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Creative drawing approach

Learn more about how drawing can be used as an approach to express and share information.
Multiple Authors
Colouring pencils lined up along the bottom of the photo (Credit: Jess Bailey, Unsplash)
(Credit: Jess Bailey, Unsplash)

This tool is part of the SEI Urban Toolbox for Liveable Cities which has been developed by the SEI Initiative on City Health and Wellbeing. The Urban Toolbox is a collection of tools, developed within SEI or in coordination with SEI, aimed at supporting planning and decision-making for improving the health, well-being and resilience of city residents and urban systems more broadly.


About this tool

How does this tool work?

Drawing can be used to capture people’s knowledge and lived experiences, and effectively share and communicate that to others.

Who might use this tool?

Any members of a project who wish to share their story or input.

Which stakeholders are involved?

Urban planners, any community (defined as a group with a common interest, shared knowledge or people living in a specific neighbourhood).

What stage of the process does this tool support?

This approach can be adapted to be used at different stages of environmental assessment:

  • defining the issue
  • generating ideas
  • developing solutions
  • implementation
  • monitoring
  • evaluation

Tool overview

Anyone can draw, though some people might believe they are worse than others! As it is universal, it can be a useful way of capturing people’s experiences of a particular issue, especially where there are verbal language barriers.

Drawing can also be used to promote aspects of a project, for example, the overall concept of the project, the methods, or the findings. Here it requires someone who has some experience/skill in capturing scenes and transferring this into art. It is important to be able to reflect key messages and emotions within the drawings to help communicate and support the messages of the project.

Application: drawing case study examples

Using drawing as part of the AIR Network to share information: this case study uses drawings in Nairobi to share information about the research.

Capabilities and resources required

At it’s simplest, pens/pencils and paper. Paint and other types of drawing materials could also be used.

Implementation tips: key enablers and potential barriers

Key enablers:

  • Enthusiastic people willing to draw their experiences.
  • Ability to analyse drawn data (if required)

Potential integration with other tools

Drawing can be used with any other participatory approaches.

Related resources

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