My 2018: A Hand-Drawn Data Viz

2018 has been quite the year for me personally and professionally. In May I accepted a remote Tableau developer position with one goal in mind: travel to different cities and decide where I wanted to move to. I fell in love with New York City and am planning on moving there in January (and as you can see in my viz, I ended up spending 51 days spread across four trips there). Through traveling, and the flexibility being remote provides, I was able to experience so many wonderful new things this year (while also loving my job!). I wanted to create a viz to reflect back on my year while challenging myself to do something different. I have always admired the hand drawn visuals that Mona Chalabi and Catherine Madden create and frequently find myself doodling. Therefore, I attempted to create my own hand drawn visualization, recaping my 2018. I used the Procreate app on my iPad Pro to draw the entire visualization (using my handy Apple Pencil). I then used Photoshop to change the coloring.

A few things I learned along the way:

  • Setting up your canvas to look like graphing paper feels like being in elementary school and creating bar charts for the first time
  • Some words/letters/numbers are harder to write than others (looking at you “average” and “8”)
  • It requires you to think about whether or not people will be able to read your chicken scratch or if your letters flow together too much (re: how I wrote Columbus)
  • It’s okay to embrace imperfection
  • Hand-drawn visuals are an absolute blast to create and you don’t have to be an artist to make them

Here is my hand-drawn data viz reflecting on my 2018: