Hardworking pictures: Draw on your momentum

Scriberia hardworking drawing is a bicycle

Picking up your pencil to draw might feel as daunting as getting on your bike for the first time in years. But buried deep in your brain you have all the long-forgotten skills you need to master it. 

And what's more, you can build your stamina and skill for visual thinking and expression in the same way you can develop your physical fitness. So, before long, your uphill struggle will feel easy, enjoyable and hugely rewarding. (Yep, we're going to work this metaphor harder than a middle-aged banker in his weekly spin class!). 

Just like cycling, drawing requires perseverance and tenacity. The cyclist must keep pedalling to reach the top of the hill, just as the artist must keep drawing to build enough momentum to reach their creative peak.

But, put the brakes on your creative process for too long and your creative cogs will decelerate. After all, as American cartoonist Ivan Brunetti says: 'Drawing is a bicycle, not a car.' Picking up that pencil again becomes a much harder task once your momentum has been lost. So, as Brunetti says: 'Never stop drawing. If you do, you'll never start again.'

Get yourself in the fast lane and see where it takes you. 

If you want to learn more about the power of hardworking pictures, visit our Academy page. It's full of visual thinking tips and the latest from our workshops team. Or experience the extraordinary problem-solving power of pictures by checking your team into a bespoke Inktank workshop. 

Drawing on experience at the British Museum

Rembrandt image. ©Trustees of the British Museum

Rembrandt image. ©Trustees of the British Museum

There was once a time when art students wouldn’t dream of being apart from their sketchpads and pencils. But nowadays, you’re far more likely to find artists stuck behind a camera lens or computer screen.

But, on a mission to revive the art of drawing, the British Museum are launching a new project to re-establish drawing by hand as the foundation of illustration and art. They’ve lent 70 of their most important drawings to a new exhibition, Lines of Thought, which is set to tour a handful of museums around the UK.

Isabel Seligman, the exhibition’s curator, found her inspiration for the show during a visit to an art school, when a teacher revealed to her that her students were ‘more likely to have a blog than a sketchbook’.

For this exhibition, Seligman invites students to dust the cobwebs off their sketchbooks and leave behind their cameras at home. She hopes visitors will use their pencils and pads to interact with each of the drawings as they walk around the show. And so they should. Whether you're an artist or not, drawing your experiences makes them more memorable and offers you a new way to explore and interrogate what you're seeing. 

Exhibition highlights include the lesser-known works of Henry Moore, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Matisse, Barbara Hepworth, and many more.

What’s more, these drawings are only allowed out of the vaults once a decade due to their sensitivity to light. So, if you don’t fancy waiting another 10 years, take your pencil and pad along to your nearest show.

The exhibition is currently being shown at the Poole Museum, Dorset, and will then travel to Hull and Belfast before touring internationally.

Creativity doesn't have to be expensive

These days, it’s often assumed that creativity and innovation can only be achieved through new and extravagant technologies.

But living in a society where your brand new iPhone is probably already out-of-date, keeping up with technology is easier said than done. Although fascinating, digital trends are constantly changing, and few budgets can afford to pioneer every new and soon-to-fizzle fad.

Thankfully, if you're hoping to inspire creative and innovative thinking, tried and tested techniques here really is no need to lavish vast amounts of your budget on it. There's nothing wrong with going back to basics. We've said it before and we'll say it again: The simplest solutions are often the most effective.

We recently sent our scribes Matt and Lauren, and our head of creative collaboration, Sophie, to a Creative Content and Event Technology workshop hosted by BCD Meetings & Event. They invited more than 30 event industry professionals to share their ways of being creative on limited budgets.

The majority of attendees said, typically, they would spend less than 30 per cent of an event budget on creative aspects. But, that it was crucial to make that 30 per cent to work hard. 

They discussed how simply playing around with the structure of an event or making better use of older technology can produce truly innovative results on the day.

In tune with the workshop’s main theme, our scribes took the group back to basics with some good old pen and paper scribing, and threw in a little iPad scribing, too - technology has its place, after all. They captured the day's content visually and, as always, it proved a highly effective way to spark conversations and enhance audience engagement. 

Philip Duffy, Event Business Development Director at BCD Meetings & Events, says, ‘For a couple of scribes to come along, spend two hours capturing the session and then leave us with a canvas and a collection of digital images that told our story - it's exactly what we were talking about: high-impact and low-cost.

'Working with Scriberia was an ideal way to demonstrate that there are simple things you can do on a modest budget to make an event more engaging and bring the content to life. And they can have a really dramatic impact on guest experience.'

Though we'll always enjoy the ever-growing possibilities that technology offers us, it's good to remind ourselves that shiny gadgets and lightening fast broadband are not a guaranteed path to innovation. As well as being highly valuable, creative thinking, like all the best things in life, is free. And the tools you need to nurture it shouldn't cost the earth either. 

Hardworking pictures: Flex your creative muscle

hardworking creative muscle scriberia

At Scriberia, we believe that flexing your creative muscle is just as (if not more) important as a far less enjoyable trip to the gym.

New insights are born from creative sweat, sparking new conversations and triggering innovative solutions. Just as physical exercise releases endorphins, so too does a creative workout with the power to transform our lives, businesses and relationships for the better.

But, as Rod Judkins argues, it takes regular practice to be good at creative thinking - that's the nature of the sport. And it's an idea echoed by Dan, our own creative director, in his piece on the lessons creatives can take from the world of sport. 

