want to have some thicker paper at hand that can take the water. I personally like to draw my GratiDoodles in a sketchbook so I have all those wonderful memories in one place. If that resonates with you, you can use a sketchbook for your GratiDoodles as well. Then I provide some templates that you can find in the class resources section and print out. If you don't have a printer, you can just make your own. You will need a pair of scissors. That's pretty much all. In the next section, we're going to have a look at what those signposts I talked about in the intro are and introduce you to the first one of them. 3. Signposts: Throughout the class, you'll encounter slides with a green background. They point to something that has helped me stay in touch with joy on my creative journey. These signpost or nudges want to point you in the direction of creative play and remind you what this is about. Enjoying the ride and letting yourself be touched by what emerges from the well of creativity that we all have inside us. I'm an overthinker and I can be very perfectionistic, but I also have a very playful side of me where I enjoy the process a lot more than the product. Originally, I created this signpost with the topic of GratiDoodles in mind. But as I scripted, and filmed, and edited this class, I found them really helpful whenever I got anxious or worried or lost the joy in creating, I believe that they apply to any creative process. When we were kids, we looked at the world with a sense of wonder, and we brought that to our creative play as well. I believe we all still have this place of creative innocence within us. Although we might have forgotten about it, we can rediscover it at any age. It is my hope that this class is one stepping stone for you on that journey. I've made little cards of the signposts that you can print out as friendly reminders whenever you need them. You will find them in the projects and resources section of the class. As we just talked about materials, here's something that has helped me stay more playful as I create: treat tools like toys; use materials that ignite a sense of play and the freedom to experiment. I've found that I get anxious of making mistakes when I use very expensive paper. Using a cheaper and more forgiving brush or art materials for kids help me loosen up and get lost in the process. Don't get me wrong. I love good materials. But when you're encouraging creative play, it's a really great idea to look for a middle ground where the tools do the job, but they don't make you tense, so you have more freedom to play. Next up, I'll give you a short overview of the class and we'll talk about the class project. 4. Class Overview and Project: [MUSIC] Your class project is to complete seven days of daily gratidoodle. You can use the templates I made, or you can make your own. You'll find the templates in the resources section of the class if you open it in your browser. But before we get to the class project, we'll first take a closer look at how to draw icons and why they're so great for note-taking, and how you can link them with text and color. There will be quite a few exercises along the way. Use them as like a playground to experiment and try new stuff. First and foremost, create just for yourself. It's a wonderful way to relax and replenish. If you feel comfortable sharing some of what you made in the exercises, please do post them in your project. It's so lovely to see other people's ideas and that way we can all learn from each other.In case you're new to Skillshare, this is how you share. Take a photo of your gratidoodle or your exercise, and then open Skillshare in your browser. Go to the ''Projects and Resources'' tab, and click on the ''Create Project'' button. Here you can upload a cover image that will be displayed in the gallery and underneath, add your project title and your images and some text. Click ''Publish'', and you're done. The next lesson is all about sketchnotes. 5. What are Sketchnotes : As my approach to GratiDoodles is based on sketchnotes, I want to tell you a bit more about what they are and why they are a great skill to learn. Sketchnotes are visual notes that combine text with simple icons and graphic elements like frames, colors, and arrows to structure the information on the page. For our purposes for this class, our main focus will be on icons. The term sketchnote was coined by Mike Rohde, the author of The Sketchnote Handbook, who became very frustrated with the way he was taking notes and found this solution. Traditionally, sketchnotes are used for note-taking as they are a great way to retain information better, to clarify your thinking, to come up with and communicate ideas, and to solve complex problems. But I especially love to use them for introspection and reflection. Rather than recording outside information, I turn inside and put on paper what I feel and hear and see in myself. Icons were our first script as humans and they are in our genes so to speak. This was the way our ancestors used to record their experiences and insights. Like them, you can use icons as symbols. For example, speech bubbles for a conversation or a telescope for the future. Because of the simplicity, sketchnote icons are fast to draw, which is something I greatly appreciate when I sit down to GratiDoodle after a long day. In the next lesson, we'll have a look at the basic shapes that we need to draw our icons. 6. Basic Shapes: The idea of sketch note icons is that they have made up out of a few basic shapes that get repeated and combined again and again to form different objects. In this lesson, we're going to practice some of the basic shapes, which might remind you of primary school because we learn these basic shapes when we learn how to write. But they are also the alphabet for the visual language for drawing icons, so grab your pen and join me. As you might remember, one of the first basic shape is a square or a rectangle, which is basically the same thing with a bit of a different proportion. Then we have a circle or an oval and with all basic shapes, we can draw them in different directions. The last one is a triangle, which we can also draw in a different direction. A trick when you're having trouble with a triangle is that you can draw the baseline and then put where the top will be and then connect the lines. That makes it a bit easier, because oftentimes they might look wonky, at least mine do. Then we have lines in different shapes. We have a long straight line and then we might have a dashed line or a wavy line, and a loopy line. There is the loops. Then we can have an arc, we can also draw that the other way round and an angle, which we can also put in different directions. Lastly, but not least, a dot. If you add another dot and an arc you