Archive for June, 2010

thinking insomniac cartoons architect sketches 365 in 365

365 in 365

(365 – 001)

I have set a challenge for myself…(I welcome you to join me too). I will do 365 drawings/ sketches/ designs in 365 days. I may like some of the results, I may not. That’s not the goal, the goal is to always DO, and I will share them with you. Whatever I do will more than likely be done by hand. What kind of architect or designer or artist am I if I don’t DO? If you would be joining me on this challenge…send me a link to your blog, etc. If for some reason I am unable to design or sketch something, I am thinking I will post a previous sketch. What do you think? What would be a fun/ cool incentive or punishment to never miss a day? Let me know if you can think of one. In addition to keeping up with my challenge, I will also be posting my blogs as usual. So…here we go!

Above is Sketch #1 by the way (365 – 001)

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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talk less listen more thinking insomniac van

I recently read this post “Listen Everywhere” by Jeffrey Tang on his blog, The Art of Great Things. In it he spoke of listening more and pushing the boundaries of listening.

I lived and worked in India as an architect for about a year and a half. Being there was a challenge, but it was great! I wouldn’t trade it in for anything! I made friends who are now my family. I transferred there from the US. There was a colleague of mine who spoke a lot and listened a little, let’s call him John.

One day I had a meeting with some Mechanical Engineers to discuss the possibility of working together on projects. I invited John to sit in on the meeting with me. I started the meeting at 2pm. John came in about 2:30pm, and the consultants never got a word in until 3:20pm. He spoke for 50mins without them (or me) getting a word in. Whenever I stopped him, and made way for them to tell US about THEM, they were again interrupted by him and his spiel. This went on for 4 hours!…at 6:30pm, I excused myself from the meeting. I was livid to say the least. I left! This meeting (or lack of) ending up costing us a very beneficial business relationship.

I told this to my friend who told me a story that made me laugh. A young lady was at a meeting where one of the men kept talking non-stop, allowing no-one else the opportunity to speak. After having enough of his s**t, the young lady looked at the man and exclaimed, “Can you please stop looking at my breasts?” Yup, that’s what she said. After that exclamation, the man was silent for the remainder of the meeting…it went on without a hitch or “peep” from him.

My point is, don’t talk so much that someone has to embarrass you so that you listen. Don’t talk so much that you lose out, or miss out on valuable information. Listen to others, listen every time you can and everywhere you can. Seek and search for knowledge. When you talk too much without listening, eventually people tell you less, and listen to you less. You soon dwell in a smaller world than you would have had you listened more. Listen; ask questions, and read, read, read.

I want to listen to everyone. There are so many intriguing people with fantastic stories, mistakes, successes, and experiences to learn from. I want to listen to them all! Listen to Jeffrey’s point, and you will learn so much you may never realize.

You are more than welcome to share my cartoons with your friends!

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thinking insomnia meaningful work van

"I believe in Meaningful work"

Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. One of my best friends Bob, introduced me to his books, and they changed my life. They changed the way I saw and thought about things. I encourage anyone who reads this blog post, to go IMMEDIATELY and get his books. Tipping Point, Outliers, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.

In Outliers, he spoke about “meaningful work.” Malcolm describes meaningful work as work that is complex: engaging the mind and imagination; allows autonomy: you are responsible for the decisions and directions you take; and work in which there is a relationship between effort and reward (more effort = more reward). It is fulfilling work, where even with the long hours you feel excited, and happy. You feel satisfied.

Why am I mentioning this? Well…I truly believe in meaningful work, and I cannot stop “doing.” While I was “doing,” because as you know I never sleep, I did the above composition/ sketch. The sketch came from my love of Mehndi, and it reminded me of my friend, a mehndi artist (Mishal Shah). Mishal and I worked together in India. He was a new architecture graduate, in the office. He was also a Mehndi artist. His mom taught him the art, and on weekends and special occasions they did mehndi for brides, grooms, parties, etc.

Mishal worked hard as an architect, but his “being” was different when doing Mehndi. He could talk about it for hours. I loved the sketches; and watching him do it, you couldn’t help but be amazed and impressed. He has great skill. I just love the art, and asked him if he could teach me. He would give me mehndi assignments, and review them, then give me pointers and answer all my mehndi question. I know for a fact that doing mehndi, was his meaningful work.

Doing mehndi is not like practicing architecture…especially if you are working for someone. When doing mehndi you are doing something FOR someone, and many times FOR a special occasion. The effort and reward are almost simultaneous. The person’s hand is in your hands, you are face to face with them. Their happiness and delight registers immediately, and Mishal had the privilege of being the reason for that.

