Day 1 – Visual Alphabet

On Day 1 of this course, we will look at the fundamental principles behind the doodle. When learning how to doodle we must start with the basics, and the basics start with the visual alphabet. Today I will introduce you to the visual alphabet, familiarize you with the 12 basic shapes, and then I’m going to hand it over to you so you can practice your doodling skills.

An Introduction to the Visual “Thinking” Alphabet


When learning to think visually it’s important to start with the basics. And it really doesn’t get any more basic than familiarizing yourself with the visual alphabet.

The visual alphabet is made up of 12 basic shapes or glyphs that form the bedrock of every doodle you will ever create. It was first introduced by Dave Gray who is one of the early pioneers of the modern visual thinking movement.

Just as we have a standard alphabet for writing, this visual alphabet is used for doodling your ideas and thoughts down on paper. And just as the regular alphabet can be used to write down any word or tell a story, the visual alphabet can be used in a similar way to doodle anything in your environment or imagination that can then, of course, be used to represent an idea or tell a story.

Okay, so here is your first look at the visual alphabet:

the visual alphabet iqdoodle 1

To help you remember the visual alphabet, one of our Doodlers (thank you Dipankar) who is working through this course came up with a fantastic acronym that can help us remember and recall the 12 shapes. The acronym is OTHER SAD BALL:

  • O – Oval
  • T – Triangle
  • H – House
  • E – Eye
  • R – Rectangle
  • S – Spiral
  • A – Arc
  • D – Dot
  • B – Blob
  • A – Angle
  • L – Line
  • L – Loop

Thanks Dipankar. Great idea to turn the visual alphabet into an acronym.

Here are a couple more acronyms to help you remember the visual alphabet. The first two are shared by Nancy, and the third example is shared be Neha. Thanks guys for sharing them in the comments img class=

  • S – Spiral
  • H – House
  • O – Oval
  • E – Eye
  • D – Dot
  • A – Arc
  • R – Rectangle
  • T – Triangle
  • B – Blob
  • A – Angle
  • L – Line
  • L – Loop

  • D – Dot
  • O – Oval
  • L – Line
  • A – Arc
  • B – Blob
  • E – Eye
  • L – Loop
  • T – Triangle
  • R – Rectangle
  • A – Angle
  • S – Spiral
  • H – House

  • A – Arc
  • L – Line
  • L – Loop
  • H – House
  • O – Oval
  • T – Triangle
  • B – Blob
  • R – Rectangle
  • E – Eye
  • A – Angle
  • D – Dot
  • S – Spiral

Here is another fantastic visual way to remember the Visual Alphabet using a US 1 dollar bill. Thanks Jay Hendon for sharing this creative idea. img class=

Jay mentioned that: “I thought that remembering the visual alphabet visually instead of with words would be interesting and I just happened to have one U.S. dollar on me so came up with the following…”

visual alphabet visualized as us one dollar bill


Your Turn

Now let’s get back to today’s visual vocabulary lesson.

The visual vocabulary looks pretty straightforward, right? There’s nothing too complex about these shapes, is there? In fact, I bet that you can draw them without too much trouble. In fact, I would like to ask you to take out a sheet of paper or tablet and spend a few minutes practicing drawing these shapes. Keep drawing them until you become familiar with each shape.

I can understand that it’s hard to believe that literally anything you may ever want to doodle is a byproduct of the visual alphabet. The fact that you understand how to draw these shapes means that you now have all the skills necessary to doodle anything your heart desires. We will of course explore this in more detail in the coming days, but I do hope that this introduction to the visual alphabet has given you a little more confidence in your doodle abilities.

To finish up, here is a video created by Dave Gray. Within this 17 minute video Dave introduces you to the visual alphabet and also walks you through some other more advanced doodling techniques that we will get into in more detail as you move through this program.


Check out how other Doodlers went about today’s task

Below you will find examples of how other doodlers of all ages have gone about today’s task. I invite you to join in and share your doodles by emailing them through to [email protected]. It would be an absolute pleasure to post your doodles on this page to help inspire others along this journey.

Please click on images to enlarge.

See more images


What’s Coming Up Next?

On Day 2 of the program I will take you through some simple doodling techniques using the visual alphabet and the process of reverse engineering.

