Using Powerpoint to make sense of conflicting thoughts might sound really counter intuitive to an artist but when seen alongside your sketchbook and a hand drawn mindmap, it can go a long way in revealing where you’re really at with your studio work.

It all started when I injured my leg in early January. I couldn’t walk and so was facing several weeks stuck at home, feeling sorry for myself.

Up to that point, I’d been following several parallel threads in the studio but with no real sense of progress. Was I just treading water, expressing the same things over and over again in my work?

New Year feels like a good time to take stock of where you’re at.  But it can also appear a bit daunting. Where to start? The phrase ‘……..wood for the trees’ springs to mind.

In the past I’ve found mindmaps very useful as a way of getting to the heart of an issue that was bothering me. They can come in all shapes and sizes, but I tend to use a blank  A2 sheet of white paper. I started scribbling down key words, adding more beneath the words as they occurred to me.

By writing them all down, they became visible entities rather than the jumble that existed in my head. With this visual thinking, I could clearly see connections between the words and added more over a several days, colour coding emerging patterns of thought as I went along.

A page of unconnected scribbles?

Definitely not!

Armed with my new mindmap, I set about selecting relevant images from my sketchbook which illustrated my key points.

This is where the PowerPoint comes in.

I had the beginnings of one but it was far too long. I needed to refine it down to just a few key points and really strong images.

Sounds straightforward?

Well take your time.

It’s taken me almost four weeks to get to the point where I feel satisfied with the PowerPoint itself. Honing it down this way has been a very valuable exercise as I’m now able to see the key points clearly and where they link into one another. Each slide has only a very few words by way of explanation – all taken from the mindmap.

A sense of direction and progress has emerged out of the mental muddle I had at the start of the month. And….. my leg is steadily improving. So, a positive month emerged out of what might have been a very depressing and unproductive one.

Mindmaps can be created any way that suits your way of thinking, have a look online too for ideas.  And there are many alternatives to PowerPoint, you could even use flipcharts.

What is essential, I would suggest, are your own images of your recent work, for this is where your visual thinking begins.

Have a go, you’ve nothing to lose and lots to gain by combining mindmaps, PowerPoint (or alternative) and sketchbook images.

Here’s the one I created, just click on the link below:

Presentation_Feb 24