Tag: graphic facilitation

visual facilitation books 2018 on bookshelf

Our favourite visual facilitation books to add to your backpack

Summer is in full swing – hopefully this means you’re working at a slower pace lately, and maybe have a little extra time to flip a few pages at the beach. Personally, I’m trying to catch up on my reading-for-fun. I asked the Drawing Change team to send me one book that they found helpful along their visual journeys.

Half are outside the ‘foundational’ visual practice books that often inform our work. And, if you’re new to the field, you’ll also see a list of classic books that are perfect for learning how to think with your pen.

We hope you’ll find all these titles useful!

“Unstuck by Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro, Ph.D. is one of the very first “design thinking toolkit” type books that I came across – and it is concise, flexible, funny, and makes great use of graphics. Keith’s company, SYPartners works with leading companies and organizations to help them evolve and innovate. Published back in 2004, the book has since spawned an app, a website, and a workshop series…but the book is a pocket-size tool that you will reach for again and again.” – Snow Dowd

“I think I’ve bought 8 copies of adrienne maree brown’s book Emergent Strategy to give away so far. It’s about complexity, radical self-love, and community in your facilitation, with a sprinkling of science fiction/futurism.” – Sam Bradd

 

 

“A great practical 101 – The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide by Brandy Agerback breaks down the process of live graphic recording. This guide is filled with friendly diagrams that help you find the balance in listening, deciding, and drawing. It’s the kind of book that begins to uncover what’s under the surface of the tip of the iceberg.” – Tiaré Jung

“This book provides instructions and illustrations on the basics of drawing, designing, painting and carving in the Northwest Coast Indigenous art. It reminds me that we must continuously practice and work towards our drawing goals.” –  Michelle Buchholz (Wet’suwet’en) (note from Sam: please, if you’re not Indigenous, don’t copy or appropriate Indigenous art.)

“I recommend The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. In life, we spend a lot of time measuring results against specific outcomes. This book reminds readers that everything we experience is made up. We can shift our thoughts, to experience life based on a frame of possibility. We can focus on how we contribute, so we look at things in a new way. We can embrace the way things actually are but shift our perspective.” – Melissa Breker

 

“Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is my absolute go-to recommendation for anyone who wants to learn how to really draw. It changed the way I see in a profound way.” – Annalee Kornelsen

 

“Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture is one of those books that I have kept from my university days. It’s not a leisurely read, but it’s a great introductory text that works to instill critical awareness in the reader when considering visual culture, and visual symbols of representation. How do the images we encounter influence us? How can we break out of our assumptions and consider inclusive (or new) ways of seeing and creating images? There are limits to its theoretical frameworks, and could do with some updating and inclusion of other perspectives, but it’s a useful foundational text with which to build a visual language upon.” – Carina Nilsson

 

“Kelvy Bird’s way of scribing, Generative Scribing, has changed my practice. The workshop and books are gifts to the field. This book describes “generative scribing” and “key concepts that inform and cultivate a scribe’s inner capacities of being, joining, perceiving, knowing, and drawing.” – Sam Bradd

 

Classic texts for sketchnoting and graphic facilitation

• The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note taking – by Mike Rhode

• Draw To Win and Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures – Dan Roam

• Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences Paperback – Nancy Duarte

• Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation – with Lisa Kay Solomon, Justin Lokitz, and Patrick Van Der Pijl

• The Doodle Revolution – Unlock the Power To Think Differently – Sunni Brown

• Draw Your Big Idea: the Ultimate Creativity Tool for Turning Thoughts into Action and Dreams Into Reality – Nora Herting and Heather Willems

• The Front of The Room: a book on facilitation by experienced facilitators – by Dan Newman

Drawn Together Through Visual Practice – edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd

… and stay tuned for the Graphic Facilitation Field Guide coming out in 2019!

Neuland markers sam bradd graphic facilitation supplies on table

FAQ roundup and how to get started as a graphic recorder

It’s time for a Frequently Asked Questions! Summer roundup of questions I’ve been asked from folks new to the field lately:

I’m new. How do get started as a graphic recorder?

photo: CIPMM (2015)

I love this question. Welcome, fellow visual thinker! Six opinionated ideas and highly subjective advice:

