Posts

In praise of great teaching

It’s so important, I will say it again:

Great teaching, the right tools, experimentation, willingness to get it wrong to get it right, perseverance, and the pull of a challenge are essential elements of the learning experience and lead to success!

The Back Story

Acrylics, with and without Flow-Aid on raw linen, 33″ x 36″

I am venturing into new creative territory—color mixing. I have been playing with all different kinds of paint (acrylics, fluid acrylics, high-flow fluid acrylics, and gouache), additives (water, Flow-Aid, and mixes), and substrates (mixed media and watercolor papers, raw canvas and raw linen) for the past six months. While I loved taking a class in watercolor decades ago, I found it very challenging and lost patience with it (or maybe with myself?). The work and play this past half year have been (mostly) a delight!

Now I am in the process of learning color mixing with watercolor to make my work with acrylics (and the rest of the paints) more consistently successful—meaning achieving my desired results with greater ease. 

I started an online course over the weekend and discovered a few key factors to my success and happiness with my effort:

  • A great teacher makes a HUGE difference! I love learning from someone who goes step-by-step—the mark of someone who teaches with learners in mind, who can step out of their own level of expertise to meet us where we are.
  • The right tools are very important—from the light (a simulation of good daylight), the right paper and paints (I have several sets of watercolors and it took a bit of playing Goldilocks to find the one that worked best), and the best brush for the task (easier said than done).
  • I had to let go of a desire to get it right the first time—I know (in my mind/logically) that it’s critical to experiment AND there are only so many hours in a day so I want to get “there” fast. My heart needs to be involved in this journey as I want to enjoy—and not just learn from—my results). Experimentation and “stick-to-itiveness” is essential. 
  • Ensuring that I use my new skills consistently, so they become second nature is critical. The teacher I am learning from has developed a 14-day challenge in which we use our new skills—I LOVE it! It’s a great investment of my time and money.

Whether I’m focusing on training, facilitation, or coaching, these same concepts and practices are foundational to growing my knowledge and skills and those of my clients. While my example below is a deep dive into the world of visualization skills, if that’s not your world, how would you adapt the ideas to your work and your clients? I would love to hear of your modifications and expansions upon my ideas—I hope you will be in touch!

Aha! Drawing the Connection to Our Plorking* with Visualization

As you reflect on your journey with bikablo—whether you have completed the Basic course (Days 1 and 2), the Advanced course, Extraclasse or coached with me to elevate your work—what are you doing right now to consistently broaden or deepen your skills?

In thinking about visualization, most recently, I am thinking of my practice and my clients through:

  • offering the students in the Gonzaga University course, “Visualizing Meaning and Purpose,” a list of prompts for every day of the week—we share our drawings on our Miro board.
  • working from a list of prompts with several of my Drawify colleagues, to add to the platform (working in .svg format/Concepts)
  • reviewing a beautiful card deck over the weekend and being inspired to create new drawings based on the figures in the deck
  • being part of an international graphic recording team—and brushing off my sketchnoting skills to make “mini-stories” to capture key points shared during presentations at the Stanford University-sponsored Me2We conference last month.

* plorking—playing and working

Here’s a Query!

Are you interested in consciously and consistently improving your visualization skills? If so, how will you do it? While there is a world of possibilities, which is the right match for you at this moment in time (or planning for the future)?

  • Are you seeking a live class—in-person or online? 
  • Would meeting up for 30/45/60 minutes once every two weeks or once a month be the right fit for your style of learning and schedule, based on daily prompts? It could be a place to share your work, ideas, questions, and challenges.
  • Do you like the intensity of a 10-day Challenge—with the opportunity to post your work, see others’ work, and receive encouragement and/or feedback?
  • Is the new Procreate Starter Set package from bikablo the direction you’re moving? What interests you about it? What questions do you have?
  • Is one-to-one coaching a better use of your time and resources?
  • What other ideas are percolating for your professional development?

I hope you will consider the questions I raise in several ways: 

  • answer them, if building your knowledge and skills in the bikablo method is part of your professional or personal development plan—and let me know if I can be helpful as you design your path
  • re-write them to meet your needs and desires. What are you dreaming of learning now (and how does it fit into your plans for the remainder of the year or longer)?
  • tell me what you’re thinking about what I have shared and your plans. I find sharing my plans with the world (wisely, to those who will nurture nascent ideas) brings a different level of commitment from me.

