Data Made Beautiful: An Artistic Data Visualization Approach | Carrie Rosales | Skillshare

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Data Made Beautiful: An Artistic Data Visualization Approach

teacher avatar Carrie Rosales, Artist & Data Analyst

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Project Overview


    • 3.

      Select Your Subject


    • 4.

      Get Inspired: Mood Boarding


    • 5.

      Develop Your Representational Icon


    • 6.

      Defining Attributes


    • 7.

      Inspiration from Abstract Art


    • 8.

      Create Your Visualizations


    • 9.

      Create Your Legend


    • 10.

      Collect Data


    • 11.

      Thumbnail Sketches


    • 12.

      Plot, Draw, Design!


    • 13.



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About This Class

In this class you're going to uncover unique and creative ways to illustrate data.  Not complex or big data, but everyday data that can be found in or around your house. 

Let me share my experience working as both an analyst and an artist, to show you unique and fun ways to combine art and data. 

We will:

  • Learn how to categorize items from a collection you own
  • Develop a visualization toolbox made up of your own imaginative marks and shapes 
  • Get compositional inspiration from existing abstract works of art
  • Compile and craft your descriptive illustrations on to a canvas 

What will result will be an abstract work of art that will not only look good, but will communicate something about your life!  

This class is for literally anyone. You don’t need to be a data expert or a seasoned artist. I will teach you what you need to know about data, and we are working with abstract shapes and marks, which have no rules and can be done by anyone who can harness their imagination. 

The skills you learn in this class can be applied to any project where you are looking to turn something concrete into something abstract. If you are a data professional, it can add some unexpected flair to your data visualizations and if you’re a designer or business professional it can help you approach information design through a creative lens.

Not only this, but after this class you'll have a really fun art project you can do over and over in a million different ways with a million different subjects, visualizing your life with art. 

I'm so excited you're here!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Carrie Rosales

Artist & Data Analyst


Thanks for stopping by!  I'm an artist & data analyst living in Los Angeles.  

Running parallel to a life in the arts has been my very left-brained work in data.  For the last 15 years I have worked in the Research and Evaluation field, working with non-profits and specializing in data systems, analytics, and information design.  Imagine the most opposite thing "artist" and you'll land on "data analyst".  This mix of right and left brained thinking helps me to express complex information and data with an artistic flair.  In art, I love playing with organic and graphic elements together and using patterns found in nature and science to contrast an organic form.  