  1. Start. I want you to START drawing! I am not a believer in just “following your passion”. I think you should be inspired to be creative, yes, and make sure you put the work in to get good at things. Don’t leap into your passion and then give up too soon, especially when it gets hard. I don’t wait for creativity to land in my lap. I have to make stuff, and see where it goes. And then, once you make something you have to share it. How will people know what you want to do, otherwise?
  2. Your first projects should personally interest you. Be proud to share them. Deliberately choose to work for trusted people for a few low-stakes projects. Build your confidence.
  3. Find a mentor. This field enables people to bring their professional experience (coaching, facilitating, leading) and apply it to visual work. Like many creative professions with a majority of sole practitioners, the foundation based on apprenticeships, networks, and learning from peers. It’s rapidly growing and I think mentors help us see how collectively as practitioners we can help organizations, clients, individuals.
  4. Take a workshop. Research. Read books. Set up a Skype call. Go to a meetup. Ask your mentor if you can watch them work at a public or appropriate event.  Go to a conference. Try to read forums before asking a 12,000 person Facebook group “what is the best pen to use?” And, take a graphic facilitation workshop to find like-minded people and start building your community. 
  5. Think about how you want to start a business. There’s no one right way. Maybe you’ll have a business partner, maybe you’ll have an unusual niche. Look to other creative fields for the business model that works for you. At minimum, you should clearly show people what you want to be hired for. No sense putting a link to your tattoo website up if you want to be hired to sketchnote.
  6. Be generous. If you’re asking for people’s time, effort, emotional labour from others: ask them/see how you can help them in a reciprocal way.

Favorite markers?

I’m a Neuland ambassador. I love that they’re refillable, non-toxic, and come in vibrant colours and tips, especially the Big Ones. I am a huge, huge fan. Let’s talk markers anytime, and I’ll show you how these ones are designed to not even roll off the table.

What’s are most important skills a graphic facilitator needs to have? 

We are doing more than drawing – we are facilitating and leading, and helping others see their own thoughts. This month I might say: Listening and decision-making about what marks to make; awareness and skills to work on bias; empathy and a strong sense of personal leadership.

Last year I might have said patience, an ability to be reflective, a curiosity about learning (you can’t just draw what you think is happening). This is one of those “one finger pointing out, three fingers pointing back” types of questions.

What you notice or appreciate in others is also something you’re noticing in yourself, of course.

How is this a job? Why haven’t I heard about it? 

RIGHT? Pretty amazing job! Graphic facilitators are becoming more popular – so you may see them more now. But the field began in the 1970s, so it also has a long history, practices, and its own methods. Some folks work inside organizations, and some practitioners are consultants.

Do you pre-plan your layouts? 

No, and yes. I start with a blank page for graphic recording and most facilitation now. When I’m doing live work I am deciding as we go: I am matching the type of structure to the format of the meeting. Open plenary dialogue looks different than rapid-fire report outs, or a strategic plan deciding “three action steps”. These are emergent and not planned ahead of time, because facilitation and scribing is (or can be) emergent.

And when I facilitate meetings, I do pre-plan things in templates – when the group needs to see the structure in a specific way. If we need to do a “what are three next steps” for strategic planning meetings, or using a metaphor to help the group orient themselves over time – structure helps.

New graphic recorders should definitely practice planning sketches and layouts for live graphic recording and beyond. Have a mini sketchbook of layouts that you can turn to when you’re under drawing pressure – I have to mix it up, otherwise all panel presentations look the same (yawn).

graphic faciliatation: This wasn’t pre-planned, but also, it’s not random. Their theory of change swoops in from the left, the focus of their whole organization is central. Drawn over 2.5 hours

 

You travel a lot. What’s the best place you’ve been? 

This is a fun question, because in North America a lot of graphic facilitators are consultants who travel widely – it’s not required, but I love it. (I also follow the rules – I have a visa to work in the US and Canada.) All countries and projects have their unique joys. It’s more about the people than a particular location. I’d rather be with kind people in northern BC than a fancy hotel where no one is using what I’m contributing. But since you asked, there was a project in Tanzania where I was working in a tent in the tropical heat …with a security guard whose job it was to prevent the baboons from climbing on the tables! Work has brought me to 10 countries and remote locations, and I’m noticing more and more – globally and locally we are all working on such similar problems: communication, belonging/connection, displacement, and climate. The world definitely needs more ways of communicating with other in empathetic ways – and I think visuals are one way to do that.

Do I need to be a good artist to learn to do what you do? 

I think about graphic recording/facilitation like writing. Mostly, we don’t take a 2-day course and then suddenly create the Pulitzer Prize winning novel (and if you did, congratulations and then that novel was in you the whole time, no matter who your teacher was!).

I believe writing is a practice, a craft, and maybe also a calling; we all need writing skills even if we don’t become novelists. It’s the same as drawing – if you’re using drawing to communicate, or to help people think through ideas – it doesn’t need to be so fancy. It just needs to get onto the page.

This way, graphic facilitation and graphic recording are part of your toolbox.

… What other questions do you have, fellow visual thinker?  Post your other favourite questions in the comments and I’ll do a Round 2 later on.

2018 workshop with early bird pricing until September 1:

EuViz Workshops – Bias In The Pen and The Rising Tide with Brandy Agerbeck

Excited to see Copenhagen this summer! I’m co-facilitating two workshops at the EuViz 2018 conference for visual practitioners, and I thought it was a great opportunity to share resources I’m using these days to help me grow, and change. (And help me recover from making mistakes. I make lots of mistakes.) What’s most important is that it’s not just about what you draw. Our work is informed before we pick up the pen. 