I hope to hear from you!

The Delights of Teamwork!

Mere words cannot express the fun, the collegiality, and most importantly, the impact of the work we accomplished at the #StanfordLEAD #Me2We2024 event last week. (Perhaps that’s why I’ve included a visual to represent my gratitude for the experience of being a member of an international team, in which each individual contributed something unique to the dynamics of the team and the event.)

The team, assembled by Drawify founder Axelle Vanquaillie, included Alexandra Oporto d’Ugard, Ben Crothers, Erin Nicole Gordon, Filippo Buzzini, Olina Glindev, and me. We hail from six different countries, yet we were on the same page, bringing the impact and influence of visualization to a conference already brimming with big names, big ideas, and participants hungry for engagement.

While we all played several different roles—as grocery shoppers, chefs, dishwashers, errand runners, schedulers, graphic recorders, presenters, and illustrators—I will say that I felt luckiest. The conference committee, h/t to Raphael Auwerkerken for his work in bringing us to the event, and to the conference committee that provided us with a gorgeous space in which to set up our array of analog recordings, were true partners throughout the experience.

As host of the table and showcase space for the first day of the event, I had the opportunity to meet so many of the attendees, share information about Drawify—our purpose and intention for being at the event—and encourage them to share their appreciation for their professors in their program. (They wrote on file cards, which were made into a gift for each of the professors in the program.) As you can imagine, people were curious. I loved sharing my passion for visualization with those who wanted to have a conversation.

Digital graphic recording has become a go-to practice of mine. The four sessions I attended were a pleasure to capture. One of my favorite memories is attending a workshop on improv, sharing my recording with the two presenters immediately afterward, and seeing their delight. They had no idea I was recording the event and were astonished to receive the visual summary. Kesinee Angkustsiri Yip told me that they had just incorporated three days earlier and she was going to print out the digital recording, frame it, and put it on her desk. It was a gift to have the time to connect with Kevin Weinstein and Kesinee after the session.

 

While I had never created tags with snippets/key phrases from the sessions, I loved it! The opportunity to capture a key idea for a session, draw and letter quickly on the Neuland Tag It, and offer it to others as a remembrance was a kick!

Perhaps the highlight of the three days (for me) was my presentation, Re-envision Yourself and Design the Life You Desire. I am dedicated to infusing Appreciative Inquiry, into every aspect of my work. The room was bursting at the seams— there were close to 100 people in a session that was meant for 80. Everyone was all in. We learned together—sharing thoughts, questions, plans, and insights. My role was truly as a facilitator, creating the environment and offering an experience that each individual would make their own. I felt almost guilty that my colleague Erin, who was graphically recording the workshop, had huge swaths of time in which participants were talking with each other. (Maybe a pause during a graphic recording is a blessing?) Of course, she became very busy as they offered up their thoughts. I was thrilled when one of the participants said, “This is exactly what I came for!” Participants left with plans for their immediate next steps for the future they desire.

These new experiences stand out for me (and may provide a few ideas, for graphic recorders, facilitators, and event organizers): 

  • a mid-size international team brings diverse, fresh energy to an experience
  • professionals from different backgrounds and with various skill sets enliven the processes used and the final products
  • hosting a space—being available to explain our work was an amazing opportunity for participants and increased engagement
  • space for showcasing the work, and enabling people to engage with it easily increases the impact on participants 
  • the creation of mini-stories/meaningful takeaways was an additional opportunity to connect with participants—we were surrounded by interested people, and some requested key phrases be “sketchnoted” for them live and in the moment
  • having my session graphically recorded was a gift I don’t often receive—give that gift to all presenters 
  • offering the opportunity for the students to show appreciation for their professors and to give the professors a gift was heartwarming and impactful.

My thinking? Let’s do this again—the results were tangible!

PS: If you’re curious, I posted this piece to LI with the use of Gemini (AI) and a little light editing afterward… Check out the differences

 

2022 is looking great!

I am sooooo delighted to be starting a new year! What about you?

How are you envisioning your work and play in the coming year? 

Yesterday, I was struck by the idea of laying out every little bit of my planning for public offerings (okay, that’s an exaggeration) for the first four months of the year… and I’m almost there. Here’s what is cooking in the variety of interrelated areas in which I work and play.

Choose to focus on your area(s) of interest or take it all in!

