Wednesday, 3 April 2013

This is how I roll... I mean, Chart....

So, since the gorgeous people at the Stephen King Fan Page linked to my chart and the internet exploded on me again a few days ago, I have been asked a few times how I go about making my charts. So here goes.

Chart ideas come out if nowhere, but often from books. The first chart I made was after reading 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' by Jennifer Egan. This books twisty turns narrative and interconnectivity totally made me say 'I wanna map this to be sure I understand what's going on here!!' and it seemed to resonate with people. Lots of people.
Sometimes, an idea evolves out of a conversation with a friend (The Manson/ Beatles) or through a silly idea (Soap Opera Husband) or through a long term passion and fascination with a subject (Stephen King)
I start by charting everything I know about subject in my sketchbook. Sometimes, that is a lot. Sometimes, it's just a spark of information that has captured my imagination. It's usually messy and confusing and hard to follow. Then I research on the inter googles any further info or details. I always check and recheck and look for multiple sources before I add details up a chart (eg: there are connections people have suggested for the Stephen King Universe Flowchart update that I can't confirm. So they are not on the chart.)

I take lots of notes and name lots of lists.
Recently I stared the process of charting the film/ book Cloud Atlas. I watched the film and took notes as I went. It's still a work in progress though, because I really didn't understand what the hell it was all about!! Definately chart worthy, cos I'm sure lots of others were as lost as I was. So in this case I think I need more lists, more research!!
So, once I've confirmed (as much as I possibly can) all my information and research, I draw the chart up in Illustrator. I do not use mapping or infographic software... I didn't really know there was such a thing! Maybe that would be easier, but this is how I do it.

Then I tinker and tweak and refine and tidy... Some may say obsessively... Many say obsessively... Until I'm happy. Or until I can't bear to look at it anymore!!

Then I release it onto the blog and see what happens. Sometimes I'm surprised when a chart doesn't really catch on, sometimes I'm surprised when one ends up on the New Yorker website!

I am so humbled by the amazing response to The Stephen King Universe Flowchart and my other work. Who would have thought there were so many flowchart freaks out there!!!

Do you have any other questions about Flowcharts? How about questions about Mushrooms or Bauxite... I did a project on those in Grade Five. I typed it up on a typewriter LIKE A GROWN UP....

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  1. Like I said on FB you knows I love you and your talent, but that seriously does make me head hurt. I guess our brains process things in different ways.

  2. Thank goodness we all have our own talents because looking at that makes my head hurt and my eyes get very confused !!!!! I love how your thought processes work.
    Have the best day and enjoy the short week !

  3. Great post, I love seeing someone as obsessive as myself! You may benefit from using OneNote or Visio, especially in the first drafts where things probably get moved around a lot.

  4. it's amazing. I wish I could get to know you more closely


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