 

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48 thoughts on “Day 1 – Visual Alphabet”

  1. This is really cool and it is great to learn the basics this way. I just came into the subject hearing about sketch recipes and have been going about this whole doodle stuff for some weeks now. It is amazing how it makes you have a different look at things. Thank you, I am looking forward to the next lessons.

    1. Hi Claudia. Yes, doodling and other forms of visual thinking can certainly help us to think differently about things. I hope you will find the course of value. ????

  2. Great first lesson! I don’t feel as nervous and I’m looking forward to the upcoming lessons.

    1. Hi Bridget. Happy to hear that you enjoyed the first lesson. I hope you will find the course of value ????

  3. Thanks for posting my picture! I work full time and it is hard to keep focused on my non work related interests. I’m tired at the end of the day! I think sending you my doodles and notes and then you posting them is a great incentive to keep plugging along even if it is a day I don’t feel like doodling. Once I get started I’m OK.

    1. Thanks Mary for submitting your doodles. I look forward to seeing your progress as you work through the course ????

    1. Hi Ambica. It’s great to have you on board ???? I hope you will find the course of value.

  4. Charlotte Carvalho

    Wow, this is so exciting ….. Now to start the practice ???? Can’t wait for lesson 2 ????

  5. Thanks for putting together this doodle course. This is my first attempt to learn it seriously. I look forward to discovering a new side of myself!

    1. Hi Nitul. It’s great having you part of this course. ???? They are progressive lessons that will build your doodling skills gradually. I hope you will find them of value.

      Cheers,
      Adam

  6. Hi Adam! I just completed my Day 1 of the course. Fantastic info! Great video by Dave Gray. I loved the doodles by other doodlers, too! ????
    Thank you for such great material, and for sharing your passion.
    Cheers!

    1. Hi Rose. Thanks for taking part in the course. It’s great having you here. ???? I hope the course will be of value. ????

      Cheers,
      Adam

  7. Ramakrishnan Sitaraman

    Thanks – it was refreshing to practice simple but powerful things . I will be eagerly looking forward to everyday now .

    ( It was a master stroke to include the video by Dave Gray – it showed me the ‘possibilities’ and made us play the grand slams while we are practicing the back ends 🙂 )

    1. Hi Ramakrishnan. It’s awesome having you here working through the course. I hope you will gain value from going through all the lessons.

  8. Thank you for a very informative lesson one. Hoping to see a change in my journal from this day through the course.

  9. Great first lesson! I don’t feel as nervous and I’m looking forward to the upcoming lessons.

    1. Hi Bridget. Happy to hear that you enjoyed the first lesson. I hope you will find the course of value ????

    2. Hi Adam! I came across this course as I was looking through the IQ Matrix Mind Maps. I think both tools will help my kids and me to become better learners.
      I took the class with my kids and my daughter’s best friend. They were all able to follow and finish with ease. My kids are excited about the next class. Thank you so much for providing the information and another way to bond with the kids. Keep up the good work.

      1. Hi Sam. Welcome on board. It’s great to have you part of the course ???? It will no doubt be an even more rewarding experience working through this course with your kids. I hope you guys will find it of value.

  10. Hi, all the way from Namibia! I am so excited about this course! My problem is not my imagination…While reading a story etc I have the biggest one EVER, but drawing something from my own head is the difficult part…I can copy other drawings, but I want to find my own style and create my own little artsies. I really hope this will help me. Can’t wait for the next lesson!

    1. Hi Anne. A big welcome from Australia ???? It’s great to have you part of the course. I hope you will find it of value ????

  11. Doing day 1 activity is fun! I played with the 12 basic shapes. In order to remember them, I framed the below phrases:

    OH TALL BREADS

    O: Oval
    H: House

    T: Triangle
    A: Arc
    L: Line
    L: Loop

    B: Blob
    R: Rectangle
    E: Eye
    A: Angle
    D: Dot
    S: Spiral

    or

    ALL HOT BREADS

    A: Arc
    L: Line
    L: Loop

    H: House
    O: Oval
    T: Triangle

    B: Blob
    R: Rectangle
    E: Eye
    A: Angle
    D: Dot
    S: Spiral

    Looking for the next day lesson. Thank you!

