Add Visuals to Your Writing pt. 2
Announcing Procreate for Writers, a guide to help you reconnect with your inner illustrator
Hey everyone 👋. I'm John. Welcome to Creators' Corner: a place where I share advice on creativity & mindset. Here's the previous edition of the newsletter if you missed it.
Welcome to part 2 of the series!
Last week we spoke about the benefits of adding visuals to your writing. Not only for your reader (the point of your essay lands immediately) but also for you as the writer (distilling your thinking, building a brand, increasing your luck and overcoming perfectionism).
This week we get down to business. We will cover:
How to use Procreate (new video product),
A technique to create effective drawings, and
Two strategies to generate ideas.
1. How to use Procreate
I am excited to announce my latest digital product!
Procreate for Writers - a video course that will help you reconnect with your inner illustrator and create effective drawings using Procreate (one of the best illustration apps out there).
This mini-course is based on my top learnings from hosting half a dozen creativity workshops over the last 6 months and helping more than 100 people create effective illustrations.
Who is this for? Anyone who would like to add illustrations to their work. Primarily for writers who want to create sketches that will complement their essays and books. But also for people who want to add illustrations to their next big pitch deck.
What’s included? The mini-course is split into two parts:
Part 1 consists of a 16-minute video and slide deck that covers the benefits of adding visuals to your work + my favourite technique for creating effective visuals. It also includes a Notion dashboard with images to kickstart your drawing journey.
Part 2 includes a 48-minute video demo and additional slides, where I take you through the 10 key things you need to know about Procreate. We also create an image together using Procreate's key features.
Discount code: Thanks for readingAs a token of gratitude, I am offering a 50% discount on the course to all my subscribers until the end of May. Enter CREATORSCORNER at checkout to receive the discount. If the course is above your budget after applying the discount code, please email me. I would like all my readers to access the content and I don’t want financial constraints to be a barrier to learning.
2. My favourite technique to create effective illustrations: The A/B method
To convey your point, try to illustrate two opposing images: Image A compared to Image B. It creates the contrast that you are looking for between wrong vs. right and before vs. after.
Why the A/B method works:
Remember the “Spot the 10 differences between these two pictures” game you played when you were younger? Humans are great at finding visual differences.
Follow these steps:
This is how I came up with my illustration for 3 As over 5 Bs:
Pull up a quote. I used a quote from Matthew McConaughey, which he used to describe how he reprioritized his life around three key things (acting, family and his foundation) when he realized he was taking on too much.
"I was making B’s in 5 things. I want to make A's in three things.”
Draw a line in the middle to create room for the two opposing forces, A and B. You can always delete it again afterwards.
Think about what the two opposing forces can be. Here it is clear that you want 5 items on the left (wrong) vs. 3 on the right (right). The 5 Bs can be illustrated by arrows that don’t shoot as far up in the sky (indicating distraction). The 3 As, on the other hand, can be bigger/stronger arrows (indicating focus).
See - not that difficult at all. Grab a quote, make a line in the middle, and get drawing!
3. Two strategies to generate ideas
If you want to generate ideas for your visuals, you need to allow inspiration to find you. This can happen in two ways: (1) by speaking to others about your ideas and (2) by fostering an awareness of the visuals that grab your attention.
3.1 Draw from Conversation
Over the last 6 months,and I have hosted a number of workshops, where we’ve interviewed top creators like , , , and .
One of our favourite exercises is called “Drawing from Conversation”.
Similar to writing from conversation (i.e. talking about the idea for an essay with a sparring partner), drawing from conversation gets you moving.
It’s fun and creative. By speaking to others, you'll think of things you would have never thought of slaving away by yourself.
Conversation is where we express ourselves most naturally. It removes potential blocks in the creative process. We gain confidence from people nodding their heads in approval and we get a sense of where to go next. Plus a bunch of additional ideas (two heads are better than one).
3.2 Draw from Abundance
Start collecting the visuals you love in a folder (or swipe file) for safekeeping. By creating an awareness of what you like, you will start incorporating your favourite influences in your work. David Perell refers to note-taking as “Writing from Abundance”. Consider your graphic library as a form of visual note-taking which allows you to “Draw from Abundance”.
Here is a list of my favourite illustrators:
- . Twitter. Website.
- . Twitter. Website.
Follow them on Twitter, visit their websites, and study their work.
Over time, you’ll have a bank of ideas to work with that you can remix for your own creations.
If you’re looking for a headstart, feel free to make a copy of my Notion dashboard.
Use the A/B method to create effective images.
Draw from Conversation to test ideas and come up with new ones.
Draw from Abundance so that you always have some inspiration to fall back on.
If you want a deeper take on these concepts plus a live demo on how to use Procreate, be sure to check out Procreate for Writers.
CV4W guest lecture #5: Photography for Creatives with Steven Foster
Our next Creating Visuals for Writing event is lined up!
This time we are joined by writer, YouTuber and photographer,.
Steven is an incredible creator, who I’ve had the privilege of working with during the latest cohort of Write of Passage. I’m excited to interview him and learn from his creative process.
We’ll also get a sneak peek into his course, Photography For Creatives, which is all about helping people unlock timeless photography skills no matter what camera they have.
Sign up here if you’d like to join us!
💬 Quote. Decide which virtues you are aiming for:
“Résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. Eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral.” - David Brooks
This quote resurfaced via a tweet by Sahil Bloom, in which he quotes some sage advice: 20 years from now, the only people who will remember that you worked late are your kids.
📚 Book. Blindness (1995) by Portuguese author and Nobel Prize winner, José Saramago. In this novel, which reads like a thriller at times, the residents of an unnamed city are hit by a pandemic of blindness. As more and more people turn blind the city is thrown into chaos. It had elements of a Zombie apocalypse mixed with the Covid pandemic with lockdowns, quarantines and high levels of distrust. It’s an interesting thought experiment of what could happen if we lost one of our most important senses and shows that compassion can be found in the darkest places (no pun intended). Thanks to Ricus Goussard for the recommendation.
📺 Series. The Bear, created by Christopher Storer and starring Jeremy Allen White (of Shameless fame). An award-winning chef goes home to Chicago to try to salvage his family’s run-down restaurant, left to him by his late brother. The show has long monologues, dream sequences and pressure-cooker moments in the kitchen, which all combine into a little bit of TV magic. Can recommend.
📸 Photos of the week: hiking up Brecherspitz just outside Spitzingsee, Bavaria with Jess, Lily and some friends a week ago. Still plenty of snow cover on top of the mountains.
Until next time, happy creating!
👋 Thanks so much for being a subscriber. We're up to 332 creators this week. Please reach out if you have any thoughts or ideas. I'd love to hear from you.
Creators' Corner relies on word of mouth. If you enjoy my content, I'd really appreciate it if you could share it with a friend. They can sign up below: