Environmental Budget Meeting

Best graphic recording session ever! I always love environmental activists, and Climate Fast is one of my favourite organizations. They met in a small room with a large series of windows and for a moment I thought it couldn’t be done! Then I decided to try, and I hung a double paper across the window, and put to use the skills I had learned working for the Expressive art Therapist’s AGM with the panelled wall. I used very light strokes of brush pens instead of chisel-tipped sharpies and I integrated chalk and colour. It was exciting to watch it slowly unfold. Nothing makes me happier than graphic recording. I could do it all day, it makes me feel amazing! The most amazing part was glancing back, and noticing participants were visually referencing my work. They were actually looking up at the graphic recording for inspiration instead of down at their open laptops, which is the most awesome thing ever. Later in the meeting they were actually referring back to discussion blocks using the recording as a reference point. And despite the very serious topics at hand, the meeting became much more fun and productive. As well, I was pleased with the final look of the recording, which was balanced design-wise with good depth and colour choices. This is what we look for in a successful session!

Expressive Art AGM

Wow! What a night and an event that was particularly challenging! I was recording for the Annual General Meeting of an Ontario-wide organization, The Ontario Expressive Art Therapy Association. But what I wasn’t expecting was a change in rooms! I had done recordings before in that building and was counting on a smooth wall. Instead, the room they held the AGM in was a perfectly lovely choice, but one that was a graphic recorder’s worst case scenario, and as a professional I should have calculated for such a possibility but I hadn’t. It was a charming oak-paneled side room in a century-old building, with a large fireplace on one side and a bay window on the other. And the people in the attendance were wonderful therapists and artists! What is a graphic recorder to do? I decided to wing it. I chose one of the two heavy oak doors, which was also paneled, as half of my surface. The other half would be the beveled and paneled wall. With no real reliable surface at all beneath the paper, I chose light, brush style pens that made a mark no matter what. Since I could not use the usual sweeping, bold or stronger strokes of the pen, I integrated colored chalk and laid it on. Arrows and enclosures that might normally have had a single drop-shadow received a rainbow of colors instead. The final effect? They loved it! Well, they were Art Therapists! And I think they could tell that I had thrown my heart into it. The recording did actually have a wild, spirited quality to it that makes me laugh when I see it. Here’s me posing in front of the mural. It was an honour to work with the Ontario Expressive Art Therapy Association, and to be appreciated for my zany graphic recording of their AGM! Thanks, OEATA!

I am so impressed with Climate Fast! Climate Fast is an awesome environmental organization I did a meeting recording for yesterday night. I am an avid environmentalist, and studied Environmental Studies at Trent University, and so I particularly enjoyed recording their high-energy meeting! Climate Fast is a dedicated collection of environmentally-minded individuals who lobby for change on a local level. With a glance at the massive rallies calling for climate action in Toronto, we know that the citizens of this city are concerned by global warming. However, The City of Toronto has been heel-dragging with some vital legislation to help ensure Toronto meets its carbon-reduction goals. For this reason and others, including love of their children’s right to a better future, activists at Climate Fast are determined to raise awareness. As well as lobbying, they have taken a fun approach with the promotion of world-class films that explore issues our planet is facing. The turn-out to these events has been amazing! Leonardo Di Caprio was in Toronto for the opening of Beyond The Flood, and would very much approve Climate Fast’s work. Toronto Climate Film Festival films included their own very awesome and accessible screening of Beyond The Flood, and films Beyond Crisis and Sea of Life. Members of the public who attend these films are powerfully moved and become galvanized to petition local politicians and otherwise become more proactive about the future of our planet. At the meeting, the group discussed some of the successes they were having in reaching out to people, and there was so much new news going on I almost recorded off of the paper and across the wall! I would record for Climate Fast anytime, they are dynamic and the challenges of recording (I actually had no preliminary regarding the agenda or duration when I started out) stretched my abilities while the meetings themselves are sincere, lively and from the heart. To see more about Climate Fast’s work, click here!