I’m a very curious person by natu... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: The world of technology that we live in, can sometimes feel like a near constant assault of numbers and metrics only ever increasing with every new app and technological development. Data can feel cold and robotic, even though it's describing the very organic and real world that we live in. In this class, my aim is to bring the organic beauty back into data by showing you how to illustrate it with your own unique expression. My name is Carrie and I am a mixed media artist and a data analyst living in Sunny Southern California. When I'm doing art, I like to paint watercolor portraits of either people or nature. When I tire trying to portray the exact right expression or hair placement, I turned to abstract art where I can explore and pay. In my day job as a data analyst, I help non-profits setup data systems so that they can understand their programs better and understand the impact that they're having in their community. A big part of my work is visualizing data to communicate key information. Now, I know what you're thinking, you're thinking bar charts and line graphs when I say data visualization, because they're tried and tested tools. We're so accustomed to them that it's hard to imagine any other way to illustrate data. But in this class, I want you to think beyond the bar chart. Together we'll begin developing some creative and fun ways to illustrate data. We'll use a set of objects around your house as our subject. Like a record collection or a collection of mugs you've got laying around. I'll teach you some data basics like how to assign attributes and scales to your collection and how to collect data on them. You'll learn how to use mood boarding to gather inspiration and we'll study existing abstract art to get ideas. I'll teach you some various techniques to apply visual components to data scales, and then we'll sketch your ideas to land on a set of visualizations that you resonate with and that define your collection. We will craft them and paint them and place them on a Canvas to reveal a finished piece of abstract art. You don't need to be an artist or a data professional to take this class. All of the skills that you learn can be applied to many different scenarios where you'll be required to conceptualize and design information. Data professionals might find it especially interesting, however, as it'll require them to think outside of the industry tools that they've become so accustomed too. It'll set a roadmap for more inspired work. Now with that, come join me in this class. I can't wait to get started. 2. Project Overview: The project We'll be doing in this class is to create a data visualization or a data design that looks like an abstract work of art, but is actually a visual description of a set of characteristics of a collection that you own. It's like a little mini research project, but instead of making a research paper, you're doing art. It's a perfect combination of right brain and left brain work. Your left brain will investigate, analyze, and organize, and your right brain will get a workout as you sketch, create expressive marks, and dream up dynamic compositions. We'll embark on the project in phases. In the first phase, which is the planning phase, this is where We will create a roadmap of data and associated visualizations that We will then later apply. In the data collection phase, We will catalog our collection with all of the characteristics and attributes that We've mapped out. In the visualization phase, We will assign our visualizations to our data to create a finished piece of art. I liked this project, because I really like the idea of having a piece of art that says something about you in your life. I really liked the idea of this process being replicated for things like giving a piece of art to somebody that you know and love. Imagine for Christmas you give a piece of art to your boyfriend but really, it's just this visual description of a weird hat collection that he has. Fun, right? In terms of supplies, you can use whatever medium and whatever materials you feel comfortable with. There's no rules about what you need to use in this project. However, I would steer you in the direction of analog versus digital. Because I just think that having a more tactile and organic feel to the experience of data is what I'm looking for in this project. However, if you're a digital artist and you love working digital and it's what you connect with and what you want to use, go for it. Who am I to stand in the way? I'll be using a mix of watercolor ink, some markers, and acrylic wash. Here's a hot tip. Whenever you're picking your selection, make sure that it sparks joy. Make sure that you are picking something that you connect with. It will really help to inject energy and excitement into your project. If you want more tips on this, check out the lesson on selecting your subject. Also, make sure that you post your project in the project gallery for me and other people to see. I think it's a great place where you can log in and get inspiration from what other people are doing. In the class there will be other opportunities to post different parts of the project as We go along, but I'll give you a heads up as We come across those in our lessons. Don't forget to post any questions that you have in the discussion tab. I'll be logging in there and answering questions as We go along. In the next video, We'll get right to gathering your collection and getting started. 3. Select Your Subject: In this lesson, we're going to be picking a collection that you have in your house or your office as your subject. Here's some ideas to get your juices flowing. Perhaps you don't collect anything but you have a lot of something that, totally works too. Make sure that your collection is variable in some way. Imagine you have a bunch of hair ties and you have a pack of 30 that you want to use, but they all look exactly the same. That's not going to really work for this project, but imagine you've been wearing hair ties for 30 years and you have scrunchies and rubber bands and lace hair ties and bows that all fall underneath this umbrella of hair tie. That's perfect for this project. The more connection that you have to the collection, the more interested you're going to be and the better the project is going to feel to you. If you simply don't have a collection of anything at home, you can use something from your office or go outside. For example, you could use different plants or flowers that you have around your house and if you can't pick them up physically and take them inside with you, you could just take pictures