hopefully having fun. When you draw basic shapes, there's a few things that you can pay attention to. Oftentimes when we draw basic shapes, something like this happens, especially if you are fast. First of all, you can notice if you go faster it gets more wonky. That's not a bad thing per se, but if you want to practice, it's nice to practice like the more ideal shapes so that when you go faster later, like in music, when you practice the piano, you go slow first and then fast later. But the main thing is that here, oftentimes we don't close the shapes, so watch what happens when we close the shape. All of a sudden this set of lines starts to actually become a shape. I put the arrow where I can't close it, but see how all of a sudden this becomes like a thing. Also, when we do angular shapes, apart from not closing them, we tend to make corners not angled but round, and just going a bit slower and being more deliberate will remedy that. You can go side-by-side or you can go two sides and two sides and if you're really used to this, you can also do all four at once. What you practicing with this is hand-eye coordination so that you tell your hand where you want to go and it does what you want it to do and a great exercise for this is put two dots on the paper and then try to connect them with a straight line. You can do that in different directions and at different angles, and also at different lengths. If I do this like a really long one, it's a lot harder to actually hit the dot and have a straight line. It might be easier if I do it fast, but then I don't have as much control where I actually land. Practicing hand-eye coordination will make your drawings look more even in the end. I like it because to me, it's actually great fun. When I do that, I actually practice hand-eye coordination a lot. When I'm on the phone. I'll just have a pen and then I'll draw exercises. I do lots of circles or what I often do is parallel lines. I do like loads of them then I make patterns. You can use these to make patterns, the basic shapes, and also the parallel lines. Or I'll put them at an angle and then I'll crisscross over them. I try to make them evenly spaced and you have to find your own tempo. How fast or slow you want to do this, it might change over time as well. Another thing I'd like to do is have a wavy line and then have another parallel wavy line trying to keep the distance. Then you can do like a whole page of them. You can try to get closer with one and then you see, you run into the line. It won't always be perfect, which is really nice. You can practice this, you can practice smiling at what goes wrong and that's a really great practice. Also, this can become a meditation. You can either put on music or just be with yourself and your thoughts and just fill a page with basic shapes and with these exercises. It's really great to come down. That's where those entangle culture comes from. Another thing I love to do is doing shapes within shapes so I have a bigger shape and then I put another shape inside trying to keep the distance even and then inside until it's so small that I can't go any further. You can do this the other way round. You start with a small shape and then you go bigger and bigger and bigger. As you get bigger, it gets harder. You can go really big with this, which is fun too. With different colors, they just mix this up and make this fun. You can also color shapes in. It's like abstract art that at the same time practices your hand-eye coordination. In the next lesson, we're going to use our basic shapes to build our first icons. 7. Doodle Lego: Now that we've looked at all the basic shapes, we're going to play with them as if they were Lego blocks. Do you remember those simple blocks that were the only things available when Lego started out? You could build almost anything out of them, literally anything. From our pack of Legos, our basic shapes, we're now going to take some pieces and put them together to make icons. Grab your pen, and let's start. We'll start with some rectangular forms. The first thing we're going to do is draw a long rectangle and then add a triangle on to that and another triangle, and we've got a pencil. Another rectangle and add a triangle inside, and we have an envelope. Another rectangle, and we add a small rectangle on the front and then we've got a battery. Still another rectangle, a bit bigger and we'll put another rectangle inside. We'll add a little stand and then you've got a computer monitor. Then we'll have a rectangle with rounded corners, intentionally this time and then a rectangle inside, and there is a smart phone. Now we'll move on to round things. The main thing that comes to mind when we think about round things is either a face or a sun. I'm going to draw a sunny face. We'll talk more about combining icons later. But the round thing can also be inside something else. We can have a round thing and two arcs, and then we have an eye. A circle within a circle, and we add a rectangle and another rectangle and a little arc. That's a magnifying glass. Same start, circle within circle but now we add more little circles and we have a button. Another circle, and then we adding some lines. The first one is straight, the second one is straight as well, and then we add some curved lines on the side and lines curved the other way on the top, on the bottom and we've got a globe. We can even put a stand on this so you can have a look at all the beautiful countries of this world. The last thing is two circles, but side-by-side with a little arc and then we've got some glasses. Lastly, we're going to look at some triangular things. Interestingly, most things are round and square or rectangular. There are quite a few things that are triangular, but not as many as the other two categories. We'll have a look at some. One thing could be a TP or in the summer, most of us are like that very much, some yummy ice cream. Or if there's some festivity, we might want a glass of something bubbly or something healthy, a little carrot. Lastly, we're going to draw a hat, maybe that's a Santa hat, we don't know. Icons are powerful. Although they don't look like the real thing, we immediately recognize what is being depicted and most of the time, people from a different country speaking a different language will too. That makes them great for places like airports or train stations, they are a universal language. Our brains decode icons a lot faster than words. If you think about it, words are symbols too, letters stand for sounds, which then form a word which is linked to a concept or a thing. But it takes our brains a lot longer to decode that than when it sees an icon. But words are wonderful tools. We could not create such a complex society if we still relied on painted icons as our script, words are so much more precise and I can link to invisible and abstract topics to the past and to the future. The power of sketch notes lies in the combination of both icons and words. Because they light up different parts of our brain and trigger both rational and emotional responses, they are so helpful for both remembering and communicating. In the next lesson, we're going to play a bit more with shapes and icons. 