How to Make a Mind Map

Sometimes coming up with ideas for an Art project takes place within the classroom – an interactive discussion between students and teachers; on other occasions students formally document ideas within their sketchbooks. Humans have a tendency to think in a multi-dimensional way – that is, with lots of things occurring simultaneously, triggering further ideas. 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 organise ideas graphically, using visual diagram such as a mind map. If this brainstorm is submitted as part of assessment material, it is essential that this is presented well.

Guidelines for Art Students

When brainstorming ideas for a high school Art project, remember that:

  • Single words are unlikely to express an idea adequately. As you think though 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

Creative mind maps and visual brainstorming

Please note that although some of these presentation methods are more complex and time consuming than others, this not does mean they are better. Sometimes a quick, expressive splurge of ideas upon paper is all that is needed.

  • Take a beautiful photograph to place in the centre
  • Use painted areas to contain text
  • Draw lots of small pictures to illustrate ideas visually
  • Overlay words digitally around a central image
  • Integrate a mind map with an ‘incomplete’ image that extends across the page
  • Collage torn images, textures and surfaces together
  • Create mind maps from flowing painterly forms
  • Draw over an abstract watercolour ground
  • Create a simple mind map using text, with circles and dots for emphasis
  • Record a stream of consciousness using handwriting and images
  • Brainstorm ideas using chalk on a blackboard and photograph it
  • Make a mind map on small pieces of paper and cardboard
  • Attach images and notes to a pinboard
  • Hand write ideas over a photograph
  • Create a mind map online
  • Make a textural collage of ideas
  • Produce a sprawling hand-drawn mind map
  • Use illustrations and colours to communicate and emphasise ideas
  • Organise ideas visually in a grid formation
  • Combine a mood board with a brainstorm
  • Used multiple coloured pens