When starting a new art project, it is best to brainstorm possible ideas, topics or themes.
Rather than attempting to record thoughts in a sequential, linear fashion (i.e. writing these down in lists or paragraphs), students can find it helpful to collect, record and organize ideas graphically, using visual diagrams such as a mind map. If this brainstorm is submitted as part of assessment material, it is essential that this is presented well.
What is a mind map?
Mind map creator Tony Buzan coined the term ‘mind map’ to refer to a diagram that has a branch or root-like structure radiating from a central image on the page, and which uses lines and colour to show relationships, groupings and connections betweens words, ideas and images. A mind map helps students think clearly and ensures that a range of possibilities are considered, encouraging thinking outside-the-box.
How to make a mind map
Tony Buzan sets out official guidelines for how to draw a mind map. His recommendations include:
- using a landscape format
- starting with a central image to represent your topic or theme
- using curving lines to add main branches to the centre and then connecting these to smaller branches
- using single words and images
- and adding colours for aesthetic and organisational purposes
Guidelines for Art Students
When brainstorming ideas for an art project, remember that:
- Single words are unlikely to express an idea adequately. As you think through possibilities, it is likely that you will want to jot down whole phrases and brainstorm possible ways of beginning or approaching a subject. Intentions and possibilities should be clear to someone else who reads the mind map at a later date
- Images should be sourced first-hand (i.e. drawn or photographed yourself) or clearly referenced, and should be integrated within the mind map in a visually pleasing way
- The appearance of the mind map is crucially important. This is likely to be one of the first things an examiner sees when opening your sketchbook – first impressions count