8. Creative Playground 1: Now we're going to create a playground for you to come up with your own doodle Lego creations. Using a pen and a light color, fill a page either with squares and rectangles or with circles and ovals. Make them different in size and leave some space in between them. Now take a darker pen and add shapes and lines to make your icons come to life. Try to dive straight in. Go with your first impulse and follow the flow. Don't overthink it. This is an exercise for collecting ideas. You can perfect them later. To get going, you can start with the icons from the last lesson if you want. Feel free to follow any order and to turn the paper if necessary. Be creative. Maybe the shape is a small part of something bigger, or you draw something tiny, really big. You can also add extra drawings or words to clarify. Go with the flow. Things on your page might start to interact with each other or you come up with a few ideas that are linked. Draw funny things, invent stuff, make yourself laugh. Keep going and try to find as many possibilities as you can. There will come a point where you run out of ideas. Do not give up straight away. Look around you or take a walk through your house. Are there any angular or round things that you have not thought of? Draw them. Often, when we push through these I'm-out-of-ideas moments, a whole new batch of creative ideas will start to flow. You can repeat this exercise with another set of shapes later, and if you really want to challenge yourself, you can also do one with triangles. This exercise is simple but very powerful. It helps us see the shapes of the things around us while at the same time pushing our imagination and starting to build a vocabulary of icons. If you enjoyed this exercise, you can also have a look at Olga Bonitas' wonderful class, Spark Creativity with Your Kids. I've used a similar technique called Hirameki and found it super fun and inspiring. Playing in this way is also a great way to start your GratiDoodle session. Just draw a few basic shapes and build onto them. You can start with obvious things that you've drawn before and then move on to new ideas. Like drawing itself, this is a skill that becomes easier with practice. Return to a playful mode whenever you get tense or judgmental. This is playtime. There's no right or wrong, no goal to reach. You can find my completed pages in the project section. Please post yours as well so we can all gather inspiration from one another. In the next section, we'll have a look at the visual vocabulary that you might need for your GratiDoodles. I'll also give you some tips and tricks of how to come up with icons for things that you don't know how to draw. 9. Visual Vocabulary: When we want to express what we're grateful for in a visual way, we will need a lot of different icons. We can call that a visual vocabulary. Like words, the icons we need for our grati doodles fall into different categories. For sure we will want to draw people. Also, things being said and emotions. I love food, I'm often grateful for something yummy. You might want to draw stuff from your house or things related to work. We can talk about places that matter to us and how we get to where we want to go. Tech has become an important part of both our professional and personal lives. Grati doodles are likely to include hobbies or a sport that you love. Or things that light you up like music, maybe you play an instrument or a holiday we go on. I often journal about things in nature. If you have a pet, it will very likely end up in some of your grati doodles. Depending on your personal interests, you might need visual vocabulary from other categories as well. Naturally, I cannot show you how to draw every icon under the sun. We will take a look at drawing people because that can be intimidating and add emotions because we want to be able to record how we're feeling. But apart from that, I will show you various strategies of how I come up with different icons for the things that I want to draw. When we talk about icons, we can roughly say that there are two groups. Icon set are a literal representation of something and icons that stand for something more abstract, like a broader concept or something that's invisible. A very common example for the second group is the heart icon. Most of the time it will stand for love, understanding, being touched. But it could also mean our physical heart, the organ. I've found that when I do my grati doodles, I mostly use literal icons with some abstract one sprinkled in. I do however, use simplifications whenever possible. Although I have a laptop, I often draw a computer monitor for online stuff. Or instead of drawing someone I spoke to on the phone, I draw two phones that are connected or empty speech bubbles for a conversation that I had. Sometimes I also combine icons with each other to create something new. We'll talk about that in the next lesson. How do you come up with ideas for how to draw a stuff? Here are my tips and tricks. The most efficient way is also very simple. Let's say you have been to the museum and now you want to draw an icon of a museum. Open your search engine. I love using Ecosia because they plant trees with the profits they make and put in the word you're looking for plus the word icon. Then click on image search and voila, you have a lot of icons to choose from. You can do this on different search engines as the results will be different. To get even simpler icons, you can use a website called The Noun Project. This is a site where website developers can buy all these cute little icons used for user interfaces. These icons are meant to be iconic, meaning that they are even more stylized than the results you get with a search engine. Be aware that almost any image on the Internet including icons, especially if they are for sale, are protected by copyright. I use these sites as sources for inspiration. A museum is often depicted with pillars and the triangular roof, like a roan building. I look at the image then close my computer and draw what I remember. Often a mixture of what I've seen. That way I don't copy and I don't infringe any copyright should I post my stuff anywhere online. These tools get even more useful when you're struggling to come up with a visual representation for an abstract concept. Because we are talking about