of them and use those as your reference. Aim for a collection that has about no less than 10 and no more than like, say, 25, because each piece is going to have a representational icon that we're going to place on a canvas and so you don't want the canvas to be too crowded. I'm going to use a set of 15 journals that I have. I've been writing in journals since I was a little kid. I have so many journals. About 99 percent of them are all in boxes in a storage unit to be shuffled away in archive of boy drama, but the ones that I'm going to be using for this class are working journals, journals that haven't yet been filled. I'd recommend gathering up your collection in one place near you. In the next section, we're going to be gathering some visual inspiration and thinking about it in a much broader way, and I think that it'll be really useful to have them there that you can touch and sort through and look at. It'll help generate more ideas for you. In the next lesson, we're going to take the collection that we've chosen and start to generate some visual inspiration for our project. 4. Get Inspired: Mood Boarding: In this lesson, we will start the process of teasing out your subjects so that you can think about it in a broader way. The goal here is to expand your ideas and your thoughts about your subject and develop some associated imagery to then apply to your visualizations. This will pave the way for our next project, where we will have to create representational icons for our subject. I'm calling this mood boarding, but really it's a mix of mood boarding and mind-mapping. Mood boarding is a technique that many designers use to gather ideas for color palettes, shapes, concepts, styles. Mind mapping is a process that's used to generate related images and concepts and ideas to a specific origin topic. We're doing a little bit of both in this lesson. I'm going to be using Pinterest, but you can do this in other ways if you don't have or don't want to sign up for Pinterest. Like you can use screenshots of images off the Internet, pop them into PowerPoint slides or apps like Evernote. We're going to jump on in here and create a mood board, and we're going to call it journals. Now I'm just going to scroll through here and just free associate and pin anything that looks like it could be related to my subject, anything that looks interesting to me. Let's see. Pens or something, obviously that's related, and I really love using pens. I love all kinds of different pens and these highlighters are so cute. I'm always looking for the very best pen always. If I find one, I've got like 20 of them. I really like these fountain pens. Pens, that's making me think of office supplies. Office supplies, like post-it notes that I'm always putting like little post-it notes in my journals to, I'm thinking of something somewhere else and then I post it into my journal. Also, writings, like handwriting, lettering, things like that. This is a really great thing to do to snap you out of your habitual thinking about something. Like if I'm thinking about journals, it's very narrow, but this, it snaps you out and remind you of all of the things that are actually related to journals and all of the input that goes into your brain when you're thinking about a thing. I'm thinking about libraries now. I really like the images of these huge, beautiful, epic libraries. Like look at that. Oh my gosh. I love those old beautiful libraries. I wanted to look at handmade papers. I really love the texture in these and something that it's so earthy, and I really like the colors, these like browns and ivory colors. These are colors I'd like to probably incorporate. My own experience with mood boarding is whenever I start a project, I almost always start with a mood board, because it really helps me to think through patterns and colors and textures and moods and anything that a client wants to convey through their message. This will really get my juices flowing to develop a concept. I've got thinking art supplies. Oh my gosh. I love supplies, like office supplies. Oh my God, I get tingles just thinking about office supplies. If I go to an office supply store, I just want all of the office supplies. I don't know what it is. Also, when I am journaling, I'm always drinking coffee. Journaling coffee, coffee journaling. I almost just simply can't journal without a coffee at my end. I can't do a lot of things without a coffee in my hand. Let's be real. Then I know we've got those beautiful browns and those cream colors again, oh my gosh it just makes me feel like Saturday morning. When I was younger, I was really into stationary. I don't write letters anymore, but I used to. Oh, man, was I ever a letter writer? I used to write these big long letters to my friends in different states. Look at those. Now we're getting into like actual journals. This is exciting me so much. I love those stacks of pens. Look at that stack of books. Stack of journals there with colorful journals. Oh my goodness. I swear to God, I had these when I was a kid, I had something that looked so much like that. I started with the word journal and I ended up pinning notebooks, office supplies, pens, stationery, paper products, handwriting, and what started to come up for me is that my obsession with journaling wasn't me just liking to write. What led me to journaling was my love for seeing words written on paper, all the fun pens I would use. I mean I was also quite introspective, so that ended up being the primary reason I maintained my journaling practice, but the fuel was really my love for paper and office supplies. Think about that when you're going through this as well. What else did you learn about your collection? Did your mood board take you somewhere unexpected? By the end of this lesson, you should have a mood board that has a bunch of associated imagery related to your topic, and then this will help guide you as we go on. In the next lesson, we're going to develop a representational icon associated with it. I'll see you there. 