Posts

How are you growing?

As we wind down from summer and gear up for fall there’s a lot to be thinking about!

What are you reading? 

That was the question from my buddy in Tasmania as we chatted over the weekend. I’d like to take that question and run with it.

What are the resources that you are currently working with and expanding on? What’s new and exciting in your world?

For me, the past few weeks have been chock full of new experiences, new resources, and using existing resources in new ways. 

The bikablo + IPEVO Meet Up two weeks ago was brilliant! I say that because we—the bikablo team and the participants—were using existing tools (document cameras, markers, and paper), and collaborating in new and different ways. 

 

 

The Graphic Medicine UnConvention was fantastic! I wrote about it on LinkedIn in August and just this past week here.

As a result of presenting and participating in the GM UnConvention, I have read Rosalie Lightning, by Tom Hart. It is an incredible graphic memoir. Truth be told, I have also signed up for the Graphic Memoir course offered by Sequential Artists Workshop and the Graphic Memoir Working Group. I believe that aspects of the internship I started last week will become a graphic memoir.

And, I have this stack of books to dive into—just some of the books suggested in the second lesson of SAW’s Graphic Memoir course—I’ll be working my way through them starting this weekend. 

Finally, my schedule and the Visual Thinkers Society monthly meeting are in sync—I can’t wait to join the meeting on Saturday morning!

Next week, I will start the bikablo Sketchnoting train-the-trainer course… it’s going to be great to learn from Amelie Vesper once again and join my colleagues in this training. I’ll be offering this course soon too!

Lastly, I am expanding my digital drawing capabilities by learning Concepts, a vector-based app… More to tell about the project that will support soon!

Upon reflection, the themes I am noticing now are, self-education through books, videos, podcasts, and direct instruction from colleagues, focused practice, and the beauty of collaborations with colleagues.

What are you noticing about your world?

What’s new in your world? Please ping me and let me know!

Bikablo + IPEVO = So much Fun & Learning

Yesterday, I was part of a grand experiment. Honestly, I don’t do that a lot. 

I do a lot of training, facilitation, and coaching. It’s true, I do a lot of experimentation within those events but it’s qualitatively different than what we engaged in yesterday. The experiments that I design within my practice are planned—you might even say controlled experiments, in that they are designed, implemented, and evaluated according to the objectives to be achieved and the criteria I develop (although perhaps the acronym DIE isn’t the most cheerful). I mean, that’s what you would expect from a curriculum designer, right?

Yesterday was different in so many ways: 

  • I was a collaborator instead of a designer
  • we dove into the creation of the experience with the mindset that it was an adventure and an experiment 
  • we knew that people would enjoy it, learn something new during our time together, and meet people from around the world and interact with them. 

I have to admit that I was on pins and needles about how it was all going to come together. We were a team of six people coming together from Germany Spain, China, the US, and Taiwan.

In these days of video conferencing, folks getting together from around the world is not exactly a big deal but it turned out we were not only managing time zones, but we were also managing weather patterns which almost disrupted our entire plan as there was bad weather in Spain affecting the connection of our colleague Elena. And then, of course, there was the tech piece—not only were we all using document cameras but we were seeking to use them in new in different ways. While we had two tech sessions and practiced before the event too, I still had a tech glitch then made it challenging for me to participate as effectively as I wanted to, and yet I was still able to contribute. 

Perhaps it is one of the things I love best about working with my bikablo buddies. We are transparent about how things are going, we support each other to do the best we can, and we learn every time we get together in an environment of good cheer. 

The session was a total blast! We had over 100 people attending of the 200 signed up. We did an extraordinary number of activities in a relatively short period of time, with varying results — and that was OK! Frank, Elena, Xiaoli, and I had a choreographed piece that included movement on all four screens simultaneously. When we first started practicing it, I called it synchronized swimming—it was really just like it. It was so cool! We also 

  • drew together across the four screens to demonstrate how to combine simple shapes to make icons
  • did an exercise in which we added to the previous person’s drawing
  • used the bikablo “iconizer” /a random generator of icons to draw together
  • told a story, in four parts—dreaming up the next stage as we took turns on the screen—that used the cut-outs from our previous exercise
  • concluded by drawing a face across the four screens—while she was a bit Picassoesque—she was fabulous!