My sketch is a dedication to Mishal for being the wonderful artist that he is, and for sharing his passion with me. I will always remember you for your generosity, kindness, and spirit. I also thank Malcolm Gladwell for his contributions, and for changing the world one sentence at a time.

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

thinking insomniac value versus volume

How does the VALUE of information you put out, compare with the VOLUME

Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is More” to describe designs being reduced to its necessary elements, its essentials, its most fundamental features. This came to my mind during my read of JP Rangaswami’s blog, confused of Calcutta. In his post he mentions “filters” in the information we share with others. Is the information (designs, tweets, posts) we share with others of value? Value is relative and can be informational, social, emotional, psychological, technical, economic, humorous, and so much more.

There are bloggers and tweeters I pay particular attention to because their information value is very high. Which means, when they speak (tweet, post), I listen. One of my closest friends Bob Massa never just “makes a post”. It takes him quite a while to compose a blog post, letter, even email reply. Why? Because he always makes sure what he says is EXACTLY what he wants to say in just the right amount of words. He believes in editing, editing, and when you think you are finished, editing some more. He believes in less is more.

In everything you do, try to always give a high value to volume ratio. As an architect and designer, I have seen many designs, both real and imagined that are filled with “fluff,” unnecessary elements and attachments that in no way strengthens the concept. Those elements and words become “noise.” High volume tweets (noise) does not mean high value information. Let’s strive to create work based on honesty and integrity, enriching persons along the way. I thank JP, Bob, and the many others who give information of a high value. I am always able to learn, laugh, and be informed.

You are more than welcome to share my cartoons with your friends and post a comment!

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thank you andy thinking insomniac cartoon sketch van

Thanks Andy!

I wanted to thank one of my best friends Andy for always being there. We went to college together, and have been together through thick and thin, sick and sin. Andy has NEVER hesitated to be positive and encourage others, including me. I have been privileged to be his friend…I know he has my back come what may. This guy is truly a gem, and anyone can tell you that about him. In college he was always there to feed someone or help them with a roof over their head. He would listen for hours while people whined about their lot in life.

Andy did Chemical Engineering while I did Architecture. I remember one day complaining to him about the volume of work I had to do and how overwhelmed I was. He looked at me…laughed…and I won’t ever forget what he said…he said, “Hold on a minute? You get to draw, use colored pencils, markers, and play with colored paper!!! and you call that hard work! Do you have any idea what I have to do?!” I broke out laughing…we could not stop laughing and even now I am still laughing.

Andy amazes me because no matter what happens in life, he has the ability to see the silver lining (which can be darn irritating at times when you just want to vent)…but he knows how to let you know that it will be okay. I just wanted to tell Andy, “THANK YOU!” There are so many people who go through life never hearing that they can, and you my friend have never held back, or been insincere. We are buddies for life, and the world is a better place with you in it!

thinking insomniac, you can, can't, friend

Today I will tell my friend why HE CAN, instead of why he can't.

I would like to dedicate this my first post to those who feel tired, beaten, and sometimes wonder if all the work they put in is worth it. It is a challenging road when you go after what you believe in. There are times you wonder if it is really worth it. I strongly believe in the 10,000 hour rule. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, shows us that those at the top don’t just work harder than everyone else, they work much, much harder. I try to keep that in mind, and I encourage you to do the same. It can be lonely and trying when you are working into the wee hours of the mornings and late into the nights and seeing no real evidence of your hard work. Persons may also seem to think you are “playing” and as a result never take you and what you are doing or trying to do seriously. Take courage. Don’t let the way other people feel or think about what you do affect your goal to change the world. There will always be someone there to critique and disapprove, expect that. But remember, for every inventor and his invention there were critics. If nothing exists, then there can be nothing to critique. Do not trust in the negative that may be thrown your way but instead trust in and believe in what you do. Sometimes you cannot explain why you think you are on to something..it may take years to come to fruition, but keep that drive, keep that passion. The world needs you! I also urge you to do the same for others. Tell them that they can, and tell them why they have been chosen to carry out their dreams…to inspire those who are too afraid to. Yes, they can!

Yeah.. I can’t stop thinking, and I don’t sleep too much. I am an architect, passionate designer, webmaster, strategist, and artist who believes in doing what I love, and the 10,000 hour rule.

I would like to change the world…or at least try…and share what I know. I hope to make your day a little brighter if I can. Business, marketing, online promotion, cool ideas, cool people, architecture, designers, strategies, news; sharing knowledge, the virtual world and the real. I am interested in all.

…let’s see if my brain gets any quieter.