Drawing at Work is Not an Art Contest

September 15, 20142 min

Whenever I ask people to draw a diagram or explain an idea in pictures, I always sense a hint of tension.  People take a deep breath and hold it tight.  How can we not compare our meager skills to a creative genius like Claude Monet or Andy Warhol?  Let me let you in on a little secret, when you are asked to draw something at work, relax – it is not an art contest.

When I teach or do work as a consultant, I tend to rely on many drawing exercises since many issues in the workplace are complex and hard to describe.  I know it is any old cliche, but a picture is worth a thousand words.  In my experience, Draw the Problem often times makes the solution completely obvious.  Drawings tend to get people in a creative frame of mind especially if you offer them a variety of colored markers.  As with any drawing activity is very important to remind the participants they are not in an art contest, we are just using the drawing to express an idea.  To help people relax about drawing and focus on expressing their ideas, I suggest you have a good variety of stickers available (animals, shapes, insects, rockets, etc.) and glossy, gossip-style magazines so people can cut out the pictures and use in their drawings

Drawing is much easier than it sounds and here is a checklist of the basics you need to know how to do:

  1. Can you draw the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9?
  2. Can you draw in capital letters the letters of the alphabet from A to Z?
  3. Can draw the basic line constructions of a point\dot, (mostly) straight line, arc, spiral and loop?
  4. Can draw the basic shapes of of circle, oval, square, rectangle and triangle?
  5. Can you draw the complex shades of arrow, star, asterisk, house, cloud, cylinder and box?


Basically, if you can draw anything a competent seven-year-old can make with crayons and construction paper, you have the drawing skills necessary to facilitate a game or participate in an activity.  If you still feed you need some improvement, bring some colored markers to work, start practicing with the forms in the Gamestorming book and you will find drawing is a lot like riding a bike – you never forget how to do it.