5. Develop Your Representational Icon: In this lesson, we're going to use our mood boards to inspire the development of an icon that visually represents your subject. This lesson I'll teach you about how to turn something representational into something more abstract. We'll sketch some shapes and objects. We will iterate and exaggerate them to create an abstract and expressive representation. For this lesson, you're going to need your mood board and pad of paper or sketch paper and something to write or draw with. Let's talk a second about icons. Our brains use symbols or representational imagery when we process information. Which is why when you first learn to draw and you draw a person, you make a smile this just to you and ears that are just little half circles. These are universal symbols of mouths and ears. You draw them in a circle and immediately everyone knows exactly what they are. Ears and smiles don't actually look like that. They're much more complex and nuanced. But our brains have just boiled down that information into this simple symbol that we recognize an icon. Humans have been using iconography and art since we were drawing in caves. In your piece, we want to reference your collection with an icon to make a nod to your collection. But we want to add abstraction to make it slightly less recognizable and more interesting, , to take it from the representational into the abstract. One way to do that is to exaggerate the form and to use gestural marks, which I'm going to show you next. I've got here a mixed media piece of paper. For pens, I'm going to use this Tombow brush pen, this dual brush pen. On one side it's got a nice little nib and on the other side it's got a nice brush side. Then this is a brush pen that has an inkwell. You can squeeze out more ink as you need it. I'm going to pick something here and then I'm just going to draw a row of icons all the way across. Each time I draw it, I'm going to exaggerate it and play with different aspects of it. One thing to think about is to play with form. Make it thin, make it thick, make it round, play with the shape of it. Also you can experiment with line, so thick lines, thin lines. You can also experiment with texture. This pen can often give a lot of really nice texture. Because if there's not a ton of ink in it, then you get these gaps in the flow of ink, which causes a really nice texture. You can see here I'm messing with line and shape and texture and a lot of these. Just by the time you get to the very end, the icon looks hardly anything at all like the very first one that you started with. One thing to think about is don't get in your head too much, don't worry about it looking weird and it's going to look weird. That's part of the point of it. Get experimental and yeah, get weird. Weirdness is accepted here. Now, as you're drawing these icons, think about what are the basic shapes that they're made out of and play with those shapes and that form. This is lines, and so I mess with lines all throughout, lines and rectangles. You can see I'm just messing around with lines and rectangles. I can mean that's super weird. But it's cool looking. It looks nothing like a pen, but I like it. Here's my completed icon sheets here. I'm just going to circle the ones that I like the most to narrow it down. Because in the next lesson, we're going to use a couple of these favorites for messing with visualizations. I like these up here. I like these three. I like that. I like that one. It's very simple. I like these. I'm really digging this weird one down here. Just to recap here, some ways that you can move from representational to abstraction is to exaggerate and play with the line, the form, the texture. You can break your icons down into their basic shapes and play with those in different ways. Don't forget to get weird. Abstraction is the goal, so don't worry if it's looking strange. Now, we're going to switch gears and in the next lesson we're going to use the left side of our brain a little bit to define some characteristics and some attributes of our collection. In the project and resources section of the class, you'll find it download. Feel free to download this and print it out before moving to the next lesson, it'll help you organize the information that you're going to be collecting in the next lesson. See you on the other side. 6. Defining Attributes: In this lesson, we're going to learn how to define or categorize our collection and collect data on it. We're going to do this by assigning scales of measurement to our items. What is a scale of measurement? A scale of measurement is the way in which an object is defined or categorized. For example, if I'm going to study an apple, I can assign a scale of measurement that defines it as organic or standard. When I'm collecting data on apples, if I encounter one is organic, I mark it as organic. These characteristics are scales of measurement. In the case of the apple, this is considered a nominal scale. There are many different types of scales that researchers use, but in this class we're going to focus only on two; nominal and ordinal. A nominal scale is categorical information. An example is eye color: blue, green, brown. Or direction; North, East, South, West. The characteristic either is or it is not, there's no variation. For example, when I'm referring to my journals, a nominal scale might be covered type; soft cover, hardcover. It's one of those and nothing else. An ordinal scale, on the other hand, has variation. The most common one which you've probably seen before, lives in a survey. When you're asked, to what degree do you like this product? You get to rank your feeling on a scale that ranges from, I love it to I hate it. For my journals, one of these scales might be, how pretty do I think that the journal is? I can answer on a scale of so pretty to, kind of pretty to, it's really ugly. In research, you would ask a question and let the development of your scales answer your question. But in this class we are going to free ourselves from the rules of research, and we're going to define whatever attributes we want to define because we can. However, if you really want to ask a question and try and develop scales to answer that question, then have at it. The download that I gave you is going to have similar organization as this one. But if you want to go ahead and make your own and follow this, then you can totally do that. For each of these little boxes, you're going to line them and mark them 1-4. Because we need to assign four options to each and the numbers matter. For the nominal scale, remember the nominal scale it either is or it isn't. There's no variation with these options. For size of my journals, some are small and some are large. The cover types, some are hard and some are soft. There's no other option than that. For paper on the inside, some of them are lined and some of them are blank. The spines are two different types of spines, so there's spiral. I can't think of the name of the other type right now, but I'm just going to say not spiral. For the nominal scales, you don't have to fill up all four. But if there are four options, put four on there. But we're going to cap it at four for all of these, it can be less, but it can't be any more than four. For my topics, I do art journals, thought journals, work journals, and the