  • bikablo — visual practitioner work and play
  • Zentangle for focus and calm
  • Appreciative Living Learning Circle for a new look at your daily life, increasing your joy every day
  • Transformative Coaching: Appreciative Inquiry Design with a Positive Intelligence Approach
  • Sharing the Highlights of Our Lives Visually (Creating a Visual Obituary)  (Most recent addition, didn’t make the visual!)

If you prefer to see the big picture and then look at the details, here you go!

If you love a list, here’s the plan… 

BIKABLO Virtual Training Programs

Bikablo Basic Day 1

For sketchnoters, scribes, graphic recorders, and graphic facilitators… those on the path to becoming visual practitioners.

  • Learn to hold the pen, draw clean lines, and structure your space on the flip chart
  • Create graphics and text containers/geometric shapes, objects, and symbols
  • Discover the easy ways the bikablo®  method provides to draw people, roles, groups, and situations
  • Use simple and fast options to color elements and spaces to support the graphic structure
  • Improve your handwriting—make it more legible and attractive—on flip charts… and more!

Training fee and materials, $500 USD

2.8, 10, 15 & 17.22 — First time ever in the evenings! Register here

3.4 & 3.5.22 — Friday & Saturday, Register here

 

Bikablo Basic Day 1 Refresher (for previous participants, 25% discount)

3.4 & 3.5.22 — Friday & Saturday, Register here

Training fee and materials, $375 USD

 

Bikablo Day 2

Continue your journey and take your skills to the next level!

  • Learn rapid drawing techniques—draw icons, symbols, and figures FAST
  • Explore emotions
  • Improve your hand lettering—make it more legible and attractive
  • Discover and practice a variety of headline styles
  • Capture live conversations using a simple, elegant technique for creating visually appealing charts
  • Work and play with mobile elements to create evergreen posters
  • Develop a complex visual presentation—from idea to draft to revisions to final product

Training fee and materials, $500 USD

4.8 & 9.22, Register here

 

Bikablo Advanced

  • Deepen your use of the bikablo visualization technique!
  • Discover the three levels of poster/chart design
  • Work and play with the emotions figures—bring them to life in a wide variety of narrative situations
  • Develop transformation stories in three pictures with the emotions figures
  • Write more legibly and faster—check your handwriting against legibility criteria
  • Add to your repertoire of attractive headline styles
  • Learn new mapping styles to take your scribing skills to the next level—develop meaningful, structured charts
  • Use all the learning steps and methods in concert to create your final project

Training fee and materials, $900 USD

3.15, 17, 23, 25.22 — Register here

 

1:1 Time—Visual Practitioner Coaching with Jill

Are you seeking to raise your competencies in analogue or digital drawing and design? Whether it’s for your personal practice or  graphic recording or graphic facilitation for clients, I can help you see your work in new ways, refine your skills in layout, use of color and lettering or guide you to explore new styles of drawing. 

Package of three sessions—$600. Choose your sessions here. 

(Choose the first date and we will finalize the remaining two sessions.)

Individual session—$250/50 minutes. Choose your session here.

Please reach out to me with your questions about all of this programming!

 

ZENTANGLE

Every session is 7 pm ET for 75 minutes 

Tangling with Our Favorite Memory of the Year!*

12.30.20

FREE

Learn more here.

Register here.

* Previous experience with Zentangle required

 

Learn to tangle!

Intro to Zentangle session — FREE Session 

Begin the journey by exploring the roots of this art and the steps to follow to draw your own beautiful patterns. In the very first class, working with creamy white tiles, black Micron pen, pencil, and a smudger, you will learn how to create your own beautiful Zentangle tiles and leave with a hunger to learn even more!

1.4.22

2.9.22

3.3.22

Register here.

 

Zentangle series

Class 1

Stunning Black Zentangle tiles*

Explore the reverse of all you have learned—we will use black tiles and white pens! With gel pens in hand and white chalk pencil at the ready, we will play with layering techniques to create fascinating new visuals. Black tile and white pens—an awesome combination!

* features black tiles, pencil, white gel pen, and white chalk pencil

Class 2

Introduction to Renaissance Tiles*

In this session, we shift into working with tan tiles, black, and brown pens, and white gel pens to visit the time of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. We will study the iconic characteristics of these masters and use techniques that are similar to make our own works of art.