They’re connected for me personally, as I want to promote equity and inclusion through my visual work, in my relationships, and to help raise the bar as our visual profession.

In both workshops, we’ll be working at the three levels of personal, practitioner, and the field.

It starts with me

 

Here’s a totally subjective list from what I’m reading these days, centered around decolonization/re-Indigenization, anti-racism and anti-Indigenous racism. I tweet out resources every week at @sambradd, too. We’ll share more of our workshop/learning tools after the session, too.

The White Allies’ Guide to Collecting Aunt Linda

You can’t just draw purple people and call it diversity

Workshop Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege

Sum of Us’ Progressive Style Guide

Decolonization Reading List (for Turtle Island)

Allyship, Advocacy, and the Legitimate Role of Non-Indigenous Folks

CBC: 18 books by Indigenous women you should read (Turtle Island)

Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation by Unsettling America

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndigenousXca 

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Growing your visual practice business – planning tools

Most creative people want to make stuff, not run the business side of things. Maybe this is familiar: you’ve launched your visual practice business (great!) and it’s been more than a year (congratulations!) and now maybe you’re wondering – how do I get more of the work I really want? 

I’m home from teaching “Beyond the Basics” of graphic facilitation with Sophia Liang, and the smart questions from participants inspired me to map out some new visuals about growing a creative business.

First up: Find your focus. Or foci.

The field of visual practice is huge.

Therapy + visuals = art therapy. Education / studying + visuals = sketchnotes. Facilitation + visuals = graphic facilitation. Mediation + visuals = visual mediation. Visuals are expanding the edges of many fields. What else is possible with your unique background?visual practice what is your focus

  1. What combination of visual work is part of your practice right now? Maybe it’s 50% videos and 50% graphic recording, or 20% x five different kinds of creative projects. No problem.
  2. Draw a circle and write down your work in the centre.

Read more

graphic facilitation workshop

2018 Beyond the Basics: Graphic Facilitation Workshop in Portland, Oregon

Beyond the Basics with Graphic Facilitation

The graphic facilitation and graphic field is booming – are you getting the work you want?

Sophia Liang and Sam Bradd designed this course to teach what they wish someone had taught them when they started out as graphic facilitators.

Experts say, in order to scale or grow your business, practitioners need to do two things:  be better, or be different. We’ll help you explore what expanding and diversifying your offering looks like for you. We’ll also offer models and tools for deepening your practice. And throughout, we’ll share how we got paid to do the work we love.

Beyond the Basics: Graphic Facilitation Workshop for practitioners with 2+ years experience with Sophia Liang and Sam Bradd returns, this time in Portland, Oregon in February 2018.

  • Designed for visual practitioners with a firm grasp on fundamentals, and a desire to stretch your potential. This fast-paced and participatory workshop includes two days of training and an evening opening session.
  • Every workshop is customized to meet participants’ goals. We’ll use storytelling, presentations, hands-on practice, group dialogue, and peer learning environment.
  • Passionate about continuous improvement and learning, Sophia and Sam bring facilitation techniques, a balance of theory and practice, years of business experience, and new visual tools to take your career to the next level.

Details and Registration: Click here

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2017 Trends in Graphic Recording: year end wrap up

It’s time for the annual wrap-up from some of my closest graphic facilitation and graphic recording colleagues.

Last year, we shared what we noticed about about human nature or communication (because we’re at hundreds of meetings!). This year, the questions are a little harder. Consider the work of visual practitioners we admire: how do they work? What are they doing differently? What do we notice? Secondly, what’s the one thing the field of visual practice needs to do next – but is avoiding?

Here’s why these questions are important.

When people see a beautiful graphic recording image, they’ll often say to us, “that’s so pretty”. Which is very kind, but at the same time – what if it’s a pretty picture of the wrong conversation?

The visual practice field has matured enough to look beyond the “pretty” in our work. It’s great to congratulate each other on a job well done, but we also need to make more room for the critical, the intangible, and the process behind our work – as a way for our industry to challenge itself and effectively grow. Making space for this conversation will help us meet our challenges head-on. Let’s talk about process and not just the end product.

This year’s questions were inspired by Julie Gieseke and Anthony Weeks, and I’m looking forward to hearing your additions in the comments.

CONSTANTLY ASSESS VALUE

“I admire practitioners who are working on bringing visual tools and methods to industries and fields that we don’t (yet) think of as visual to transform how work gets done.

“I see that the field needs to be less self congratulatory. Not all graphic Recording is helpful or “amazing”! We need to really ask how and where we can really bring value to clients.”  