calendar. The thing with an ordinal scale is that you can't quantify the exact difference between the options. A lot of times we use our feelings about something, if you think about that, you can't really quantify the difference between liking something a little bit and liking something a little bit more than a little bit. There's no way to quantify that, it's a feeling. Some ideas to get your juices flowing for different ways to track ordinal data, it's usually defined by frequency, so I'm putting frequency here. The importance of something would fall into an ordinal scale. Your likelihood of something happening. Also the quality of something would fall in an ordinal scale. My enjoyment in using is like my satisfaction with something, that would be an ordinal scale. Then this last one, the pretty, that would be like the quality of something or my feeling of the quality of something. It goes all the way from here to I can't stop thinking about it. Sometimes I get a journal out and just look at it because I think it's so pretty, but maybe I don't write in it. Now before moving on to the next lesson, you're going to want to select two nominal scales and two of the ordinal scales that you have outlined in your worksheet. These are then going to be the attributes that we are going to illustrate. Then in our next lesson, we're going to switch back to our right brain and start to look at some abstract works of art to gain inspiration about composition for our final piece. 7. Inspiration from Abstract Art: In this lesson, we're going to gather inspiration for our final piece by looking at existing pieces of abstract art. You're going to learn a couple of things about gathering inspiration without falling into the trap of copying. As you may have picked up by now, I really rely heavily on gathering inspiration. I think that there's this misconception that artists just magically have these beautiful inspiring thoughts and can just reach into their brains and pull out these amazing pieces that are totally unique and interesting. But in my experience, for me, I am almost 100 percent uninspired unless I look at something that inspires me. I like to get inspiration from going out in nature, riffing off of things with friends, watching TV, flipping through books or magazines or the Internet. There's a lot of places that inspiration can come from. Don't think that you just have to just wake up one day and be brilliant. There are ways to gather inspiration without falling into the trap of copying. I'm going to go back to Pinterest because this is really just the easiest digital spot to search for images and get inspiration and keep everything organized. I've linked you to this Pinterest board in the project and resources section so feel free to use it for your own reference. Some things we're going to be looking for in these works. One, what aspects of these works can lend themselves to data visualization, such as things like looking at pieces that can be counted. Shapes that show variation, have similar icons on repeat. Number 2 is what compositions inspire you and why? Looking at how things are situated on the canvas and why those are interesting to you, what you like about them; and third, what about these works is interesting to you? So will be thinking about things like texture, and color, and style, and balance, and composition, and mood. All of these things are qualities that you can take away and use for yourself without doing exactly what the other artist was doing. I put together a Pinterest board of different abstract art to go through. We're just going to look at some of these and talk about the qualities that we want to take away. So this one right here, I really like how this has like this big chunk of color and then some dispersed, just black and white. But I really like how it's chunked out and it's got that big chunk of color. These are nice and would blend themselves to data really well. Down in the bottom left, that one's got that cool like radial pattern like that. This is cool. So I could see these being icons and the texture is really interesting to me. They achieve this by using this potato as a stamp. They would just dip it in ink and then stamp the repeating pattern across the page and it's really nice. I like that. This is cool. I like these lines that are flowing across in circles. It really creates an energy to the piece that I find really interesting. In the contrast, it's got this contrast of like straight lines and then these wavy, this movement happening. I think that that's really cool. I like how it's divided in half and half of it is, they're filled in and half of them are not filled in. It's almost like they're in the middle of a sketch or something. I like how it falls off the page. It's almost like it adds a bit of mystery to it. Like you're just seeing a small snapshot of it like you want to know what is going on in the bigger composition. This is cool. This layout, this makes me think that you could almost do this project with like a collage. So you could cut out your icons and lay them on the page, layered on top of each other like a collage. That's really cool. I like that. This, I really like this because it's got this feeling of tension and then release. So it's like chaotic. To the left, it's organized and tightly wound and then suddenly there's just chaos, that's cool and those are just lines. This is cool. I can see data being presented in something like this. These are almost like little stamps. They look like thumbprints. I can see like if you have a data piece that's got a 100 different pieces in it, you could use something like this and then use just like a marker to on the inside of them to differentiate the different data. It's just simple. I really like these browns and ivory colors. I'm really considering using this kind of style for my final piece, In this also, it almost looks like it's wood, so it's got this texture to it and the shapes are really big and round. This is cool. It's like one continuous line. I can see something like this being you have all of these lines is continuous line and then within all of this, you could make your icons inside of that madness. Similar here. Something like this, it's just chaos, just lines, just total chaos and then you could like bury the icons within that somewhere. I like this composition. Imagine these little pieces of these lines coming off here, were data and there's attached to this larger piece. You can create a piece of your composition that has nothing to do with the data, just hang the data on if that makes sense. Similar here, anchored. All of these lines are like anchored by these figure in the middle. You've got this like cross