gratitude in this class, let's go through the same process as before and look at what we get. There are so many different ideas to show gratitude. Which one speak to you? What makes you smile? Can you combine some of them to make your own version of gratitude? Pause the video for a minute, take a post-it or a small piece of paper and draw what gratitude looks like to you. You can have a look at the sites I mentioned or come up with your own idea without any reference. Post your icon of gratitude in the project section. It will be lovely to see what everyone comes up with. The second way to find icons is literally in your pocket. The emojis on your smartphone are very handy library of everyday icons. Although not as reduced as the web developer icons, they are still very helpful and very accessible. I often use them as inspiration for emotions or as a cheat sheet when I need to draw hands. Lastly, there is an increasing number of books about sketch noting which also includes books that are mainly icon libraries. Some of them also give step-by-step drawing instructions. There is a German book I like a lot by [inaudible]. As images are a universal language, you will understand this even if you don't speak German. Also look into drawing instruction books for kids. Some can be useful for sketch note icons as well. But now let's dive into drawing people and emotions. 10. People: We're now going to draw some people. Grab your pen and join me. The easiest kind of person is the good old stick person. Everyone can draw that one, but it looks a bit weird, and you know why? Because the arms come out of the middle of the upper body and that's not actually what arms do. In reality, we have a neck, and we have shoulders. If we just do that with our stick person, it looks a lot less weird. To make it even more realistic, we can give our stick person some feet and some hands, and they can be like little potatoes or you can have little lines as the feet. Then if you want to have a person move, you need to give him or her some joints. Let's say that person is maybe dancing, there we go. Then you can show with little lines that there's movement going on. Probably happy because dancing is fun. Stick people are just very great and useful as a representation of people. Everybody will recognize them. They are a bit slim because what we actually draw here is the bones. This is a representation of the spine, and then we have the bones in the legs and the bones in the arms. To give them a bit more flesh, you can use your basic shapes. I often use a rectangle, and then I still go slim on the legs and on the arms. This looks a bit male. I do use it as a representation for myself too, so I don't mind. But it looks male because somebody who's a bold person with an angular body is read as a male person usually. There are two ways to have a bit of a more neutral kind of body. The one thing would be to round out the shoulders, and then this person is not as male looking. Then you can even have a whole bean as your body. It'll make it all round. One thing to note with the joints is that you don't have to make them angular, you can also just bend them. Let's say we have a person doing yoga. Oops, something went wrong. We want it that way. See how you can just bend the arms, just round them out. You don't have to have an angle. At the knee here, you can have it. Let's draw another one underneath so you can see it better. There we go. You can have an angular or a bent knee, and then that person is hopefully not going to topple over. A cool kind of person is the star person, and that is just the same. You start with the head, and then you have a point of the star for every appendage, so for the arms and for the legs. That person can spread out the arms like this one or just stand normally. It's also a way to draw a person that's a bit bigger because this person's really slim, this person is a bit bigger. The star people can point and move about. They're quite flexible. They even can do handstand; look. They're more sporty than I am. There we go. What I love about them is that they work really great in groups. If you want to draw a group of people, you can just draw the heads, and then draw the arms on the shoulder of the next person, and then you give the outer ones arms that point out, and then you have a W underneath each head. Then you connect it to the next person and have another W, just have to aim that the W is underneath the head and not elsewhere. If you draw them fast, it can happen that they look a bit off. Then to show that they are a group, you can also put them in an oval. Again, a basic shape, and then give them little lines. Maybe they're enthusiastic, they could be shouting or maybe even, they could be even singing. You could just give them singing mouth and show that they're singing. I really like them. They're great. There's one other thing that I draw with people in a frame or online, which is like a profile picture person, which is actually just a cutoff version of this one. It's a top bit of this one. I use them, for example, for online things. If I had a Zoom conversation with someone, I'll draw it like this, and then maybe because we talked, I'll put a speech bubble there, and the same thing works on the phone. That's my symbol for a video chat. I have a person like this. Super simple, no facial features, nothing, and then that's my representation for that. There's one more thing I would like to mention, which is proportions and distinguishing between adults and kids. Just for reference, we're going to draw a normally proportion person. In sketch notes, we don't really do that, so you don't have to do that, but knowing about this is really helpful. Normally the head is about 1/8 of the whole person, and the middle line is where the torso roughly ends and the legs begin. Because I haven't drawn this really evenly, it looks like the person has very long legs. Then the arms come down to about the upper thighs. Just correct that a bit so that it looks better. Actually, the legs are quite long. In sketch notes, we can play with that a bit, and not to this really accurately. But it helps if the arms are long enough. In kids, the head and the body about the same height, and then the legs again. A kid has a lot bigger head for its body length than a grownup, and the arms don't come down as far. If you want to indicate a kid, you just have to make sure that you have a larger head and a smaller body and shorter legs, and then that's your kid. The grown-up needs long enough legs and long enough arms. There you go. I'll just give you some examples from my [inaudible]. Oftentimes, especially when I draw very small, I'll have the same simple depiction. I'll just add some hair and a smile, and then that's me. Then sometimes I put more flesh on my people. The way to do that is, you know how I said that the stick person is made up out of the bones, so this simple person is made up out of a torso, but the legs and the arms are still just the bones. To make the person a bit more realistic, you can just flesh out the legs and the arms as well. I found that I often draw myself in a portrait style. Although I do wear glasses, I don't draw them on myself when I draw myself very small, but I mostly draw them on myself when I draw myself a bit bigger, but not always. Sometimes, I just draw myself as an abstract thing. This is me and somebody else and we're just hearts. Just remind yourself, keep it simple, make your life easy. It's a symbol, it's a representation, and it's supposed to be fun. Next, we'll look at how to draw emotions. 