We build up strength and confidence in our creative abilities through frequent exercise. You can't expect to perform to the best of your creative abilities without so much as a warm up, just as you wouldn't expect to win a running race after a year of dedication to your sofa!

A daily creative workout can inspire new ideas across a wide spectrum of industries. Graphic designers and finance directors alike must explore new ways to strengthen their creative thews. 

You creative brain needs buns of steel - like that cute little guy up there in our illustration - if you're going to reach your potential. 

If you're stuck for workout inspiration, you might want to try these for starters. 


If you want to learn more about the power of hardworking pictures, visit our Academy page. It's full of visual thinking tips and the latest from our workshops team. Or experience the extraordinary problem-solving power of pictures by checking your team into a bespoke Inktank workshop.

Why the British office is ripe for a creative revolution

When stuck in a humdrum routine, our work environments can become black holes for productive and creative thought. This is a fact British office-workers know all too well, it would seem.

When it comes to providing an inspirational working environment, our offices are the worst in the world, according to Gensler's 2016 UK workplace survey. It said that two-thirds of us believe our work spaces crush our creativity and innovation. Our offices, by design, are outdated, oppressive and disruptive. And employees have little freedom to make change.

Google might have helter-skelters, Amazon might have treehouses, but for most businesses, budgets are a little tighter when it comes to creating workspaces where teams can collaborate and creativity can thrive. 

But that doesn't mean it's not possible. We've got more than a few ideas about how you can turn an ordinary office into somewhere that extraordinary things happen. 

scriberia creativity office diving

Make a virtue of open-plan

The open-plan office was designed in the 1950s to foster creative collaboration and a sense of community. But it also brought disadvantages that its architects didn't foresee: Open-plan offices are noisy and disruptive environments that, too often, leave workers craving quiet solitude. 

But, while the open-plan layout may have proven its pitfalls, the idea that inspired it is more relevant today than ever. More and more organisations understand the value of allowing their people to work and think together, and the importance of our environment in helping us achieve it. For most of us, a total renovatoon isn’t an option. But there are other, simple ways to build opportunities for teamwork and creative thinking into the fabric of your organisation. 

At Tesco, the service design team felt that, despite their open-plan office, ideas weren't able to flow from department to department. Kate Kapp, senior service design manager, who arranged for 50 of her colleagues to attend one of our Hardworking Picture Workshops explained how a little bit of visual communication can go a long way in making an open-plan office work exactly as it was originally intended. 

‘In a big organisation like Tesco, we need to communicate effectively to a workforce of thousands. People have different words for things, different priorities, different responsibilities entirely. So being able to sketch out the things that matter, gives us a common language.

'We're already seeing a difference,' says Kate. 'It's helping us achieve a culture shift towards sharing our ideas early and often. Sticking a quick sketch on the wall is a really powerful conversation starter. It makes sharing ideas so much easier, within your own team and with colleagues from other departments.'

Be there or be square

scriberia creativity office files

In the age of technology, it’s no longer necessary to go to work to do your work. Remote workers are occupying an increasing proportion of the workforce and, a recent report from US software giant, Citrix, predicts that by 2020 half of the workforce will be clocking on and off, remotely.

And is it any wonder? British offices are, according to a recent poll, the ugliest and coldest offices in the world, with some 13 per cent of British workers believing it to be so. And while, aesthetic preferences might seem trivial, the chronic boredom and misery that a dull office cultivates can be highly detrimental to productivity and job satisfaction. And this study even found a correlation between unattractive workspaces and severe mood disorders.

But the point is, even if you work in a 70s concrete slab tower block, with grey, stained carpets and an uninterrupted view over the M6, your office can be a place people want to be. And, slowly perhaps, but surely, business are understanding that the onus is on them to create it. (The upward trend in ping-pong table sales figures, might have you deduce that some are getting a little desperate). 

Perks are nice, but what people really want is a working environment that validates what they do, and what they're trying to achieve. Ping-pong's a start (full disclosure, we have a table here at Scriberia HQ), but we'd advise you don't stop there when it comes to finding ways to make your office genuinely rock. 

Take JLT Specialty's Business Development Team as an example. They commissioned us to create a bespoke mural for their office wall that captured their mission and inspired them to fulfil it. 

The 15-foot piece, designed and drawn by celebrated Scriberian, illustrator, Matthieu, depicts the entire team working together as one. Not only did it give them a really strong sense of identity and belonging, but it also serves as a pretty spectacular piece of office enhancement. 

Change it up

As Thomas Jefferson once said 'If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.' And that true of everyone's working practice. Staring at the same computer screen, at the same desk in the same office, is not - logic would tell us - conducive to original thought. Sometimes it pays to do things differently.

scriberia creativity office croquet

One thing we've noticed from holding workshops in our studio is how relaaaaaaaaaxed everyone seems to feel when they walk through our door. They might arrive with a huge and seemingly insurmountable problem to crack, they might have spent months in gridlocked negotiations with their colleagues over it, but putting themselves in a brand new physical space feels, immediately, like a huge step towards a solution. 

For others though, a change of location is less important than a change of approach. For Bennetts Associates Architects, for instance, a workshop reminding their team how to give form to their ideas - without the aid of computers - yielded fantastic and, in some cases, truly fantastical results. 

So, if your office isn't yet home to a relaxation area, a music room or a full-scale basketball court, you may have to think small to find your big ideas. If you always work on a computer, grab a pen and paper; if you always write your ideas, try drawing them; if you're sick of facing the same old problems within those same four walls, it's time to seek a fresh perspective.