The Art of Seeing

I recently started sketching again, and I’ve been having a blast. I used to love sketching and drawing when I was younger, but it somehow fell to the wayside over the years as these things tend to do.

During my time at ?What If!, I loved hanging out and working with our phenomenal designers because it was just magical seeing them bring things to life with such deft and confident strokes of the pen (or mouse). I hoped that perhaps I could learn a few things by sheer osmosis. And if I took away anything, it was seeing how powerful it really was to bring abstract things to life through compelling visuals, movies, or even rough prototypes. There is a joy in creating things, and I loved every single second of it.

Once I started sketching a bit regularly, I noticed something quite remarkable. While walking down the street, my eyes started honing in on things that I had not noticed before. I started observing the unique lines and shapes of people’s faces and the way they shifted their weight while waiting for Seattle’s mighty monorail. I saw lines everywhere, converging and diverging. It was as if I were seeing the world with a whole new set of eyes.

In a recent interview, Chris Rock mentioned that a big part of a comedian’s job is to notice things that people typically overlook, forget, or just ignore. And with that hypersensitivity (or is it that the rest of us are just numbed and simply unaware?), comedians are able to use what they observe to create their material.

For innovators, we know how important it is to look at the world with Fresh Eyes. When we look at the world with fresh eyes, we can throw away the assumptions and preconceptions of how we think the world should be and see the world as it really is. I never thought that sketching would help me with this, but I’m incredibly grateful for this gift.

If you haven’t sketched in awhile, I suggest trying it out. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you see the world with a set of Fresh Eyes!

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