– Nevada Lane – Lane Change Consulting

ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VALUE OF OUR WORK

“I admire practitioners who are delving deeper into their practice, asking hard questions about the value of our work, what it means to partner effectively with our clients, how our work fits into large frameworks of complexity and systems thinking, and how we can truly serve organizational and social transformation. These are the questions that are working me right now, and I gain nourishment from others who are further along the road that I am.”   

– Avril Orloff – http://outsidethelines.ca/

PRACTICE PROFESSIONALISM

“Professionalism is important in our field — professionalism in how we position graphic facilitation / recording, in how we present ourselves at events, and in how we contract / license our work. Another layer to this is encouraging each other to develop expertise in certain industries, types of events, or formats.

“I admire colleagues who are carving out niches and exploring new ways of applying graphics rather than one-size-fits-all. This pushes our industry to innovate and evolve!”

– Tanya Gadsby – Drawing Out Ideas

DE-PRIVILEGE THE PRETTY, EMBRACE THE UGLY

“As the field expands I admire professionals who are strategic about what organizations they reduce rates for, particularly those thinking of what they want to do in their own future work. There should always be a rationale for a rate lower than the local average.

“I see that the field needs to really encourage creative new approaches, dialogic processes, methods, materials and facilitators from new places, so that distinctiveness of each of our works is a priority. We ourselves need to de-privilege the pretty and embrace the ugly so that our clients are more likely to.”

– Aaron Johannes – Imagine a Circle

BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT WE VALUE

“I admire practitioners who put listening, service, synthesis, and clarity at the center of their work. Yes, I love beauty. Yes, I love imagination. Yes, I love technical proficiency in drawing…AND it’s NOT all about the beauty of the picture or image. It’s about the utility and meaning-making of the image. The field, as a whole, needs to get more honest about what we value.”

– Anthony Weeks @weeksonian

ENVISION NEW USES AND SETTINGS FOR GRAPHIC FACILITATION

“I admire practitioners who are delving into new areas that can benefit from graphic facilitation. For example, I’ve seen some interesting work with family mediation, mapping a personal journey, life coaching, and working with at-risk youth. There are so many ways that we can inject some creativity and connectedness within these conversations, and I think the opportunities are endless.”

– Liisa Sorsa – Think Link Graphics

PUT THE TIME INTO RELATIONSHIPS

“I admire the practitioners who have long-term relationships with trusted clients, and want to see the field grow in this direction. Not all visual practitioners are interchangeable – and we shouldn’t pretend we are, even if our handwriting matches. When we reach out for feedback about the images from the group and don’t hear anything – or if they just say things look ‘amazing’ – what we’re missing is trust. Everything changes for the better when it’s a two-way relationship.”

– Sam Bradd, Drawing Change

LEGITIMIZE VISUAL PRACTICE

“I admire practitioners who are working on the legitimization for our profession. We provide a valuable service that clients are still learning to discern. Educating our clients about the value we bring to groups can be challenging and the more white papers, studies, and well-researched and thought out articles help justify why every meeting should include a visual practitioner. Developing the science and “academics” behind it is a step towards true legitimization and I am deeply grateful to those individuals.”

– Sunshine Benbelkacem – That Girl Shines

ENGAGE IN SELF-REFLECTION

“I admire practitioners who engage in self reflection to deepen, stretch and improve their work on all levels. Not just drawing & lettering, but in their listening, in being present, in questioning their assumptions and biases. And in showing up authentically, being open to learning.”

– Emily Shepard – The Graphic Distillery

CONNECT THROUGH A SHARED COLLECTIVE VISION

“In our fast-paced, complex world, it’s no coincidence the field of visual practitioners has grown. Something we’re avoiding is finding our story as a collective visual field. What’s our vision? What values do we share? Should EUVIZ and IFVP join forces? As a Professional Coach, a similar conversation happened that resulted in the creation of the International Coaching Federation. I hope our visual field can find our collective vision too.”

–  Yiely Ho

VALUE LISTENING AS WELL AS ILLUSTRATION

“I admire people who are thought partners for their clients and consider themselves designers that deliver an experience, as opposed to a vendor that delivers a service. I also admire people who are looking at the outer edges of our practice and thinking about what’s next for us as a field, particularly with the rapid advent of tech tools (Jamboard by Google, hand drawn sketch animation software, drag and drop apps, etc.) that will inevitably “replace” some of the work we do.

“I would like to see our field place equal collective value on work that demonstrates deep listening in service to a group and its process as it does on highly illustrative drawing.”

– Giselle Chow – Giselle Chow Consulting

___________

Let’s continue these conversations into 2018, not just online but also in real life! Two ways we can do this are: meet up with me at the EuViz conference in Denmark this July 31 – August 2, 2018, or consider joining Sophia Liang and I for the Beyond the Basics workshop February 11 – 13, 2018 in Portland.

In the meantime, a happy and healthy holiday time to you and yours!