figure in the middle and then all of these lines that are attached to it almost like a magnet. I like this. This is really cool. First, I really like the texture. I like the watercolor texture. This is a collage. This is all cut out. But, I like the imperfection of the lines in there. I don't know, I like the imperfection of it. Just to recap. Don't forget that inspiration is all over the place. It's outside, it's inside, it's in works of art, but it's also in your environment. It's in everything that you look at and touch. Think about that as you're going through life and also let the qualities of things inform your work. What is the texture, what is the mood? What's the color? What is the style that's being used? How can you incorporate that with your own unique voice? In the next lesson, we're going to go full throttle right brain and we're going to start to develop some visualizations for our scales. Keep all of these pieces in the forefront of your mind. But remember to use the qualities of the pieces only. 8. Create Your Visualizations: In this lesson, we're going to start working with visualizations. You're going to learn some simple techniques to visualize data. No doubt in life you've seen data visualizations. They're all over the place. Visualizing data can take on a lot of different forums. Usually people use software or coding languages to create visualizations, but guess what? We're not all coding specialists and Excel masters. We can illustrate data with a pencil or paint. Our ultimate goal here is to create a visualization with four variations to assign to each of the four options of our scales. We'll be marking up size, color, rotation, shape, line, texture, and different marks. We're going to mark up a bunch of these so that you can see what they look like. They can end up looking really cool and so I invite you to post what you've created here in your class project. I'm going to use watercolor for this exercise and I'm going to be painting on a watercolor journal, it's smallish. I'm going to practice with some of my favorite icons that I created earlier. The first visualization we're going to work with is size. I'm going to use that icon right there and I'm just going to sketch it out and fill up this whole page here with different sizes of that icon. I've got normal size, I've got small sizes. I'm just stretching them out and making lots of different sizes of that one same icon. In the next one, we're going to start playing with color. I'm going to use this icon right here and I'm just going to fill up the page. I'm going to put three rows of this icon because we're actually going to be working with three different color schemes, three different color palettes. The first one that we're going to be doing is value. Value is how light or dark a color is. With watercolor, you can achieve a lighter color the more water you put on your brush, so just play around with light to dark. In more opaque paints, you would add white to make it a lighter color. The next one we're going to use analogous colors. Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. I'm going to show you a color wheel here so you can see what I'm talking about. You can see here they sit next to each other, so we're going to play around with that. We've got yellows, we've got oranges, reds and we're just going to put on different shades of those colors in the row here. I like analogous color combinations. In the last row, we're going to work with complimentary colors. Complimentary colors are colors that are across from each other on the color wheel. We're going to use yellow and blue. It's interesting because you can see if you look at the whole composition, the second you put these blues in here, it just brings the whole composition together. There's a harmonious feel now to the whole thing that I just really like adding a complimentary pop. Feel free to use any color palette you want though. These are just some ideas to get you started. The next visualization we're going to work on is rotation. Rotation, you put your icon in here and then you just start rotating it. Play around with this, fill up your page with all kinds of different rotations of the same thing. Then color it in if you want, not necessary, but the next one, we are going to be working with shape. I'm going to use this little spiral here. You can see I'm doing a fat shape and a really big, open shape. Then on the next line, we're going to be working with line on the same shapes. You've got these really thin lines and as you go across the page, you can thicken up those lines. On this last line, we're going to play with line in a different way. We're going to do a straight line. Then we're going to go to a wavy line, just showing different ways that you can play with line. You don't have to do it this way, but these are some options. This one we're going to play with texture. You're basically going to be filling up your icons with different patterns, different doodles. Just get creative here and you can fill them up with whatever you want. In the end, you're only going to need four variations. But to fill up a page with a bunch, I'll give you a lot of different options, because in the end you're going to want to choose four for each visualization. In this one, we are going to start working on marks. I'm setting it up, but marks are basically just different markings that you can add to your visualization, that you can use with a pen or just a different color paint. The options are really endless here. You're just decorating with lines and marks your icon. Again, the idea is that you would create four variations of a particular line that you've chosen. These ones at the top aren't variations on each other, but the ones on the bottom are. I'm just now marking up what this could like, what some different ideas are, so you can see what adding marks might look like to your icons. Now we're going to start thinking about these as decorations. Some of them make sense to decorate the whole icon, for example, the whole icon will rotate with a rotation visualizations, but could also be true with the color one and the shape one. But you can also build a structure with a combination of things. This is an example of a project mark up I did. The colors represented a certain scale and the line dot patterns that you see here represent another scale. The lines that come off of these depending on the number of branches there are, they represent another scale and the teardrops at the top had nothing to do with the data, we just added ornamentation to the design. If you want to experiment, building a structure like this gives you a little more flexibility and what the final piece could look like, because you're not limited to just decorating one icon. In the next lesson, you're going to need to have chosen your icon, your four scales, and also your four visualizations because we're going to be creating our legend and we need all of those things to do that. I'll see you there. 