Drawing Well- a new tool for reflection

Drawing Well- a new tool for reflection

The Question Well tool

Hello! We’re Jennifer Shepherd and Sam Bradd. We’re visual practitioners, educators and facilitators. We live across the country from each other in Canada, and have collaborated on a range of writing projects about visual practice in the last few years. This tool below is an excerpt from a chapter you’ll find in our co-edited anthology Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, published in 2016.

We hope you’ll put it in your visual practice kit and pull it out many times as you choose to reflect in mini moments that transform how well you draw.

 — PDF Download – Drawn Together Through Visual Practice Chapter  —-

We’re both committed to reflection as an integral part of our visual practice. As we make time to reflect, our active curiosity calls us to explore:

What more can we know about ourselves?

What new possibilities for action do we see?

How can we share what we’ve learned with others?

We’d love to learn from you, too.

How ready are you to draw?

How does the way you show up impact the quality and sensitivity of the drawings you make?

Picture it: there’s a clean slate of white space in front of you. You’ve got your markers or tablet all juiced up and the meeting is about to begin. You take a breath, look around, and ask: where am I in this picture?

Wherever you find yourself, we invite you to ask a second question,

What deep and careful reflection could I choose now to listen and draw at my best?

This small moment to pause has the potential to make a big difference – in our creativity, in our relationship with our clients and participants, and how we expand the field of visual practice.

We believe that taking mini moments to pause and reflect can transform how we draw and radically improve the value of what we do as visual practitioners.

And that is the premise of this Question Well tool. When we reflect in the moment, or on a moment from the past, we extend our awareness and care and create openings to expand our competence. This is true regardless of whether we hold a ready pen, offer input or bear witness to another’s creatives process or interpret a completed work.

We invite you – our colleagues, clients, and facilitation partners – to notice areas for reflection in your own practice, wherever that might be. When you’re ready to take a mini moment, dive with and us into this rich well of questions and see what emerges!

What you’ll find in the Question Well tool:

  1. We introduce a new model for reflection that is unique to graphic facilitation and visual practitioners. What other models come to mind?
  2. We share the Question Well with 64 questions and 9 areas of focus. What new questions would you add?
  3. We intersperse anecdotes from our story as practitioners into the Question Well, and invite you to think about your story.
  4. We suggest ways to use the questions.

Let’s jump in.

Introducing a New Model for Reflection

There are many dynamics and relationships that are worthy of reflection during visual facilitation. Here’s a diagram that illustrates what we mean.

In this mini book, you’ll see questions in the Question Well organized into 9 areas of focus – one for each of the connections shown in the diagram.

We have crafted 64 questions to support your reflection. We’ve organize them in 9 areas of focus to help you navigate your way through the Question Well.

We offer these questions for how to use this chapter as a kind of personal workbook:

  • Reflect on your own, or gather with peers, clients, and others
  • Read the questions aloud, pause, and notice what answers arise
  • Phone a colleague and have a conversation
  • Write a journal entry and see what emerges
  • Bring your thoughts forward to the field of visual practice online or at a conference

We offer these methods as wisdom from our shared experience as a gift to the visual practice field. We’ve tried them all, and they work! These are only a start. Now, it’s your turn. We invite you to share your own questions on the Drawn Together Through Visual Practice website, too.

 

Mini-Book1-1About the Authors

Jennifer Shepherd inspires well-intentioned and overwhelmed leaders to gain the clarity they need to create insightful connections and make their next move. She has oodles of facilitation and collaborative change experience working with local communities, regional networks and national networks from housing to hockey. She is known for asking questions that prompt us to ask more questions, draw together, and solve the complex puzzles of our time. Jennifer is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator who loves to drum and walk the world in wonder. Contact her at http://www.livingtapestries.ca

Sam Bradd is a graphic facilitator and specialist in information design. He uses visuals for people that want to engage, solve problems, and lead. Together, we’re Drawing Change. In the last 15 years, Sam has collaborated with the World Health Organization, Google, Indigenous organizations, and researchers on four continents. In 2016, his side project the award-winning Graphic History Collective published a book of comics because how we tell histories can change the world. He has a Masters in Educational Studies (University of British Columbia). Contact him at http://www.drawingchange.com.


