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The Great Hand-drawn Mind Mappers Face-off


After years of collecting mindmaps from all over the web, I’ve been trying to decide who is my favorite hand mind mapper out there: Foreman, Garcia, Kleon, Nast, Petiford, Sicinski, (the order is alphabetical, so that won’t help) … who have I missed?   None of these contacted me and said “Hey, my work should be on your site!”, though others often do.  Instead they turned up in one place or another as I roamed the websites of people interested in mind and concept mapping.

Here’s a snippet of work from each of them and links to their sites for more.  Please tell me what you think by taking the survey at the end of this post.

Paul Foreman


Click here to open Paul Foreman’s mind mapping site but make sure you have a couple of hours to spare. Paul’s mindmaps cover a wide range of contemplative and self-improvement topics.  I’ve conversed with him by email and find he is a most modest achiever – far too modest about his own abilities and accomplishments.

Luis Garcia


There is a strong mind mapping influence in the first of Luis Garcia’s work above, where he can be seen as someone forging his own rich and unique style.  The second could hardly be called a mind map (no words at all), but it’s such fun, I had to include it.

I found these interesting examples of Luis’ work on the photostream of that well-known mind mapper Philippe Boukobza, of the Paris-based group “French School of Heuristic” (EFH) [updated with info from Philippe].   Even after some deep searching, could not find Luis’ own site or blog. 

Austin Kleon


Austin Kleon is a writer and cartoonist who is active in the visual-mapping community, with a bubble-diagrams style that’s all his own. Austin Kleon’s collection of mindmaps is at this link.  [Updated: Austin sent me a link to all his mind maps: better than the one I posted originally.]

Jamie Nast


Jamie Nast, famous for the picture of her waving a handful of colored pens, is a classic hand-drawn mind mapper, who mainly works on paper and spreads her work through international training sessions.  It’s a little hard to find examples of her own work, because she’s so generous in promoting on her blog the maps of attendees at her courses, but the above two are her own, I believe.

Michael Petiford


Michael Petiford is a prog drummer, artist, art teacher and music teacher.  Oh! and a very inventive mind mapper.

Adam Sicinski


Adam Sicinski has developed a very personal and engaging style of mind mapping that it would not suprise me if even Buzan envies. His site of mind maps at IQmatrix is another one where it is easy to spend a lot of time exploring and reading.



I wish the artist who drew this had put his or her name to it.  Maybe it’s that little squiggle at the bottom left.  And I wish that examples of other work by the same person were findable.  As neither is the case, I include it as an example of a most creative variation on mind mapping.  It came from a site about permaculture.

Now please vote!

These are all creative, imaginative and talented people, so I’m not going to ask “who’s the best?” (yeah, who’s best, Michelangelo or da Vinci?)  But I would like you to tell me who is your favorite.  Please click this link to vote in the

>>  Great Hand-drawn Mind Mappers Face-off survey  <<

[Update: After seeing my post, Jamie Nast pointed out that it would be a good idea to give an end-date.  Ooops.  Two weeks – I’ll close the survey and announce the results on October 6th.  Update2< October 8th – I’m occupied with several other activities right now, and will leave this open for a few more days.  Meanwhile, you can add to the comments and please do vote in the survey.]


[Updated 9/23/2008]

  1. Nice post 🙂
    feel free to add the isomap if you need 😉

    i love the Austin Kleon work they make me thinks about the christopher mapping about typographic

  2. Arnaud.

    The focus of this specific post is on hand drawn maps, but you are right, your isomap and the typographic one you point to above should certainly be added to the Mindmaps Directory.

    I will add them on the next update.



  3. Jenny Mackness says:
  4. Jenny,

    No I had not. She is another most original spirit. I will add some of those to the Mindmaps Directory.

    I shall also do a round-up of hand-drawn mappers that I have learned about through comments like yours.

    Thank you

  5. Roy
    Nice examples of the crossover of learning and art. Entertainment and education are two sides of the same coin.
    Whenever I want to illustrate something about organic Mind Maps I use examples from Elaine Collier. You might also see if you can get hold of any maps by Vanda North.
    Best regards

  6. Nick,

    “Entertainment and education are two sides of the same coin.”
    I like that. It occurs to me to qualify it slightly by adding “good” in front of education. I can recall some small areas in my own early education that were noticeably devoid of entertainment! But that was long ago and my son is finding IB-based school a stimulating and entertaining experience.

    I’m having trouble finding Elaine’s work. The Google #1 position for “elaine collier” mind maps and variations is on a domain that expired in August and at other hits, I could not find any examples.

    I think some of Vanda’s work is on Jamie Nast’s site. I’ll take another look, thanks.


  7. Adam Sicinski is the most outstanding and amazing mapper in the world by far! This is the man to look out for. What do ya think world?

  8. I like Austin Kleon’s mind maps most because they resemble what we (ordinary people) make a doodle / sketch, simple but structured.

    Adam Sicinski’s mind maps sometimes too crowded and packed with so many key images, then they tend to be small and hard to see. It is better to have in poster size mind map of his.

  9. PKAB, you’re right about Adam’s being hard to see the details when viewing on the web. I believe they are made as poster sized mindmaps, and scaled down for his web site. He normally sells physical posters and pdfs (which must presumably be scalable and legible at full size) but I just visited his ‘shop’ page and it’s down for maintenance, so I can’t fill in the detail.


  10. Roy, you are right, I do currently provide printed laminated versions of most IQ Matrix Mind Map posters @ A3 (16.5 x 11.7 inch) & A2 (23.4 x 16.5 inch) laminated poster sizes are available for purchase. As a wall poster each Mind Map is easy to follow and understand.

    The IQ Matrix Shop is currently down for maintenance, however it should be up and running again in the next couple of weeks.

  11. great post roy. i saw austin leon’s sketchbooks on flickr. they are great. will look forward to seeing a revised list of great mind mappers. Philippe Boukobza & roberta buzzachino’s are also great hand drawn m maps. sorry if i missed your survey. noticed 8th



  12. I came to mind mapping through MindManager, so I do not have any experience with hand-drawn maps–other than to appreciate the examples shown.

    What I DO have, though is a variation on hand-drawn maps: I call them “hand-updated” maps.

    Basically, I frequently take home printed copies of the mind maps of writing projects I am currently working on, and annotate the printed copies by hand. I often do this while casually watching TV or, better, in bed just before I go to sleep.

    The next morning, the first order of business is to open the map files and add my annotations and ideas, revisions, etc., to the MindManager file.

    Then, I print that out at the end of the day, and I repeat the process.

    I also often begin mind maps by hand, then recreate them in MindManager, so I will be able to rearrange topics and export to Word, etc.

    BTW, I have assembled several MindManager reports, tips, and samples of book maps at

  13. Roger, that’s an interesting approach. I mostly do computer-based maps, and occasionally do hand-drawn ones. I rarely mix them, but I guess that’s because I’m hardly ever more that a few feet from a computer.

    Coincidentally, this weekend, I did just what you describe, because I was away on a family break (so didn’t take my laptop) and had something urgent to finish while they were in the pool.

    But I can see the advantage of having the immediacy of working by hand, while preserving the ability to re-organize and re-present a once-messy map.



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