This year I have been using thinking maps as introductory exercises to our projects in addition to thumbnail sketches. Having students create these before sketching shows me a deeper understanding of concepts in addition to sketches.
I limit thumbnail sketches to 5-10 minutes each (at least 3 sketches) so students focus on getting ideas down on paper, not fine-tuning the details. With that said, I still find students are hesitant to put ideas on paper for fear of failing or drawing poorly. Beyond that, encouraging students to create well-developed thumbnails can be a challenge sometimes. With the introduction of thinking maps, I’ve found that:
- Students spend more time formulating and exploring ideas.
- Having numerous ideas written down creates the opportunity to mix n’ match ideas, resulting in more, well-developed thumbnails.
- Students look forward to beginning sketches when they are required to write first.