11. Emotions: When I teach emotions in my Sketchnote Workshops, I use a matrix by Austin Kleon. For that, we will draw a big square and turn that into a three-by-three matrix. In each square, you draw a head shape about the same size, good practice again. Then each of those gets eyes, and just a note on faces here. The average face has the eyes about in the middle of the face. The eyes will sit here, which is not what we think. We often think with a smiley, we think like this, which looks more like a pancake. But the actual person has the eyes around the midline. Just if you want to draw faces that look a bit more like a person, do it this way. This also where they ear start, and ear go to the tip of the nose. Then you have a hairline, and the hair has like a bit of a bulk. That's quite of a bulk. Keeping that in mind, we'll draw some eyes. Try to make them roughly the same size so that they all look similar. Then we all draw a nose for them, and a very simple nose would be just like an L, you can also make it a bit rounded or just like a U. But I'll stick with the L. Again, try keeping it about the same size, so that we have the same people. Now comes the fun part. We'll add some mouths and then a secret facial ingredient that's very key for expressing emotions. In the horizontal lines, we'll add mouths. In the first one we'll add a smiley mouth and we'll add a straight line as a mouth and then we'll have a downturn mouth. They all get a smiley mouth, these all get a line, and these all get a downturn mouth. As you can see, this creates basically three types of emotions, happy, ma, and unhappy. Then now in the vertical lines we'll add eyebrows but we'll not draw them individually, we'll just have like a monobrow. Again, the first line gets a smiley eyebrow, the second row gets the straight line, and the third one gets a downturn one. We go like this all across 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, and 1, 2, 3. All of a sudden, we have nine different expressions. The magic is in the eyebrow, the magical eyebrows. What's interesting is if you have a smiling mouth and like a frowning eyebrow, that person can look a bit mean. Or this person looks very sad and this person looks very grumpy. These are just some ways to get your juices flowing with emotions. As I said, emotions are great to look up from your mobile phone. All the emojis, things like having Xs as eyes or having closed eyes or the other way around, that would be like a laughing face, there are many different possibilities and what's really neat is that you can also add these things to objects. Let's say you're very happy about the coffee that you just had or the cup of tea, you can just make that a smiley face. I often add faces to things to just express some emotion, if I don't want to draw myself all the time, I just have like something that I really love and I put a face on it. Another great resource for drawing emotions are comic books. If you're into comics, have a look at how they express feelings there. Now, stop for a minute and check in with yourself and see how you're feeling right now and draw a face with that expression on it. If you're needing inspiration, go and look at the emojis in your phone. In the next lesson, we're going to go back to the creative playground and have a go at combining icons. 12. Creative Playground 2: Welcome back to the creative playground. This time, we'll take icons and combine them with each other to make new and surprising and funny things. The way this works is that you take the sheets from playground number 1 and you pick whether you want to work with round things or with square things. Then you look at them and you pick two and you try to combine them. It doesn't work with all of them, but just try to make something that is two icons at once, that have the same shape. I'll show you how it works. For example, you can take a button or two buttons and you can make button glasses out of them. These things don't exist and they can be super silly, just go with it. It's a great exercise that massages your creative brain. In the same way you can make a tall mar turquoise or a lemon snail, and maybe they'll just start talking to each other. Who knows? This is an exercise where you can improvise and play and do things that you normally wouldn't do. As before, there are no mistakes, if something turns out a bit wonky or weird, just make it work somehow. You can have yummy musical instruments, or a sun globe, or a cucumber bug, or a balloon snowman, or tennis ball ice cream. Some things will work better than others. My idea of having a pig that has a nose that is a bubble was a bit weird. But I did laugh and smile a lot whilst I was drawing this. So now it's your turn, take your sheets, look at all you've drawn before and mix them up like crazy. I hope you had fun and I hope you made yourself laugh with your creations. I love this exercise to spark creativity and joy and a certain type of silliness. Please post your creations in your project. It's so fun to see what other people come up with, and it always makes me realize that creativity is endless, and there are so many possibilities that I could have never thought of. I'm now going to show you a few examples of my gratidoodles where combined icons not based on shape, but rather on ideas that I want to combine or a new concept that I want to illustrate. My favorite icon to draw is the pencil, and no surprise that I combine the pencil with other things. For example, I love drawing a pencil rocket and sometimes that is a normal rocket and sometimes the fuel is ideas because the light bulb stands for ideas. To me, rocket symbolize when something is very energetic or something takes off. For example, this was a workshop I attended about marine biology and it was just so inspiring. I even added some fireworks. Another thing I like to do that I already suggested in the emotions lesson is that I draw faces on things. For example, I was very tired after