9. Create Your Legend: In this lesson, you're going to create a legend, so that you can reference this to know exactly how to illustrate each of your icons. It's also going to be a guide for viewers so that they can read your piece. Now, I have created a template for this that you can find in the resources section, so you can download that and it'll help you lay everything out in an organized way. But if you have other ideas for how you want the legend to look or you just want to like do it free-flow, totally fine. But this will also be an area that I would love for you guys to post whatever you've come up with, because it would be great for us to be able to look at your piece and understand how to read it. Certainly you've all encountered legends before. A legend is a visual guide that describes certain visual elements that you're seeing in a piece. It's a way to decode the visual elements. Because our visualizations are representations of data, it becomes something like a dictionary, but for imagery. Let's get into this. The download that I've provided will look a little bit like this. I encourage you to use this format when creating your project just for organization sake. If you want to redo it later in your own style to accompany the piece, I highly encourage you to do so. The legend isn't meant to go on the front of the piece like it would in a typical data visualization, but if you want to add it to the back or create a little companion piece, I think that would be super fun. Here the very first column is the scale. You're going to take the four scales that you've chosen and you're going to add them to each of these sections here. I'm only showing three, but there's actually four. Then you're going to list the visualization type that you've chosen to go with each scale. I've chosen size. This is girth, but it's really more like a line. You'll see it in a second. Then this one I'm using marks, and the last one I'm using rotation. Then you're going to remember how we numbered these. Well, you're going to take those numbers, those options that line up with the numbers, and you're going to write them across the top here so you can see the numbers, you just can line them up. For my topic, I had art, thoughts, work, and calendar. For my paper, I only had two options. I had lined and blank. Then enjoyment using this was I was using a scale that showed that this range of my enjoyment going from no enjoyment to getting tingles. I'm just going to fill in what those options might be in the in-between part. Now, we're going to put the visualization in here that goes along with it. For size, I'm going to show everything that goes from a small size all the way up to the large size. This won't be to scale on your piece, it's just showing the reader basically what you're doing with the visualizations. This one is like a thin and a thick. Then with the marks, I'm going to use these little dots on the side, but I'm going to just put them all here first and then you'll see. I've got four variations of these little dots. Then the last one is rotation. Make sure that you post your legend along with your final piece in the project section so that we can see what visualizations you used on your final piece. In the next lesson, we are going to be collecting data. Let's switch back to our left brain, and I have provided a template for the data collection that you can find in the resources section, so get your stuff together and we'll see you in the next class. 10. Collect Data: Now it's time to collect data on your collection. In this lesson, you'll go through your collection, and for each piece, you'll assign a numeric value from each of your scales. At the end, you'll have our little version of a data sheet. In real research projects, this would be probably an Excel sheet or a database of some kind. But I've provided a worksheet to help you do this manually, but like before, if you have a more preferred way of doing this, please be my guest. You can find it in the resources section. If you're going to make your own, just make sure that you do it with the same structure that you see here. Using the worksheet that we made in the lesson where we defined our attributes, we're going to add our scales and their associated options to the top of our data sheet. Then we're going to start pulling pieces from our collection and cataloging them with the numeric values that I'm writing out here at the top. I'm going to take my first journal and I'm going to write it down here in the line. Let's see what topic is it. It is a Thoughts. It falls under thoughts. I'm going to mark it as a two, it's a blank-lined paper. I enjoy it. I'd say a level of 3, and completion, it's almost empty. Then we're just going to do that for all of our items. Now that you have your data ready to go, you can take your data sheet and set it aside. In the next lesson, we're going to take our icons and the assigned visualizations and we're going to start to draft up some little concept thumbnail sketches of what our final piece is going to look like. To prep for that, you'll need something to sketch with, probably use a piece of paper that will take a little bit of paint. I'm going to be using a mixed media piece of paper because you can apply various media on that. I'd get out the materials you're going to use for your final piece here so that if the opportunity arises, you can sketch these out with real colors if you want to test out any color combinations. That's it. I'll see you in the next lesson. 