People were delighted to meet in small groups to practice with the technology, or if they didn’t have it, to find other ways to be involved in the activities. Everyone had a chance to post their work on Padlet—to see the work from around the world and to read their comments was exhilarating!

It was a truly amazing experience—one that’s never been done before and no doubt will now be done in the same way and also improved upon—around the world.

What are your criteria for assessing your work?

As I review my notes in anticipation of hosting my follow-up coaching session with Visual Binge attendees tomorrow, I am struck by the two quotes I found this morning as I was reading.

Bashõ (Japanese poet, 17th century)

“Do not seek after the sages of the past. Seek what they sought.”

Neal Allen (Vipassana practitioner)

“I admire the capacity of any human being to come into wisdom on their own by questioning the assumptions that are around them.”

The preparatory work for our session is to bring and share any sketchnoting or graphic recording completed since the UnConference last month. My second, and perhaps more important request was that participants bring a short list of criteria for assessing their own work and the work of others.

I am all about leaving one’s inner critic ”at the door” AND I see the value in appreciating what is working in a piece and what can be made even better next time. 

What would be your criteria?

What matters to you?

What is important to your audience? (Perhaps there are varying answers based on the different audiences…)

My top 10 criteria are straightforward though not separate—they exist in combination. This task of assessing one’s (or others’) work is both art and science. I believe that the visual I have quickly created is a better representation of these criteria, as the list below seems more mechanical, like a checklist. This (assessing our work) is not that (a checklist to determine quality—from spectacular to inept, or some other continuum). To me, these elements work in concert, and perhaps not enough of something (maybe white space?) is compensated for by something else (the vitality of the colors used or movement through the piece).

What do you think?

1. Layout

    Conceptual fit with the content 

   Title—what percentage of the visual?

   Placement of title on the page

2. Use of white space

3. Use of color

   Literal, strategic, figurative/metaphorical

   Color palette chosen

 Number of colors used and for what purpose (i.e., all the colors of the rainbow are important if there is a rainbow… if not, then I would suggest, two or three colors beyond the foundational black and the color chosen for shading {which might grey, periwinkle blue, yellow, orange… the list goes on!})

4. Logic flow

Can I understand how information moves across or around the chart or “page”?

5. Lettering

Is a hierarchy use and used well/in an easily comprehensible way?

How legible is the handwriting?

6. Interplay/balance of words and drawings

Some subjects require a lot of text—precise terminology, quoting people, etc., in other instances, icons, figures, and containers can be supported more minimally with text

7. Containers

Which ones are used and how?

8. Iconography and graphic elements

Are they a fit for the subject matter?

9. Execution

Neatness,  recognizable/well-drawn icons (Is it a lightbulb or an ice cream cone?)

10. Clear communication through style used (perhaps a more personal taste criteria)

What do you notice when you look at your sketchnotes orographic recordings (yours or other people’s)?

I hope that you will consider these criteria and be in touch with me with your thoughts. I am always (okay, almost always/often…) ready to expand my thinking.

What habits bring your work to the next level?

What makes for good practice?

Just last week, Jill Langer and I completed the bikablo Basic Day 1 Virtual training. Folks are jazzed by the end of this experience. Both they, and we, want them to continue deepening and broadening their skills. We discuss during the training how to maintain and grow the habit of practice. As you can imagine I suggest the following during and after working on a piece:

Be

  • conscious—of every stroke you make
  • consistent—in practicing—find ways every day to use your new skills
  • accuratein your appraisal of your work, using criteria/success factors we have discussed
  • kind to yourselfappreciate what you’re doing well
  • diligent—in applying what you have decided about areas to improve

As I think about, Seven Questions That guide the Work of Inspired Teachers, an article from ASCD (the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), that I just read about being excellent teachers,  I am most struck by this paragraph:

How can I make clear the criteria for quality work we will use in class and help students understand why those benchmarks are significant? How can I help them learn to assess their own work using those standards? How can I support each of my students in reaching for excellence?