I got my vaccination, so I drew as tired syringe. I also drew a snail which has, instead of a house, it has a brain because I felt very sluggish. I'll also illustrate sayings. This says follow your heart or follow your feeling. This was on a day when I felt really happy about having seen lots of people and I felt like my tank of interactions and sharing was full. This is the ideas smoothie. Quite a few times I've drawn myself as a tree which always has to do with a feeling of growth or feeling very grounded. When you do this for a while, you're probably come up with your own visual language. A very common thing is that a light bulb stands for ideas. But then I have the same thing as with a rocket, I have that take-off with some wings or hear ideas whilst eating strawberries. Another icon that I use a lot is a gem. Mostly this stands for clarity for me. To signify emails, I draw an at symbol in an envelope. There are many ways to come up with these kind of icons, and the exercise we just did is a good preparation for opening your brain for these kinds of connections. In my experience, this is a skill that grows over time and the more you practice it, the better you get. In the next lesson, we'll move from looking at images to looking at words for your gratidoodles 13. Words: We've talked a lot about drawing. But GratiDoodles can also include words. As I mentioned before, the combination of words and images is especially powerful. I'm mostly doing my GratiDoodle in German because this is the language of my everyday life. If you speak several languages, use the one in which you can best express your feelings or that fits the situation best. Depending on your personal preference or mood of the day, you can have an even amount of text and images, or you can focus more on one of them. When I started my GratiDoodle practice, I focused mainly on the drawing, and I still often start with a drawing and add text afterwards. Playing with images and colors brings me straight to the heart and helps me feel gratitude rather than think about it. Also, sometimes the words I have in my head when I start change while I draw because I see a different aspect of the thing I'm grateful for or grasp the meaning of an event in a deeper way. Things might be different for you. Maybe you want to start with words and create your GratiDoodle afterwards, or you're already keeping a gratitude journal or a regular journal, and want to add to your writing by including some GratiDoodle elements. Do it your way and don't be afraid to experiment and give different approaches a go, you might surprise yourself. In the next lesson, we're going to have a look at how you can play with color in your GratiDoodles, and I'll introduce you to the magic marker. 14. Color: I love color. It's no coincidence that I'm wearing a turquoise shirt today because for quite some years, turquoise has been my favorite color, so much so that people associate it with me. That's why I use it as a color code in my GratiDoodles. The person in turquoise is always me. As I have a few friends who are color lovers like me, I have a way of showing who they are without mentioning their names. You can use color not only in your drawings but also in your text. Writing a word in a different color or highlighting an expression with transparent colors will make them stand out and accentuate your message. Colors can also be used as frames. On this page, I did not use any frames, but I wanted to make the day my little nephew was born special, so I drew a soft yellow frame around that GratiDoodle. The wonderful thing about colors is that they can convey a mood without needing lots of words. My favorite medium is watercolors because I feel they are such a lovely representation of the fluidity of feelings and they look very alive. You don't have to color things the real way either, blue trees and pink grass can give a surprising effect. There is one trick for making icon stand out that has to do with a color we don't really notice so much, gray. I'll show you how it works. Like before, we'll start with some basic shapes. I've got two rectangles here, and I'll do something with the right one. Watch. I've added a gray line underneath and to the right and see how that makes that visually pop up from the page. Like it becomes a bit three-dimensional, although it's still a flat thing compared to that one. That's because shadows are something that we read for knowing if something is in front of something else or how deep something is, and we see them all the time, but we don't really notice them so much. If you play with shadow, again in a symbolic way, this is not an accurate shadow. It's not how it actually would look. You can see I don't have this big of a shadow underneath my actual page on the table. But it is a visual thing that we know and that makes stuff come alive. The way this works is that we envision a light source somewhere and in this case, I usually put it on the top-left. The light comes from this direction and it will shine on this side and on this side of the object, which means the shadow is here and there. You could have your light source on the other side, which would mean that the shadow would be underneath and to the left. That's totally fine too. But the only thing you shouldn't do is vary within one page because the sun will always be on the same side and will not switch from one object to the other. You could, but it would look a bit weird if you have it here on this object, and then you have it on the left and underneath on that object. That being said, we'll just apply that to some other instances. Let's say we apply that to our trusted pencil. So underneath and to the right and see how it pops it up and it looks cool. It's a neat little trick. But you can do more with that. First, we'll have a look at how it applies to round objects. Let's say we have a speech bubble. Same thing, underneath, to the right, underneath, and to the right, and with a round object, you just vanish it where it becomes the top. But instead of putting it outside, you can also put it on the inside, which gives a surprising effect. See how that makes that. There's different things that you can see. Sometimes it looks like you're looking inward into a box, but it also makes us look three-dimensional. You'll understand what I mean in a minute. Let's say we make a person of this. If you do that to the head as well, see how the head, because it's a round thing, it would have the shadow on that side of the face and the body being a three-dimensional thing as well, would have a shadow to the right and underneath. As I said, it's very rudimentary and very easy, not like it would be in real life, but it looks a lot more alive that way. You can also do this with color. You could have these