Icon a go-go

In last weeks hands on workshop we asked our participants to do an “icon jam”, essentially a visual brainstorming activity, in which we collaboratively (and quickly) generate a series of icons based, and then share the results afterwords and discuss. This can be a challenge for those that have not had a lot of experience drawing, but I believe people come away with a better understanding of the subjective nature of visual language, and that ‘getting it right’ is not as important as making an impact.

Icon Jam 2015 Gallery


Icons will no doubt continue to play an important role in many of the educational media assets being created in our course, so I thought I would share a few extra online resources to help you find and make them, as well as a BONUS CHALLENGE you can use to practice your icon making skills.  But first.. some resources! Continue reading “Icon a go-go”

Make it BOLD


An inspiring post with 50 inspirational quotes all done up with some amazingly creative uses of typography. It was hard to choose the one I wanted to share in this post but thinking back to our “Going Visual” workshop this past week, the admonition to “Keep it bold” rung the most true. These images were meant to give our workshop participants some inspiration as they are preparing to get an edmedia project started, but following the breadcrumbs I realized there were more treasure on this site to be had.

First there are a good collection of design assignments and tutorials and teaching materials covering the basics of graphic design, and some challenges to get you practicing your design skills. 2nd, the site is actually the brainchild of a design software called Canva, that provides tools and software for generating all kinds of design images such as posters, social media icons and web graphics. I havent fully explored this app, (although I’m downloading the ipad app right now! ) but look forward to seeing what it can do. A free and simple alternative to professional design software such as the Adobe Creative Suite.

Drawing and design on the ‘Youshow’

I’ve been following the Youshow faithfully these past weeks, and signed up my personal blog and started doing some of these crazy daily assignments.

This week was of particular interest because they were covering visual design, and drawing and had invited guest speak Nancy White to drop some science on them! I’ve been fortunate to participated in many learning experiences with Nancy over the years, and know she has a wealth of it to go around. In Brians words…

We asked Nancy to elaborate on the ideas of what design means visually as well as for organizations and projects, and come away with some new activities that are introduced in this week’s unit on It’s All By Design (link TBA).

As we have a our own “Going Visual” workshop running tomorrow and an upcoming session on using sound in the classroom, this is a perfect time for me to engage in the YouShow, and build up some of the resources on our session page. If you are interested in design and visual practices, please check out our workshop and the fabulous collection of design resources and activities brewing over at the youshow.

Lynda Barry Lesson Ideas

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.41.25 PMIn my free time, I’ve been making my way through Lynda Barry’s book, “Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor.”  Lynda Barry is an American cartoonist, author and educator who has become well known for her funny and densely packed visual stories. I’ve admired her work for a while, but I didn’t realize she also taught courses on creativity, the unconscious and writing. This book is a collection of her syllabi from her experiences teaching at the University of Wisconsin Madison. But it’s not just that. It’s also an exploration of the imagination and how it works to create art. The book chronicles some of her thoughts on the matter, and how she worked to push her students beyond the ordinary.

It’s engaging both in content and style. You might be inspired by her innovative lesson plans and writing exercises. You can buy it here.


Back of the Napkin Bio Activity



The Back of the Napkin Bio is an activity that is part of our “Going Visual” workshop, in which participants learn to be better visualizers. This activity tends to be a favourite, so we are including the instruction sheets here, for your use.

This downloadable going visual handout (PDF) is an instruction guide for the activity, and the going visual tips handout (PDF) contains some hints that we give participants before the activity. We only go over these very briefly; the second half of the workshop is devoted to going into those concepts in depth.

Feel free to make use of these and enjoy!