Google Drawings is a free Google Drive-based drawing tool that allows writers to create drawings, devise marketing pieces, brainstorm stories with concept maps, and more. Here’s how you use it:
- Open your Google Drive account; go to New and select Google Drawings (it may be located under ‘More’).
- Insert shapes, lines, an image, or text with the editing tools.
- When finished, publish the drawing as a stand-alone or add it to a Google Doc, slideshow, or spreadsheet. As will all Google tools, it can be shared with others in a wide variety of methods.
There are a lot of drawing programs. SumoPaint, GIMP, and Photoshop are some of my favorites. All are wonderful in their own right and many more powerful than Google Drawings. So why use Drawings? Here are eight reasons:
- It’s collaborative which is nice if you’re working with a team.
- Projects are easily shared with others.
- It syncs between locations so you can start a drawing on your laptop and finish it on your tablet.
- It is minimalist which means it is easy to learn, intuitive to use, and with only exactly what you need for most drawings.
- It’s easy to find. Rather than trying to remember where you created your drawing, Drawings are all saved to your Google Drive.
- Edits are easy. Just open the project from Drive and edit.
- The project can be shared as a link or embedded into many different locations with an embed code found under File>Publish to the web.
- A project can be downloaded as a .jpg, a .png, a vector graphic, or a PDF
Here are eight uses perfect for writers:
Brainstorm or mindmap your story
Create the bubbles and arrows popular to mindmaps with Google Drawings rather than a dedicated tool like Bubbl.us. Since Drawings allows for collaborating and sharing, it’s easy to brainstorm a story you’re co-authoring and come up with a solution everyone likes.
Here’s an example I created:
Share your story as a comic
Market your story with an Infographic
Introduce your story with an infographic created in Drawings. Here’s a good video on how to create the shapes required for infographics. Once that’s done, add text boxes to describe your story.
Create a timeline of story events
I love timelines but most of the online tools are less than satisfactory (I won’t mention names). Google Drawings has become a favorite because of its minimalistic approach–add text boxes to identify events in the story and then add pictures and a title. The example below uses a thick line, text boxes for events, and one picture to sum up the story:
Create a clickable map of your story
Create a map of the locations in your story. Add a picture that links to a rundown of what happens there in your story. Use this to inspire interest in potential readers.
Here’s an example of a story, based in the USA (though you won’t be able to click the red stars because I’ve uploaded a screenshot only):
In a literary world where getting noticed is critical, Google Drawings could be exactly the right tool.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection Winter 2022.