  • features Renaissance/tan tiles, black and sepia Micron pen, white gel pen, and white chalk pencil

Class 3

The Beauty of Zendalas*

Step into the mystery of circular pattern drawing—it’s relaxing and fantastic! These tiles are astonishing and call for our best creative selves. Learn to create simple designs that pop in this new configuration! Fall into the rhythm of working in the round.

  • features Zendala tiles plus pens noted above 

Class 4

Crossing the Border 

Join in the fun of creating beautiful borders for frames, greeting cards, postcards, and more! Discover specific tangles that work well in this format. We will focus on making frames for photo cards. This is a great way to share your tangling skills to surround a special photo of your family or friends.

  • features notecards plus pens noted above

Series Dates: 1.11, 18, 25 & 2.1.22

Buy the package!

  • Package of all series classes with all materials sent to you one week prior to class (USPS in the USA) — $120 ($96.00 + $24 for all materials, postage, and handling). Register here.
  • Package of all series classes (without materials) — $96.00, Register here,

 

ZIA—Zentangle Inspired Art for Valentine’s Day 

It’s not doodling and it’s not scribbling —it’s Zentangle Inspired Art! Take the art of the Zentangle method for creating beautiful images by drawing repetitive patterns—and change it up! 

In this session, we will draw tangles within representational constraints. Bring your favorite image in outline form—a heart, your initials, your sweetie’s initials—you choose! We’ll fill it with patterns using our pen and pencil, making our own unique works of art! You will complete the session feeling relaxed and calm.

2.7.22

FREE Session, Register here

** No previous experience required

 

Appreciative Living Learning Circle

Imagine what it would be like to…

  • Energize yourself each morning with a positive, productive attitude for the day  ahead…in less than five minutes
  • Transform the negative thoughts and beliefs that keep you stuck and unable to create the life you truly want 
  • Develop stronger, smoother and more meaningful relationships with your spouse, family, friends  and co-workers
  • Recognize the potential good in ANY and EVERY situation  

Appreciative Living Learning Circles were created to do just that! You will learn an easy-to-understand, practical set of exercises that will change the way you see the world and help you become truly happier.  And best of all, it takes just a few minutes a day.  

4.9, 16, 23 & 30.22

Group ALLC – $149 + purchase book on your own. Register here.

Group ALLC for returning participants — $119 (20% discount), Register here.

Package — ALLC course + one 50 min coaching session – $349 (Group experience plus 20 % discount on the coaching session.) Register here.

Package of Group ALLC course + three 50 min coaching sessions – $749 (Group experience plus 20 % discount on coaching package of three sessions.) Register here.

 

Sharing the Highlights of Our Lives Visually 

When we make the time to think about the breadth and depth of our lives, there is so much to be remembered!

In this two-part workshop, we share what we know about writing obituaries and explore the topic of life stories. We learn about creating visual obituaries and use a variety of questions to spark memories. There’s time in between sessions to gather memories, photos, and materials and create your visual. We come together to share our creations and experiences with this life-affirming process.

3. 16 & 23.22

Register here.

 

Transformative Coaching—Appreciative Inquiry Lens + PQ/Positive Intelligence approach 

Available year-round!

Curious to learn more about this fascinating, fun, and life-changing work? Discover if this approach is the right fit for you!

Book a time for a complimentary strategy session, here.

How are you growing in your practice?

With spring in the air and shoots emerging from the cold, brown earth, my mind follows suit—I am thinking about growth and change! One of the ever-present areas of interest and practice is in honing my signature style…

What’s your signature style? What has been your journey in developing and refining it?

I think about this question in all areas of my work though I encounter it the most frequently when I am teaching visualization skills. Folks come into the bikablo courses I offer with the initial desire to learn how to do what they have seen in the books and online— literally the drawings and also the methodology which supports the development of their skills. As people progress, they want to make their work a reflection of themselves which to me, is a sign of their growing sophistication. When I’m asked about how they can develop their own style, I reflect on my journey.

What’s your foundation… what supports you? What are you building on?

I began drawing, for use in my training business, with the book, Beyond Words, by Millie Sonneman. As I remember it, she said if you can draw circles, squares, and triangles, you can draw just about anything well enough for people to recognize it. I took her at her word and started drawing on flip chart paper taped to the glass door separating my kitchen from the deck. I loved it—it was fresh, fun, expansive—it opened up another channel of communication for me.