lines be green, for example, and that would give the impression that the person has a green shirt without your needing to color in the whole surface. Another neat thing with gray is that with people, you can just very easily give them something to stand on, like the ground, and it doesn't take away from the person because a gray always fades into the background, which is really nice. One last thing I want to show you is with something like a smartphone, you could again do the same thing. Have the shadow where it shows the object is lifted up a bit or has a bit of depth. But then because this is a shiny surface made of glass, you could have some light lines indicating that this is a reflective surface. You can do that with mirrors and anything glass. It's a very easy thing to do and it gives it a cool effect. The pen I'm using here is a Tombow dual brush pen, ABT, dual brush pen. Dual meaning it has a brush nib and then on the other side, it has a pointed nib. You can write with this and at the beginning when the pen is new, this is a new pen, they're very tiny like a very fine point, but they get a bit broader. But if you want something more broad, you could always look for a gray pen that is like a different pen of sorts. The great thing with a Tombow is that you can layer it. If we have three stripes, you can have another layer and it makes it darker and can even go three times, I think. I guess it's even more darker. There isn't another Tombow color that I use for shadows, which is a bit lighter, which is the N95, the CN75 and I'll put that underneath. You can see it's lighter. But again, because you can layer it, you can make it a lot darker. That just depends on your preference. A word of caution with these, people use them for hand-lettering. If you are a hand-lettered, you probably know that, but don't use them. Using them on normal printer paper will fray them, especially if you use them on watercolor paper. It doesn't really matter if they're bit frayed for this kind of work. But if you want to hand letter with your Tombow, have one specially for shadows in your GratiDoodles or in your visual notes. Hint, don't use your hand-lettering one because it would ruin it overtime. That's all on shadows. Have a play and have fun. Colors invite us to play and experiment, so get messy and make discoveries. In the next lesson, we'll have a look at layouts for your GratiDoodles. 15. Layouts: GratiDoodles can come in many shapes and sizes. You can go big and hang up a poster, or use a flip chart where you record something every day for a whole month or even longer. Or you can go small and draw your GratiDoodles on Post-its or small pieces of paper, and stick them on your fridge or collect them in a gratitude jar. As you've seen, I use my sketchbook, because I loved to sit on my couch and browse my collection of happy memories. When it comes to layouts, there are many ways to arrange your GratiDoodles on the page. Around a central image or word, in grids or basic shapes, in photo frames or with white space around them. You could guide the eye with arrows or even go popcorn style all over the page in no particular order. You can add the date if you want, but you don't have to. Have a play and see what suits your personality and preferences. You can always adjust and try something new along the way. In the next lesson, we'll finally draw our first GratiDoodles together, while at the same time experimenting with different tools. 16. How to GratiDoodle: Now it's finally time to create some GratiDoodles. Before embarking on the seven-day challenge for your class project, we'll take a closer look at how you can put all you learned so far into practice. At the same time, you can experiment with various tools so that you know what you want to use for the challenge. You can find the templates I'll be using in the projects and resources section of the class. We'll start by picking three things we are grateful for. If you need ideas, you can reference this template, pick a general topic, and then narrow it down to something that's very specific. For example, the softness of Molly's is rather than my dog. You can make a few notes or just close your eyes and bring your attention to what you're grateful for and let the feeling come to life. When you know your topics, pick up the tools you want to use for the first one and start making your first GratiDoodle. Try to draw with the abandon of a child. We are never afraid to make marks or fill the whole page when we're small. Remember, the purpose of this type of drawing is to spark a feeling of gratitude or joy. It's a symbol for what you're grateful for and no accuracy, or perspective and anything complicated is needed. It's a bit like when you're writing little notes to yourself like buy bananas, or call Sue, they don't have to be meticulously hand letter to serve their purpose. Practice this loose drawing. It's super useful and fun. If you feel comfortable doing so, please post your first GratiDoodle to your project. I'd love to see them. GratiDoodles are spontaneous expression of a moment in time. Part of this practice is to stop when you're done and not to go back in and correct and perfect. Like you would with an art piece, leave the spontaneity that's there. It's precious. How was the experience for you? What did you enjoy? Were there things that you struggled with? Which tools felt nice and easy to use? If you want to ensure that you can complete a GratiDoodle even on a very busy day, it's great to use tools that you're familiar with. Avoiding anything complicated has helped me stay on track with my daily practice. Have a look at your tools and decide which ones you want to use for your GratiDoodle challenge. I hope that you've enjoyed your first GratiDoodle session and feel eager to do one every day for the next week. Head on over to the next lesson to get started. 