    1. Hi Neha. Welcome on board. It’s great having you part of the course ????

      Thanks for sharing the helpful acronyms. Very creative ???? I’ve shared the ALL HOT BREADS acronym within the lesson section above.

      I hope you will find the course of value ????

    1. Hi Vaibhav. It’s great having you part of the course. I hope you will find it of some value ????

  12. Adam,
    You really do a great job! the course surprises me! Thank you for providing such a magic course.

    1. Hi Xiangmei. Thank you for your feedback. It’s great to hear that the course is of value. I hope you will go through all 29 days and take the time to put each day’s lesson into practice ????

  13. Hey, Just started today and it’s interesting, it’s like going back to kindergarten but in an intelligent way. I have practiced my alphabets and will stick to the OTHER SAD BALL acronym.

    What I found interesting also is that almost everything I tried to draw had the shapes in the visual alphabet. Amazingly they appear in everything….I look forward to the rest of the courses and believe I will gain a lot out of it.
    can’t wait for lesson 2.

    Susan

    1. Hi Susan. Thanks for signing up and taking part in the course. It’s great to have you here. ???? This course will have a tendency to bring out the child in you. I hope you will enjoy and get some value from going through all the lessons. And it’s great to hear that you are seeing the visual alphabet within your doodles. That’s a very good sign. It will make the remainder of this journey much easier. ????

  14. First I’d like to thank you for this course. it is well done! I have not used the acronym to learn the alphabet and I focused on the form instead :
    Beginning with the dot I separate straight lines from the more organic ones to finish with the blob/cloud. Hence :
    Dot -> Line -> Angle -> Triangle -> Rectangle -> House ->
    Arc -> Eye -> Oval -> Loop -> Spiral -> Blob.

    I send you these.

    Looking forward to day 2

    1. Hi Coralie. I really like your approach. Thank you for sharing ???? It’s great having you part of the course. I look forward to seeing more submissions in the coming days. ????

  15. Wonderful first lesson, thank you for including Dave Gray’s video, it was very nice to see how he puts it all together. I have been studying visual thinking for several years and am always looking for ways to expand my skills and understanding. I look forward to the next 29 lessons.

    1. Hi Debbie. It’s awesome to have you here working through the course. I hope you will find all the remaining doodle lessons of value ????

  16. Much appreciate Adam.
    A universal language everyone can understand.
    Looking forward to the next lesson.

    1. Yes absolutely a universal language. Even if unable to communicate in a foreign language, you can still get your message across using pictures. ???? And I that’s where simple doodles fit into the picture. I hope you will gain value from the remainder of the course.

  17. Great Day 1 Lesson! Definitely challenging my dominate left brain of perfection. I had to tell myself to stop erasing, doodles aren’t meant to be perfect.

    1. Yes, absolutely. It’s certainly not about perfection. It’s rather about getting our intended message across. Thank you for sharing your work. I look forward to seeing more in the days ahead ????

  18. Thank you so much Adam!
    It’s very fun to start by drawing these shapes!
    I am looking forward to seeing the next lesson!

    1. Hi Alla. Welcome to Day 1. ???? Another 29 days to go. I do hope you will find the course of value. It’s wonderful having you here and I look forward to seeing your progress over the 29 days.

  19. Very nice intro, Adam, I am so glad I asked for your help on Facebook about doodling. I came up with an acronym for the visual alphabets so I won’t forget it, here’s sharing with everyone.

    O – Oval
    T – Triangle
    H – House
    E – Eye
    R – Rectangle

    S – Spiral
    A – Arc
    D – Dot

    B – Blob
    A – Angle
    L – Line
    L – Loop

    In other words, OTHER SAD BALL ????

    Thanks again Adam, can’t wait for tomorrow as I practice the visual alphabet or should I say OTHER SAD BALL.

    1. Thanks Dipankar, I love the idea of turning it into an Acronym. I love it so much that I’ve added it to the lesson page, and of course gave you full credit for the idea ???? I look forward to seeing your progress throughout the 29 day course. You mentioned that you will be getting your daughter involved. It will be awesome to hear what she thinks about the course and I would love to see her submit some of her doodles for each day’s lesson. It’s great having you here ????

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