Read more in Drawn Together Through Visual Practice 

This Question Well tool is part of a larger book, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice. It is edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd and was published in 2016. This anthology demonstrates the power of visuals as a sensemaking device in an age of unprecedented complexity. It is available on Amazon.com in book and Kindle formats.

www.visualpracticebook.com.


 

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Vancouver Book Launch: Drawn Together Through Visual Practice

Today we held the Vancouver book launch, featuring Aftab Erfan, Stina BrownAaron Johannes-Rosenberg and me Sam Bradd. Thank you to everyone who attended! We had a fantastic turnout with over 50 people.

Aftab presented about Deep Democracy, Aaron shared his work using visuals for supporting person-centered planning tools, our stellar MC Stina helped us get grounded and writes about connecting the self to planet, and I talked about cultural humility in our cross cultural visual work.

The best part? watching not one but TWO master letterers at work and play: Avril Orloff and Corrina Keeling. Thank you for the first graphic recording of our book about graphic recording!  Also inspired to draw was Rosanna von Saacken whose sketchnotes were a big hit.

dtvp-graphic-recording-of-the-vancouver-event

The first graphic recording of the book – done in tandem by Avril Orloff and Corrina Keeling at the Vancouver book launch. Thank you for sharing your gifts! 

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Mini conversations with visual practitioners

Mini conversations with visual practitioners

Editing a book is like holding a conversation. It’s one of the best parts about editing a book, because you can consider how the chapters speak with each other.

Which chapter can lead, which one should be adjacent, and how do each of them complement or contrast ideas? What all of our chapters have in common is that these diverse visual practitioners are trying to make sense of the world. From graphic facilitation, embodied calligraphy, and even dancing – here’s a sample of these conversations. Want to learn more? The book is available on Amazon here.

Visual Practice: a Free Chapter for you

The editors of Drawn Together Through Visual Practice came together to dive into deep and resonant questions at the core of visual communication.

And we want to support your visual practice, with a free gift.

Click here for the full-length chapter by Jennifer Shepherd: Discovering Wisdom Within and Between: How storyboards, portraits, and visual explanations can help us learn to solve the puzzles of our time.

As editor Jennifer Shepherd writes, the world is more complex:

While we may address different topics, we share one thing in common: a learning opportunity.

It is this: to learn to surface the wisdom hiding within us and between us and connect it with what we already know. By making the invisible visible, we can express, touch, and otherwise explore ideas and relationships until we discover the missing links in our understanding and wisely choose what to do next. This step could be to form or deepen relationships with others, to coordinate or harmonize our actions, or—like a jigsaw puzzle—to join pieces of information into a cohesive picture of the whole.

Find out more how storyboards, portraits, and visual explanations can help us work for a better world in Jennifer’s chapter. This excerpt from Drawn Together Through Visual Practice is available in full text and PDF.

Drawn Together Through Visual Practice is a new anthology featuring 27 voices. It showcases professionals in visual practice, alongside cross-disciplinary practitioners in other fields, delving into deep and resonant questions at the core of connection and communication.

Buy it online here. 

Enjoy!

 

Celebrating our Learning Community

It looks like a book, but it feels like a learning community to me.

As our anthology Drawn Together Through Visual Practice is officially released into the field today, I feel called to celebrate the guides, creative partners, thinking partners, and joyful supporters who shaped my journey to this mAmplify_Support_Lead_Onoment. Thank you.

To the Contributors: Thank you for sharing the wisdom in your words and images. Though I haven’t met many of you in person (yet!), I’ve heard your voices in my head for over nine months. I’ve read and re-read every draft and polished work submitted, and I keep learning and discovering something new each time.

One day at the wall, I drew something rather unrecognizable. I heard Eva-Lotta Lamm ask me gently, “Ah, so it’s not what you intended to create. Improvise. Play! What else could this be?” And so it was. Shortly after reading the first draft of “Visual Improvisation: How improvising influences my sketchnoting”, I was already applying new learning – on the page and in practice. Thank you, Eva-Lotta.