11. Thumbnail Sketches: In this lesson, we are going to focus on composition. Before you draft your final project, we're going to make a few thumbnail sketches of your composition. Now this is your opportunity to test out your ideas and the placement of your icons, the colors you want to use. You can use whatever materials you have on hand. I'm going to be using mostly marker, but I'll use watercolor and some markers to test out some of the color combinations. It wasn't until I started using thumbnail sketches in earnest, before I started really feeling confident with approaching my final piece. A thumbnail sketch is a small sketched out version of your piece. It's like a little testing ground where you can see if your ideas work basically. I'll be honest with you. The first time I tested out this project, I did not use a thumbnail. I just went straight in. I had an idea in my head. It seemed like a great idea. I went straight in and it ended up looking terrible. It went straight in the trash, and I started again, and this time I used thumbnail sketches and I figured out the color combinations that worked and the composition and what I ended up with I thought was pretty decent, thanks to thumbnail sketches. Let's dive in. You're going to want to divide your paper up into small boxes to do your thumbnail sketches. You might want to go back to your Pinterest board of abstract art to get some ideas of some of the qualities you liked there that you might want to incorporate. Something to say about the thumbnails, they should go quickly and you don't need to be precious about getting things just right. You just want to quickly get a visual of the composition to see if it makes any sense the way that you see it in your head. For example, that one right there did not at all turn out how I thought I saw it in my head. I saw it sort of like hanging the icons on strings, but you can see it didn't really work out. I didn't really like it that much. I thought that maybe having all of my icons layered on top of one another might look cool. If I wanted to use watercolor, you'd be able to see all of the different layers. I remember I liked the piece that had shapes hanging off the canvas, making it seem like the image had been cropped, so I'm trying that out here, I like that. I like to see what a really simple composition would look like because though all the pieces have just been scattered on the page randomly, maybe light colored icons and a dark background, so trying that out. Remember that you can incorporate elements that have nothing to do with your icons to add visual interest. I remember in that piece that had a big blob of color on one half, so I'm just going to see what that might look like with my icons. I thought that that look was really cool. It almost looks like they're falling out of a dark stormy sky into the sunlight. On this next one, I think I'd like to see what it would look like to add background of texture or line work that moves around the icons. I'm going to take my pen and put a bunch of line work here. Maybe it doesn't fill up the whole page, but maybe it goes around some of the icons. For this one, I'd like to see what it would look like for the icons to live in squares, like the Hollywood Squares, but maybe not so structured like maybe the squares around them are angular. Like what that looks like. A little bit. Like they each have their own little separate space. I remember really liking some of the abstract works that had movement in them where there were curves, sweeping lines among the angular pieces. To add some to my own movement to the design, I think in this one I'll make the background this like a bunch of waves, and then I'm going to place the icons on top of this background design but make them darker. It'll be contrast. Maybe like the icons are, I don't know, it's almost like they're in space or something; or like they're falling into some epic black hole. That's cool. I sort of like that. I'm going to star some of them and pick the one I like the most to do some color combinations. I like that one, that one. But I think I'm going to go with a super-simple middle one. Now I'm going to mock up three different color combinations to try out here with that middle piece. I really like those earthy colors. I really liked the browns in the ivory color. I'm going to see what this olive color looks like on top of this cream, yellow color. See if I like that. I think this olive color is pretty popular right now. With this yellow, I'm going to try out brown on top of the yellow, orange. I kind of like that one. I probably like that one better than the green. This one, I'm going to make a light color icon in the middle with that ivory color. Already, I'm liking that a lot. I'm going to use that one for my final piece. By the end of this lesson, you should have a thumbnail that you feel good about that you want to apply to your final piece. Get your data sheet and your legend and your supplies and let's dive in. 12. Plot, Draw, Design!: In this lesson, we are going to put all of the pieces together. We're going to take our datasheets, our legends, and our thumbnail sketch, along with all of our supplies and we are going to finally illustrate our final piece. For this piece, I'm going to be using a watercolor paper, a 140-pound cold press, and some acrylic gouache. I've got three colors here because I'm going to mix them up to make brown. This right here is a palette paper. This is what you can use to mix acrylic paint on. Then I've got some paintbrushes, a large one and a small one, and this Posca paint pen that I am going to use for some details. I've got some pencil and eraser to sketch. I think I'm ready to go. This is where you are going to build your icons with your visualizations. We're going to need the datasheet and you're going to just go line by line down here and assign a visualization to each of your numbers. For the first one, it's a two for topic, so that is a medium-small icon. Then it's a two for paper, so it's thick. It's medium, small, thick. Three for enjoyment, so it's got three dots, and it's a two for completion, so it's angled down like that. I'm not going to worry about the marks. I'm going to do that at the very end. That's all the way down here on the two columns, so it's medium, big, thick, and angled down. I'm just going to test that out. I'm going to make sure I angle it down. It's medium and it's thick, and then it has three dots. I would suggest going through each of these just to make sure you've got it all correct. Then once you have it, then you can just set it aside and look at it as you create your bigger piece. 13. Closing: I really hope you enjoyed taking this class with me. I hope that you learned more than just data visualization, but that you learn something about your collection. What messages did your visualization teach you once all was said and done? Did you find anything else that was surprising or predictable? I'd love to hear your feedback in the discussions tab. That's the end of my class. I just want to thank you all for taking the class truly. It has been a very cool project for me. I've been wanting to develop a process for this for a long time and I have a lot of ideas for future classes. Make sure that you follow me so that you can know when I have more classes coming out, and until then, be safe, be well, and keep creating. My Rosie. My little Rosie. Yes ma'am. You are so sweet. You're the sweetest girl. You're the sweetest girl. Do you have to poop? It looks like you have a scarf on. Do you have a scarf on, Rosie?