Feeling that my initial work was good yet there was more to be learned, I started poking around online, (back in the late 1990’s) and discovered  Nancy Margulies. I studied how she created her drawings—to learn how she looked at things and started to imitate her style. Her approach was completely different than Millie’s in that she used swatches of color to create her figures. Nancy mentored me briefly and the experience moved me in a different direction—it was fantastic! I searched further and found Christina Merkley, ultimately taking courses with her for over a decade.

In 2016, I attended the IFVP conference and participated in two workshops delivered by the bikablo team of Frank Wesseler and Stefan Böker. I loved the simple approach supported by the structure and methodology—it made it easy to learn and achieve good results fast. Now almost 5 years later, I have become a Bikablo trainer. I’ve also worked hard, OK I have worked and played hard, to develop and use a style that is recognizable as mine in my work outside of teaching the Bikablo method. I have discovered that my digital work/play affords me better practice in sharpening and refining my style because it is so easy to make changes… though that is a double-edged sword because I’ve become more perfectionistic about my work with my Apple Pencil in hand.

How has repetition and persistent, consistent, practice helped you to evolve? In what ways, and in what situations, are you developing your signature style?

Here are a few examples of my own style over the past year or so… as you can see I am still “on the move” incorporating new ways of drawing, using color, experimenting with layouts, and lettering. It’s such fun!

How are you saying, “Yes!” to change and growth in your visualization practice?

If your future visualizing work could be any way you wanted it to be, what would it be? Maybe you’re all set with your signature style of drawing figures, icons, and graphical elements—maybe layout, new uses of color, or lettering are what’s up for you. Or maybe, there’s some other aspect of your work that you want to explore?

How will you be the agent of your own change?

If you’re looking for personalized support along the way, a partner on this journey, let’s have a cuppa coffee (or tea) and conversation over Zoom…

And, if you’re seeking a group coaching environment, to learn from others too, e-xtraklasse starts next week— I’d love to have you join this small coaching program that focuses on deepening your skills. Learn more here, reach out to me with your questions, and register here.

What’s on your horizon?

New day dawning! 

What is on your horizon for 2023?

I’m brimming with excitement—there’s so much I want to do and share. Here are my offerings at a glance — events for the first four months of the year plus my coaching offerings that are available year-round.

I hope you will read the course details and registration information on my calendar page and join me!

Choose to focus on your area(s) of interest or take it all in!

BIKABLO Virtual Training Programs

Bikablo Basic Day 1

For sketchnoters, scribes, graphic recorders, and graphic facilitators… those on the path to becoming visual practitioners.

Bikablo Basic Day 1 Refresher (for previous participants, 25% discount)

Bikablo Day 2

Continue your journey, going deeper and broader — take your skills to the next level!

 

1:1 Time—Visual Practitioner Coaching with Jill

Are you seeking to raise your competencies in analogue or digital drawing and design? Whether it’s for your personal practice or  graphic recording or graphic facilitation for clients, I can help you see your work in new ways, refine your skills in layout, use of color and lettering or guide you to explore new styles of drawing. 

 

ZENTANGLE

Learn to tangle!

Intro to Zentangle session — FREE Sessions 

Begin the journey by exploring the roots of this art and the steps to follow to draw your own beautiful patterns.

 

Zentangle series

Class 1:  Stunning Black Zentangle tiles*

Class 2: Introduction to Renaissance Tiles*

Class 3: The Beauty of Zendalas*

Class 4: Crossing the Border 

 

ZIA—Zentangle Inspired Art—FREE Session

It’s not doodling and it’s not scribbling —it’s Zentangle Inspired Art! Take the art of the Zentangle method for creating beautiful images by drawing repetitive patterns—and change it up! 

 

Transformative Coaching—

Appreciative Living Learning Circle or Individual Coaching

Imagine what it would be like to…

  • Energize yourself each morning with a positive, productive attitude for the day  ahead…in less than five minutes
  • Transform the negative thoughts and beliefs that keep you stuck and unable to create the life you truly want 
  • Develop stronger, smoother, and more meaningful relationships with your spouse, family, friends, and co-workers
  • Recognize the potential good in ANY and EVERY situation  

Available year-round!

Curious to learn more about this fascinating, fun, and life-changing work? Discover if this approach is the right fit for you!