Do you doodle? Do you draw to make your point? Would you like your drawings to be better? Drink and Draw sessions provide a low-intimidation approach to drawing with your colleagues. Drawing is taught, drinking is not.
Well, an experience wall is just plain… awesome!
This week I helped to create a HUGE (8’ high x 48’ long!) plexiglass experience wall at a conference in Las Vegas. It was a wall of inspiration co-created by a team of graphic recorders and the 700 conference attendees. Attendees approached us during breaks with their personal stories of inspiration, and we added them to the wall in real time. People loved it! They’d come back on their next break to see that their EXPERIENCES had come to life and were incorporated into the greater vision of the company. It was a terrific way to increase engagement, participation, and networking as people got into sharing stories not only with us, but with each other.
An experience wall can take on many shapes. Sometimes it is one, two or multiple large foam core boards placed on an easel or creating an illustrated pillar. Other times it is a large sheet of paper spread down a wall. No matter what shape it takes on, participants want to know “What’s happening?” and it invites them into the action.
This week I worked on an 8 feet tall by 48 feet long plexiglass experience wall at a conference in Las Vegas. As employees entered the conference they are asked about what inspires them and we illustrated their stories to the wall.
That is right. I said “we”. Most people who have been fortunate enough to have a graphic recorder at a meeting or presentation typically just see the one illustrator standing there taking notes and illustrating what the presenter(s) is telling the audience. But there are times, such as this, where the amount of work is compacted into so few days or hours or even at such great magnitude that a team of graphic recorders must work together to complete the job.
This was one of those times. Without all three of us working together we would not have been able to to listen to all the incredible stories and find a way to illustrate them on this large mural.
One of the elements I draw the most are people. You really have to know when to add detail, when to do a quick outline, and how to place them to simply get across the point. Occasionally I have to draw a quick portrait on the spot. The one above I did of the US Forest Service's Chief Tom Tidwell recently for an illustration I was working on at their meeting. Below is the reproduction of a sketch I did of Pedro Noda over a year ago for American Airlines Cargo. He is using it for a presentation he put together to represent himself.
Occasionally I like to go back and take a look at work that I have completed. Here are six illustrated maps I thought I would share. They were captured during 3 days of presentations and dialogue for the Chief's Review: US Forest Service Region 8.
Over time as a strategic illustrator you learn a set of standard imagery that stands in for certain ideas or concepts. However, over time you find that as you work for different clients there is a need to develop new or altered sets of imagery. This imagery needs to include their own interpretations and understanding of their corporate or organizational vernacular. This map from the US Forest Service includes some of my favorite imagery for this client.
What do you see?
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to record for the US Forest Service. They were discussing Job Corps and it's programs. The organization has 10 of 28 programs managed by the Forest Service which help young adults find a career in the US Forest Service.
One specific topic which I found interesting was tropical forests. They have an almost unrivaled diversity. The International Institute of Tropical Forests located in Puerto Rico does great research on the interplay between forests and people. The USFS has been working diligently in getting citizens involved in understanding what is in their own backyards. Expressing the connection between the resource of our forests with clean water, clean air, and wildlife. They are communicating the sometimes unseen value of our land and trees for these purposes. A very important cause in my opinion.
About Job Corps
Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job. For eligible young people at least 16 years of age that qualify as low income, Job Corps provides the all-around skills needed to succeed in a career and in life.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining Job Corps, call (800) 733-JOBS or (800) 733-5627 where an operator will provide you with general information about Job Corps, refer you to the admissions counselor closest to where you live, and mail you an information packet
Not all maps are created equal! As I discussed in a recent post, there are many times that my work isn't done in front of a large crowd of people or at a private corporate presentation in a meeting room. Sometimes I create the client's work completely in my studio.
Doing these kind of large scale strategic illustrations can require more than just me to complete. Sue Fody, pictured here, is helping me with final touches on this map. Over the years I have trained, mentored and worked with many other talented visual communicators. Not only do we share ideas for illustrating concepts but we discuss the pros and cons of art supplies and share our stories about the great work we are hired to complete for a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits.
This wall sized map that I am currently working on in the studio is for a cable company and is made up of 145 illustrated people. I'll be working on it all week and will have help.
There are many times that my work isn't done in front of a large crowd of people or at a private corporate presentation in a meeting room. Sometimes I create the client's work completely in my studio. This is known as Designed Studio Maps.
Designed studio maps begin with a client’s idea for a message that they want to deliver (a vision, strategy, new process, etc.). These maps are co-created with an individual or team in conjunction with the strategic illustrator. Often the message is connected to a metaphor. There are a series of sketches and approvals before the final map is created and delivered.
Today we met at the Denver downtown Library and sketched. At the end of our time we came across a group of policemen. Here you can see our interpretations of the scene. Susanne was into the texture, I was into the posing and Karina captured the setting.
In Dubai working at a HIV AIDS training for celebrities and journalists in the Arab states
Jamal Mohammed Alhammadi, Director of Youth and Culture. States Dubai is the land of opportunity. There are many international workers and businesses here
I am so official at this visioning meeting for the Arab Youth Development. It is all conducted in Arabic, so I have a translator. This is one of my toughest assignments in terms of understanding content and context because of language, cultural sensitivity..., as they are talking about sex education, HIV/AIDS, sex workers, human rights
Just wanted you to know that your influence is permeating across what I do. As a morning review, I find an artist in my class (there's always someone) and have them "graphically record" the topics we've covered. We add to the drawing each morning. It's fun, and we can showcase some talent too. This was a class last week called Lean Leader for a manufacturing company Gentex. The guy was timid at first. Then he really grabbed on and was enjoying the opportunity. Thank you for your wonderful influence...
Over my Christmas holiday in Wisconsin I visited Ms. Wendt's 4th grade class to deliver drawing lessons. Yesterday I received 23 personalized and illustrated thank you notes from these talented grade schoolers.
Strategic Water Resources Planning Workshop in the historic library of UConn's Law School. Working with Lisa Carlson and Kristen Pretty of Engaged Public. The consensus: "We need a Water Plan"
As a strategic illustrator, I could see myself using This two-way eyeglass image for the concepts of "unclear direction" or "confusing visions".
Today I will be teaching trainers at RMC Health how to draw welcome, expectations, accomplishments and closing signs with more flair. Let's draw!