Another Moleskine Page

Notes during a Gordon Hayward talk
Notes during a Gordon Hayward talk

Here’s 2 pages from the 2008 CENTS Show. It’s a lecture on stone by Gordon Hayward.

A lot of his talk was showing work by Dan Snow and other stone masons/jobs/art peices up in the New England area.

Whenever a image popped up that I really liked I started sketching as fast as possible and attempted to keep up with his talk.

It was tough drawing, looking down, and following along on the screen . . . but it was worth the effort. A very nice talk on Gordon’s part.

Gordon showed a lot of great work and there were enough interesting images to get the creative juices flowing . . . how could I borrow off this peice, what could I add to another? Seeing built works and wondering how I could make them my own.

Fun stuff and a good talk.

The above page is a pretty good example of how I take notes during a lecture and I wanted to share that process with you and add why I feel it is important to take notes this way.

I know(for me) that this type of note taking has made me a much better designer and renderer(sp?).  The improvement in my design skills is unquestionable. Plus I have all those notes, drawings, thoughts, and ideas(20+ years) at my fingertips.

Here I go Again

I’ve written about this before, go to industry events and take good notes  . . .  not on loose paper or a legal pad-no way. Take those notes in a notebook(s), good solid notebooks, notebooks/journals that will last.

One other thing . . . we are designers. Designers do not think in words only, do not remember in words only,or written expressions and thoughts. Designers should remember in pictures . . . visual concepts, drawings, quick sketches, doodles.

Let me say this again as designers we are visual people . . . so let us remember visually, think in sketches, create in concept drawings.

The work you produce will be better for it. Make doodling/rendering/sketching a part of your life. It’s from those quick sketches that some of your great ideas will come from.

Oh, one more thing . . . something very important-are you listening? When a great idea, solution, brainstorm, awesome thought hits you . . .

Write it down or draw it IMMEDIATELY, it is this power of recording those ah-ha moments as quickly as possible in relation to when they occurred a powerful, powerful tool in your creative toolbox.

Get busy drawing, and keep a notebook, Moleskine, or any other bound journal close by!

Qucik rendering during lecture
Qucik rendering during lecture

*That above image is a close-up from the top image. It’s all quick fast lines. Draw the concept of the idea . . . not a final rendering. Just capture the thought.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. interesting concept – some of us prefer to work with words – noticed that you used a reference from the 2008 cents – did anything impress you from 2009 ? – speaking of words – i lost the handout for the only class that really impressed me – ‘the w crane on stone’ – could you please mail me another handout? – hope your back is doing better –

    I have that 30 page beauty in ‘Publisher’ and I will get it to you-let me know if you have any problem opening the page up. Still mulling over the talks from 2009 and getting ready to go through the notes. The notes always tell me what I was interested in . . . more from the speaker, and less random doodling!

  2. question –

    like how you divide design into two themes – geometric and curvilinear – but what about purely natural design? – some define curvililnear as having clean geometric arcs, but mother nature is always saying the hell with that rule –

    By definition any ‘naturalistic design’ is a curvilinear design, once you say “clean geometric arcs” you . . . yourself define it as geometric. It sounds somewhat like semantics but if you really look at it, I think it’s a clear definition

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