Going Visual II


Further practice for your drawing skills, theory and technique for applying them to your teaching in more mediated ways. This session will guide you through advanced exercises and design principles to enhance your visual practice in the classroom.

Monster challenge – warm up


Visual basics – Review


Sketcho Frenzy: The Basics of Visual Note-taking

What is sketchnoting? What are the importance of sketchbooks?

  • Show the sketchnote handbook (Mike Rhode)
  • Show quote in document camera “Sketchnotes are a map”.
  • Show the Instructional plan vs. the ‘Sketchnote’ plan


Text Basics

More in 4

Yonkoma – 4 cell manga

Ki (起):The first panel forms the basis of the story; it sets the scene.
Shō (承): The second panel develops upon the foundation of the story laid down in the first panel.
Ten (転): The third panel is the climax, in which an unforeseen development occurs.
Ketsu (結): The fourth panel is the conclusion, in which the effects of the third panel are seen.

Storytelling can be challenging, but boiling down the essential components of a story to its essential visual elements can help you understand whats important to keep.  One exercise you can do to help practice your visual story telling skills is the “Four icon challenge“.

Kyle Tezak – 4 icon challenge

Kyle, a designer in Minneapolis published the challenge as a “fun design challenge” but ended up pushing it further than expected.

This personal project attempts to boil down stories into four icons while keeping the narrative intact. The project started as a fun design challenge for me to do in my spare time, but I actually ended up learning a lot about the significance of objects and themes in storytelling. It also forced me to re-examine some of my favorite stories and gain a deeper understanding of them.

4 icons representing the film Cool Hand Luke by Tom Woodward.
4 icons representing the film Cool Hand Luke by Tom Woodward.

This idea was picked up and framed as a creative exercise for digital storytelling students by Tom Woodward.

Assignment: Reduce a movie, story, or event into its basic elements, then take those visuals and reduce them further to simple icons.

Posted in the  DS106 assignment bank.

For the EdMedia program,I have refined the instructions below and added some variations. The challenge is to find the icons, images or visuals that you make yourself, that tell the story as best you can.

  1. Four ICON instructions
  2. Choose your story. This could be a movie, or book from popular culture or a story of your own.
  3. Choose you media and consider your space.  Feel free to experiment or try some new format.
  4. Post your 4 icon story to the EdMedia website. If you want to make a game out of do not share the title, but let your audience figure it out on their own!

TIP: To find a wide selection of free icons and visual references, a great resource is The Noun Project. As we discussed in Going Visual I, icons are a powerful and efficient way to visually communicate large concepts and ideas.


Visual syllabus

Check out our video syllabus:

Fore more details on making movies or “explainer videos” from your drawings (and so many videos), check out Jasons post “Teaching through whiteboarding“.


A B C, 1 2 3- text and typography

To show letters as a visual elements. Explain a bit about letters, Upper/lowercase Size, Style, Serif, Sans-Serif, Script

A great open textbook resource has been posted to the BC Campus Solr repository called, Graphic Design and Print Production Fundamentals. You can read it online here -> https://opentextbc.ca/graphicdesign/ but I have added a couple of specific pages for these discussions.


‘Back of the napkin’ bio

  • Activity! This is a form of “Flipchart resume”. We are going to try and find out a bit more about each participant, and where they are going with their Educational Media, while at the same time practicing our visual communication skills.You will need to …- Conduct a 5 min. interview and record notes quickly and efficiently.- Capture as much information as possible on the page, include as many details as you can.- Divide your page – You will need five separate areas to record the responses to five questions.- Choose your tools – Colours may be used convey meaning, choose them wisely. 3 colors MAX.- Record the person’s responses with at least 1 image, and no more than one word.

    Interview questions

  • How are you feeling today?
  • Besides drawing, what other creative outlets do you enjoy?
  • What is your main teaching challenge?
  • Free Choice: Choose one final question to ask your interviewee

    – Switch and repeat

    – Gather for critique

    Modified from “A Better Icebreaker

    Source: http://johnleskodotbiz.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/a-better-icebreaker/


Misc Resources

Importance of using drawing to teach

Examples of visuals in courses (internal)

Drawing Apps (for ipad)

      • Paper – https://www.fiftythree.com/
      • Autodesk Sketchbook
      • Photoshop Sketch
      • Illustrator Draw
      • Bamboo Paper
      • Forge
      • Sketchbook Express
      • Talkboard
      • Drawsomething
      • Penultimate


PDF Annotation Apps

      • Notability 6.99
      • Goodnotes 8.99
      • Document 5 Free

Design in Teaching

Websites for hosting/sharing/embedding visuals

Innovations of drawing in the classroom

Reading list


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