The following questions underpin the focus of my thesis. I have mapped these questions to the proposed research methods:

How is process drawing encouraged and used as part of the creative process of design students at WSU?

I aim to identify current creative visual thinking processes (taught and assessed), of Visual Communication design students at the Western Sydney University through a literature review and ethnographical approach.

Literature Review:
Analyse current Unit Outlines and Learning Guides. Find evidence of syllabus requirements (suggested and assessed) and analyse the nature of these requirements and process specifications.

Classroom observations:
Observe and reflect on my own teaching practice. Collect evidence showing that the use of a rough sketch or thumbnail fosters creativity and encourages reluctant drawers to utilise the sketch in their ideation process. This will include evaluations of in-class exercises and student feedback.

Recorded Interviews
Select interviewees from the high achieving students in third and fourth year.

Script summary
Thank you for participating in this interview. This will only take 15 minutes of your time. Your assignment has already been assessed. What you discuss here today will remain anonymous and has no influence on your current mark or any future mark for this Unit or any other Units.

Everyone has his or her own unique ‘idea generating’ process that they know works for them. I am interested to know what creative thinking process or processes you have used to come up with your initial ideas for this assignment.

Try and think back to the moment you were given the brief or started thinking about this assignment. Using your diary as reference (if relevant), describe to me what you thought or did first? Do you use this process for all your assignments? If not, why and when would you use a different approach?

What is the current attitude to doodling/drawing and sketching of WSU Design students?
Why Draw? Questionnaire
Collect responses from 1st yr Communication Arts Design students, Visual Story telling Unit over a 4 year period. The questionnaire is designed as multiple choice questions with room for additional comments.

Examples of multiple choice questions:

  • Which course are you currently enrolled in?
  • Prior to starting this University course, which of the following art or design courses had you completed?
  • When you draw, doodle or conduct a rough sketch, what materials do you usually use? You can select more than one.
  • If you selected the ipad what app/s have you used to draw with?
  • How often do you draw, doodle or conduct a rough sketch?
  • Why do you draw, doodle or conduct a rough sketch? You can select more than one.
  • In your opinion, how important is it to have some drawing ability to be a visual communicator?

Do professional graphic designers ‘sketch’ and value drawing in their design process?
Investigate current design thinking practices in the Australian graphic design industry through a literature review.

Literature review:

  • existing scholarly research,
  • existing written and recorded interviews,
  • recorded presentations delivered by award winning designers and studios that refer to their design process using a sketch or otherwise, and
  • existing evidence that sketching ability is valued in employees.

Using my own graphic design and visual arts practice:

  • record my creative process and the role of sketching
  • reflect on the changes to my design process over the last 25 years
  • record my creative process and the role of drawing in my Water Squiggle image series

Can speed drawing exercises demonstrate the value of drawing and encourage participation?

Through my visual arts practice:

  • record and analyse the role of process drawing in the development of my water squiggle images
  • analyse videos taken of my live onstage drawing performances which use the Squiggle and compare this with other performances that used the squiggle as an improvisational drawing device.
  • record and analyse the development of my ‘forwards/backwards’ doodling activities
  •  evaluate my creative thinking processes through the analysis of my recorded Sketch app ‘thinking trails’.

Classroom exercises and observations:
Conduct drawing exercises in class with WSU design students enrolled in the 1st year Visual Story telling Unit and other Units where there may be a perceived benefit. Analyse outcomes and evaluate process.

Current proposed Exercises:

  • Speed Squiggling (based on Robert McKim’s 30 circle exercise)
  • Speed Storyboarding
  • Speed Thumbnail
  • Forward, Backward Doodling