These questions are at the heart of my thinking. Sharing my ideas during the training creates the conversation about ongoing professional development.  It’s an aspect of being a graphic recorder or a Sketchnoter that I addressed in my session for the Visual Binge last month. In that engagement, I asked the participants to look at graphic recordings from four different sources and begin to create their criteria for successful work. We’re about to do a follow-up coaching session and my plan is to have us all share our respective criteria for excellence. Here’s what I’m thinking…

  1. Consistent, strong/clear lines/strokes
  2. Containers, graphic elements, and figures with closed edges
  3. Appropriate perspective-—what is in front and behind other objects or figures
  4. Following guidelines for use of color (the bikablo method)
  5. Consistent shading/source of light and with regard to various types of objects (the bikablo method)
  6. Effective layout chosen for content of work—open to interpretation though I believe there are criteria (I would use waves or eddies to indicate content in a sea-themed drawing —or treasure chests, fish, etc., rather than put a square or a circle in the water.
  7. Logical flow of content
  8. Spacing between objects/use of white space to enable easy understanding of all content and relationships between content areas
  9. Use of frame or container for finished work
  10. Signature of visual practitioner on work (unless not permitted due to contract)

What are your criteria for your work, and presumably others’ work, as you learn and grow from seeing what’s out in the world?

As you bring your work to the next level, what does that look like to you? How will you facilitate your learning?

You know me, I’d suggest continuing your education in a formal/structured way… making a plan and working your plan

  • find a buddy to draw with consistently or an accountability partner
  • work with a coach individually or in a group
  • take the next level of training

What’s your next step?

PS: I hope you will share your thoughts about my ideas. I’m always looking to expand my thinking!

Food for Thought on a Friday Afternoon

When’s the last time you declared who you are to the world?

This question of vision, mission, values, capability, and capacity came up for me just this week. I have become a member of a small group of women who are seeking to explore and discover, ways to meet some of the needs of particular underserved populations.

We are graphic recorders, authors, illustrators, facilitators, and educators with the passion and skills

for helping those facing end of life issues through making visible their thoughts and words as they face death.

The Back Story

Long and delightful story short, we have found our way over the past few months to sharing who we are, how we come to the subject matter, and the project that we are co-creating (with what questions, interests, and skills). We are learning about each other and imagining how we can each contribute to creating a more multi-faceted endeavor. Last week we realized that it was time to craft a manifesto/vision/mission statement to share with the world, or perhaps a little less grandly, with colleagues and new contacts, potential partners, and funders to help them understand what we’re doing and why.

When have you recently paused to reflect on who you are and what you stand for personally and/or professionally? If someone asked you about your values and why you’re doing what you’re doing in your life, how easy would it be to share your thoughts?

Several years ago I created a simple process —PRISM—for writing a manifesto, to support my coaching clients (parents) in getting clear about themselves and who they wanted to be in relation to their children. I had written a manifesto for myself, about who I wanted to be in the world, and I had written another about the parent I wanted to be… These creations were both based on who I was at the time and were aspirational.*

PRISM

Pause

to create the time/space in your schedule and environment so that it becomes easy to do this work and play

Reflect

on questions that resonate for you at this time (and find sources to help you do so)

(Who do you want to be? What are your values and how do you live them? What are your hopes, dreams, and priorities? What aren’t you addressing because it’s not comfortable, and how will you do that? What will stretch you?)

Imagine

all the possible answers to your questions and how you want to capture them (sticky notes, narrative form, drawings or…) so they are at your fingertips

Select

the constellation of ideas and desires that inspires you to commit and act

Manifest

your vision of yourself by making time to plan for the transformation you desire.

We began our meeting this week with an appreciative eye toward what we enjoy about our plorking (play and working) together. Everyone’s answer to the check-in question was uplifting and strengthened our foundation.

The language and imagery we used to describe our best experiences crafting such statements were exciting, generative, and surprisingly similar. When we shifted to our wishes for what we saw ourselves doing together and the content of the manifesto/vision statement, we saw many different possibilities.

Our next step, on our own, will be to visualize and share our ideas for our manifesto—what will it say about us and what we want to do in the world? I can’t wait to find out!

Finally, we will draft our manifesto.

 

* If you would like a copy of the ebook I created for manifesto writing, let me know and I’ll send one your way!