17. GratiDoodle Challenge: Now that you've found the tools that you like, it's time to start your own GratiDoodle practice. The project for this class is to do a daily GratiDoodle for at least seven days. But if you're up for a challenge, you can decide to do 14 days or even 21 days. The value of these kind of practices is felt over time, so give it a go and see how it fits into your life and what gifts it has to offer. I've made three different weekly templates to give you an easy start. You can find them in the projects and resources section. Remember that you can always start your GratiDoodle session with a bit of a warm-up like we did in the doodle Lego or the basic shapes exercises. Depending on how stressed out you are or what time of the day you're doing your GratiDoodle, it might be a good idea to just sit down for a moment, grab a cup of something lovely, or just listen to a piece of music, or close your eyes and breathe a bit so that you are in the space of turning inwards. When I start my GratiDoodle, I think back to my day. Was there anything that stood out to me? Was there a moment where I felt joy or excitement or maybe relief, expansion, or surprise or fun? The things that you GratiDoodle about can be really small, like feeling the warm road under your feet after a hot day, or getting a phone call at just the right time. You can pick one thing from your day and draw that or you can combine a few things in your GratiDoodle. Once you've finished your first week, take a photo of your GratiDoodle page and post it in the project section. Feel free to cover information that feels too personal to share with post-its or bits of paper when you take your picture. I'd love to hear how the week went for you. If you want, write a bit about your experience in the project section. As you build your GratiDoodle practice, it's helpful to keep a few things in mind. If possible, have a dedicated space and a dedicated time where you do your GratiDoodles. Consistency is of great help for building any type of regular practice. I do my GratiDoodles right at the end of my day before I head to bed. But you might want to do them at a different time. Doing them in the evening prevents me from being distracted by something else. It also is harder to make excuses that I don't have the time. Keep the materials you want to use and your templates or sketchbook in your dedicated space. If you do your GratiDoodles during a day, a little bag with everything in it makes it easy to grab and take along if you need to. I would recommend that you get into a habit of not spending a lot of time doing your GratiDoodles. Mine usually take me somewhere around 10 minutes. If you make this into a big-time commitment, there is much more danger of it being cast away sooner or later because life can be hectic and stressful at times. But these are the moments when a solid practice can be so very helpful and supportive. Set yourself up for success from the start. There will be days when it feels fun and easy and it flows. Then there will be days where it's not so great and you might not be happy with what you created. Let it go. It's all part of that process. There will be another GratiDoodle tomorrow and the day after, and the day after. We can just practice putting something on the page and then letting it go. While it's lovely to spend a moment on your own to reflect on your day, GratiDoodles can also be done with a partner or a friend or as a family activity with your kids. In the next lesson, I'll give you some ideas of how to share and multiply the power of GratiDoodles with others. 18. GratiDoodle Together: As GratiDoodles are an expression of something that's meaningful to you, it can be wonderful to share them with the people you love. Here are a few ideas of how you can include others in your GratiDoodle practice. The idea of GratiDoodle is simple. Make marks to show something that you enjoyed or are grateful for. This concept is something that even small kids can understand and relate to. Kids can be amazing teachers for us grown-ups to make marks with confidence and to enjoy the process of self-expression without judging the results. Whether you have kids of your own and want to set up family GratiDoodle sessions, or you work or interact with kids of others. For children, the language of images is their natural expression. Up till a certain age, they will confidently draw what they have in their head, but might need some assistance with words. If kids ask for guidance on how to draw things, you can show them how to create icons from basic shapes or let them watch part of this class. Like in most cases, we lead best with our own example. If you enjoy your GratiDoodle practice and let your kids see what do you do, often they will want to join in. In the same way, you can share your GratiDoodle with your partner or with a close friend. Sharing something we are grateful for can give other insight into what lights us up, and how our day has been, and how we are. It can spot meaningful conversations and create mutual respect for the big and small wins and challenges in our daily lives. Whether your partner or friend wants to join you and you each start your own GratiDoodle practice, or whether you just share some of use and ask them what they are grateful for. Letting yourself be seen as a gift to others and to ourselves. I often have an impulse to take a photo of a GratiDoodle that shows a beautiful moment or something I shared with someone else and to send it to them. As I have experienced the same thing, they relate to my GratiDoodle in a much deeper way and it often brings them a lot of joy. It's a lovely way of saying thank you as well. GratiDoodle sessions can become a daily or weekly ritual at home or in the classroom, and you can design a dedicated space where everyone's images are displayed. You can also do a monthly review of your favorite moments or collect GratiDoodles to pull out at the end of the year to remember all the wonderful gifts you received. If you decide to try out GratiDoodling with others, I'd love to know how it went. Write a bit about it, and then your project or on the discussion board and let us know. Did you have any other ideas than the ones I mentioned? How did it go, how did you approach it, and how did the others react? How did you feel? How did the whole process come together for you? Congratulations. You've almost made it to the end of the class. There's one last lesson waiting for you. 19. Conclusion: Thank you for coming along on this creative adventure. I hope you've found something of value along the way. The power of these simple kinds of icons continues to amaze me. I feel like they're a language of their own, rooted in our common ancestry that has the power even today in our complex and multi-layered society to reconnect us with ourselves and with others. That's why I've called my business Sag's Visuell or Say it Visually in English. Because I want to help foster this very human way of connecting and engaging with the world. Hopefully, this class has given you more confidence to try to speak visual in your daily life. You'll be surprised it can bring a lot of richness. Learning a new language is not done overnight but when you practice a little bit every day by drawing a grati Doodle or taking some other kinds of visual notes, it will soon become second nature to you. That's a wonderful thing about a creative practice. We can watch ourselves grow little by little and step-by-step. As we look back with kind eyes, we can appreciate our journey and how far we've come along and also know that there's always more to learn. I wish you all the very best and lots of things to be grateful for.