There are more anecdotes like this and deeper stories to be told. I’ve made a list. And every time I think, “Ok, that’s it”, more influential people come to mind and the list keeps growing. In his chapter “Using Perspectives to Build a Practice”, Bryan Coffman invites us to look back and reflect on who and what has shaped our practice.

In the restless nights before today’s announcement, I awoke over and over with thoughts of gratitude and names to scribble down. What an enlightening and nourishing ride it is to acknowledge who and what has inspired my learning path to this moment. In the weeks and months to come, I intend to write about these influences and share them publicly to make the learning visible in our community. Thank you, Bryan.

To my fellow editors Sam Bradd, Kelvy Bird, and Brandy Agerbeck: Thank you for creating a beautiful container that drew us together and kept us together to create together. We’ve worked across and through tremendous diversity in perspectives and approaches while supporting each other in life, and learning across difference with love. Thank you for sharing your gifts and holding space to discover the wisdom within and between us in this collaborative project.

To our early community of readers: I’m listening to your words of congratulations pour in from around the world and hear your excitement to read the book. Yes! Enjoy this first volume of voices from the field. Whether we know ourselves to be visual practitioners – or have yet to discover this in ourselves – we can all make marks that allow us to see and think through new lenses and find the common ground needed to solve the puzzles of our time.

Drawn together, we help people speak up and listen, think critically, find themes, chart relationships, reach understanding, and take action. May this book ignite deep learning conversations and inspire you – and those you touch – to shape our collective journey from here.

Jennifer Shepherd

Sneak peek: the table of contents

As the book is now in the final stages of copy editing, we thought we’d offer a sneak peek at the table of contents. The book covers a lot of ground! To give a flavor of what’s to come, we’ll be releasing a free sample chapter in the coming weeks.

  • Making Room for Making: In praise of imperfect drawings and the humans who make them, Brandy Agerbeck
  • Drawing-to-Learn: A general studies course for first-year college students, Dr. Laurence Musgrove
  • In Front of the Wall, Alfredo Carlo
  • Visual Improvisation: How improvising influences my sketchnoting, Eva-Lotta Lamm
  • Solo-Practitioner Partnerships, Lisa Arora and Robert Mittman
  • Sensemaking through Arts-Infused, Person-Centred Planning Processes, Aaron Johannes-Rosenberg
  • Dancineering, Researchals, Bodystorming, and Informances, Christopher Knowlton
  • Stories and Storytelling, Anthony Weeks
  • The Secret to Long-Term Impact in Your Engagements, Mary Alice Arthur
  • Using Perspectives to Build a Practice, Bryan Coffman
  • Cultivating Cultural Safety: The visual practitioner’s role in motivating positive action, Sam Bradd
  • The Use of Imagery in Conflict Engagement, Aftab Erfan, PhD
  • Steady, to Scale, Kelvy Bird
  • A Learning Journey: Connecting Self to Planet, Stina Brown
  • Sharing a Dia Experience, Claudia Madrazo
  • Embodied Mark-Making: The Big Brush Experience, Barbara Bash
  • Discovering Wisdom Within and Between: How Storyboards, Portraits, and Visual Explanations Can Help Us Learn to Solve the Puzzles of our Time, Jennifer Shepherd
  • Sensemaking, Potential Space, and Art Therapy with Organizations: Moving beyond language, Michelle Winkel, MA, ATR
  • Kinesthetic Modeling: Re-learning how to grope in the dark, John Ward
  • Becoming a Visual Change Practitioner, Nevada Lane
  • Four Mindsets of a Visual Ecology in the Workplace: Re-Visioning Language Through Visual Thinking, Misha Mercer
  • Rigorous Design of Visual Tools that Deepen Conversations and Spark New Insights, Christine Martell
  • Imagery That Travels Well: Making yourself understood across cultures with the help of visual language, Peter Stoyko
  • The Thermal Lift of Visualization: How the bikablo® approach empowers people in visual thinking, learning and co-creation, Martin Haussmann
  • Bridging on the Rise, Jayce Pei Yu Lee
  • When We Cannot See the Future, Where Do We Begin? Bob Stilger
  • Reflection and Visual Practice, Jennifer Shepherd and Sam Bradd