Study of David Sibbet’s Talk

David Sibbet is one of the founders of the practice of Graphic Recording. He is a Facilitator from California who has been introducing visuals to his facilitation practice since the 1970’s. I have been researching Sibbet, his life, and reading his books for some time now. Soon I will put a review and discussion of his books up here as well. David Sibbet has written books on facilitation since at least the 1990’s but his most recent books, Visual Meetings, followed by Visual Teams and the book Visual Leaders are runaway bestsellers. In essence he has brought visuals into the realm of meetings like no one else has done. I will be writing more about him in the future. So I had to do a little sketchnote of one of his talks. The full sketchnote is in the portfolio. I used a black sharpie and large piece of quite high-tooth white paper. I am happy with the final image. I was pleased that the sharpie didn’t bleed and I now have a memory of the talk, both in a physical sense, and in my mind. That’s the effect of Graphic Recording and Sketchnoting! Recall!

Climate Change Notes

soilSolutiuonClimate Change is real and I like to learn everything I can about it and devote myself to making the change. I know we can get through this as a planet but we all have to work together. I recently watched the film “The Soil Solution to Climate Change” by Jill Cloutier and Jill Hirashima, and it was very helpful. I learned these fascinating things about the power of soil and grazing in agriculture to recapture carbon and put it back in the ground. The solution to global warming and climate change is truly right under our feet! I liked the Ted talk so much that I made it into this recording. I tried to include all the most important details. There is a lot to know, but not a lot to do! Just free the grazing animals and let them fix the problem. Okay, it’s not quite that simple, but it is certainly one of the more important Ted Talks out there! I hope you enjoy my artwork in response to their research! Climate change can be tackled if we all work together.

Talking to Educators

Just wrapped up a morning workshop running some curious educators through the concepts behind using sketchnoting as a teaching tool! I drew up these speedy flipchart sheets the day before so that I would have something to refer them to, breaking everything apart into 5 minute segments. It was an overview-type presentation, so that they would feel more familiar with terms and concepts. All of them had heard of the idea of visual notetaking as a tool for learners, but they didn’t know how to introduce it in a classroom setting. There were about twelve educators at the meeting. I carried along a lightweight easel in and set it up within seconds, and then things got rolling. It was exciting to see how interested they were, and every time I broke for Q and A they asked such super questions. Later I gave them a quick “scribble birds” lesson, not my idea but it came to me because they wanted direct ideas as to how to get non-drawers drawing. “Scribble birds” involves making a scribble-design and then adding a beak, an eye, and little bird feet. Works every time! Try it! After the meeting I enjoyed a tour of the art room and an informal chat with some of the teachers working with high school age kids downtown. Inspiring start to a great day.

Okay, I did it again! I sketchnoted a Ted talk, this time by Seth Itzkan on Global Warming, quite similar to the film I was excited about! I was so interested by it, my pen flowed freely and I created some nice line work I am proud of. I used a finer pen tip than usual, and it looks great!. Seth Itzkan describes cows as allies in halting Global Warming. He says a radical change in herding practices can save the planet from desertification. The talk describes grasslands as the largest terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. My fave line is: “overgrazing is a human invention.” So I listened carefully and I made this sketchnote to ensure that the story remained committed to my memory. It was also fun drawing cows. I hope that Seth Itzkan gets as wide an audience as possible. He is part of the change Gandhi told us to be.

Recently I was volunteering as an ESL teacher! It’s something I like to do on the side that makes me feel great. My students are brilliant and they learn incredibly quickly. I always get a kick out of how fast they learn. So, we were hanging out one day, and I decided to introduce Graphic Recording as a technique in language learning. As I taught, I drew this big chart explaining the ideas for the lesson. Maybe it seems just like regular teaching, but the idea was to make a chart explaining the lesson using Graphic Recording techniques. Only I was Graphically Recording myself as I went along. So the chart worked fine, and they were better able to grasp the concepts. I felt glad to have a visual reminder of the lesson planning that could remain after the day was done. We referred to it after that and made others. So I took a snapshot so that people could see Graphic Recording in an ESL context. Worked great!

What is the power of sketching while you take notes? Let’s start with abstraction, reflection, and add improved retention of ideas.
Sketching while listening is also, for obvious reasons, an excellent tool for ADHD-Multitask learning! It changes the value of the spoken word into something tangible. Sketching while you are listening lets the listener actually think about the information through different neuro-pathways in our brains. Verbal ideas transformed into visual records have resonance long after the actual recording event is finished! The process “leaves the adult thinking behind,” and uses our ability to draw that is buried inside us, lighting new sparks, or as Mike Rohde put it, using an ability “possibly repressed as kids.” Who doesn’t see value in that? These are only some of the benefits of sketchnoting. Fire up new ideas! Explore fonts! Visualize as you doodle! Sketching and doodling have power!