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!

It may sound like an offbeat idea, but having the services of a Graphic Recorder who cares about the health of your fledgling concepts could be the extra advantage that puts you ahead of the others. While Graphic Recording generally serves groups and organizations, it is a little-known fact that I can also be contracted to sit down one-on-one with Start-Ups and individuals exploring personal planning, in order to create an attractive mind-map of fresh ideas when and where you need them the most. Tired of seeing an idea that you dismissed as fanciful suddenly become someone else’s business reality? The only difference is that they strategically designed the project stages required to make it happen!  Ever feel some of your best ideas never translated into a real business with a real plan and the right momentum forward? Your ideas are bound to benefit enormously from the services of a Graphic Recorder. Many entrepreneurs praise the mind-map as essential to their start-up process, as a proven crusher of fears and unanswered questions. In fact, you’ll find it included as part of the “tool kit” of many business start-up resources, although lacking the personal one-on-one with someone who cares and asks questions along the way. If required, we can also walk through a business planning session together, with illustrations accompanying your start-up ideas involving concept, niche, funding, marketing, product and so on. Not only does an attractive visual map of your session give you a sense of commitment to your ideas, it serves as a guide for your next planning stages. I have also studied project management and marketing concepts at university, so as a winning stage in your process, you know you’re in good hands. Know someone who might be helped by a session exploring their personal planning or Start-Up as a mind-map, with an artist asking questions as they go? Contact me, and we can arrange a meeting to not only make business dreamin’ fun, but to bring small business ideas to life!