Spotlight on the gifted + bubbly Heather Leavitt Martinez

Spotlight on the gifted + bubbly Heather Leavitt Martinez

with Heather Leavitt Martinez

Hear about Heather’s background as a printmaker and fine artist, how that lead to a desire to develop a ‘visual vocabulary’ that served others in their work and the power that comes from co-creating visuals with the group she works with.

Heather has great insights into how to stand out and brand yourself as a visual practitioner, how a key question at a meetup group spurred her pursuit of mastery in lettering and the key things to focus on to deliver great results for your clients.

To check out Heather’s website – click here.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this Spotlight Session.

If you enjoyed hearing about this visual work, make sure you have a copy of my 12 Great Icons book to BOOST YOUR VISUAL THINKING… (Click on the image below)…

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other articles that may interest you…

Spotlight interview with the talented Sam Bradd

What’s in a Graphic Recorder’s Tool Bag?

How to draw – a simple map of Australia + globe

 

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Spotlight on the talented Sam Bradd

Spotlight on the talented Sam Bradd

spotlight_icon_SamBradd copy

with Sam Bradd

Hear about Sam’s background in education and working in not-for-profit organisations, how drawing was originally a ‘side project’ until he found himself working ‘unexpectedly’ as a graphic facilitator (recorder). Sam has great insights into how to stay centered and present in our role when we are supporting groups doing difficult work.

To check out Sam’s website – click here and to have a look at Sam’s graphic work like the ones below – click here.

SamBradd_graphicSamBradd_graphic_001

In Sam’s interview, he mentioned several people who have inspired him with their work and resources that he has found useful. Here’s the people and links to their websites and also a link to the IFVP 2016 Conference in Washington DC, USA.

 brandy GraphicDesign_guildbook MichelleWinkle

Brandy Agerbeck

The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide

Graphic Design
Guild Handbook

Michelle Winkel,
Maxine Borowsky Junge

Graphic Facilitation &
Art Therapy

visual sensemaking Leading-as-sacred-practice_ed IVFP

Visual Sensemaking

collaborative project

Leading as
Sacred Practice

Gisela Wendling, David Sibbet,

Alan Briskin and Holger Scholz

Learn. Grow. Connect. Inspire.

IFVP Conference 2016, Washington DC.

 

I hope you enjoyed this Spotlight Session.

If you enjoyed hearing about Sam’s graphic recording work, here are some other articles that may interest you…

Spotlight interview with the wonderful Lynne Cazaly

What’s in a Graphic Recorder’s Tool Bag?

When nostalgia looks soooo goood

How to draw – a simple map of Australia + globe

 

6 Massive Myths about Creativity you need to jettison from your belief system, now

6 Massive Myths about Creativity you need to jettison from your belief system, now

*****Ready to skip the small talk?

Yep, me too!

After several years of running visual thinking courses, I’m really certain that the folk I’ve met through these training sessions could now be taken as a ‘sample’. I’m no genius, but I’ve noticed a TREND!

There is a dead-set, fixed belief amongst really competent, inspiring professional types that they aren’t creative.

They often even apologise in advance for ‘not being able draw’ or ‘not having a creative bone’ as they meet me. I thought I understood – they set the expectations low and see what emerges.

But, NO! I have to admit now, people really walk around thinking they haven’t any creative talent.

So, if this is you, please, PLEASE, read on…

Here’s six massive myths about creativity you need to jettison from your belief system, now. The world needs you at your most creative, awesome, inspired and capable!

rocket + anvilsWhy?

Because they just aren’t true…

Not convinced? Ok, see which of these beliefs you would raise your hand to…

1. Being creative means being like Monet or Picasso or one of those other famous artists and I’m not that –

So, do you think, like so many of us, that creativity applies only to artists? That is, people who paint or draw or play a musical instrument? It doesn’t apply to ‘regular’ people like you?

Reality is, we have far too narrow a definition of WHO is creative and what IS creativity. The terms are often used interchangeably with artist and artwork.

But is that useful? Err, no, not in my experience.

Because creative ability is in ALL of us. Yes, let me say that again – You ARE creative.

You are equipped with an amazing series of neural centres – that organise all our thoughts, decisions and plans, see patterns, make connections and imagine new possibilities.

Creative thinking is about allowing ourselves to generate ideas – sometimes wildly obtuse and divergent from the original point – make associations and blend information from different sources and contexts.

Human beings are unique in lots of ways, and human beings are especially smart in lots of ways. We are capable of acquiring and retaining immense amounts of information over the life-time of an individual; we are capable of learning and fine-tuning a great many skills and new activities; and we are capable of using and interpreting speech. But one of the most striking species-specific features of Homo sapiens sapiens, surely, is the degree of creativity and innovation which we display in our thought and behavior, both within the lives of individuals and across different human cultures. This manifests itself in story-telling, in art, in the construction of bodily ornaments and decorations, in humor, in religion-building, in theory-construction, in problem-solving, in technological innovation, and in myriad other ways. – Peter Carruthers, The evolution of creativity, 2002

2. Creative people are born that way and I wasn’t –

Many of us think that creativity is part of our family DNA lottery.

You believe you don’t have the creative gene, and so that’s not going to change.

Well, GREAT NEWS, creativity can be learned like other skills.

There are robust techniques that have been shown to improve our creative thinking abilities.

‘Openness to experience’* has been found to be a precursor to creative thinking and is a skill that can be improved if you set an intention to do so.

Habits such as learning a new language, trying different foods, reading a different genre of novel, meeting people, travelling and experiencing new landscapes and cultures can contribute to this ‘openness to experience’ and profoundly affect your neurology.

The key is to shake up your routine, expose yourself to different and new experiences and unfamiliar ways of thinking.

[*This skill is one of the widely recognized “Big Five Personality Traits,” a concept theorized by Paul T. Costa, Jr., and Robert R McCrae in The Revised NEO Personality Inventory.]

3. Creative brilliance happens in a ‘blinding flash of inspiration genius-ness’ and is instantly recognisable –

Do you believe that there is no rhyme or reason to the arrival of a creative breakthrough?

That the process is unpredictable and mysterious?

And, therefore, impossible to orchestrate and reproduce?

We all think everyone else’s great work was 1) great the moment it emerged, sans edits, AND 2) was instantly recognisable by everyone else that it was, in fact, amazing work.

The fact is creative work is often a long process.

Ideas sit inside people’s heads, sometimes for years, often half formed until something else happens (see Steven Johnson’s Where good ideas come from). Another person inspires, a life event comes to pass, a new perspective is glimpsed and the creative endeavour takes on a renewed path.

I point to the experience of acclaimed author, JK Rowling. She submitted her manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel to 12 publishing houses before one agreed to take it on. At that time she was advised by the editor to ‘get a day job, as there just isn’t any money in children’s books’. In hindsight we see how far this statement was from the mark. So genius isn’t always instantly recognisable.

4. I can’t be creative, I don’t have the right qualification / skills / experience –

Whitney Freya, author, speaker, artist and founder of the Creatively Fit Program opened her art studio and began holding art classes with no formal training in fine arts. She maintains that this has been a huge bonus in that people who came to her classes felt they could have a go. A lack of training was not an obstacle and Whitney was proof for them of that fact. Whitney’s lack of training gave those who came to her classes inspiration.

What if you don’t NEED qualifications? What if they got in the way? What if you gave yourself permission to jump in and try it for yourself without judgement or criticism? See how certain practices or material FEEL when you use them!degree

We are so heavily influenced by the need for qualifications – sanctioned bits of paper – that we are frozen and unable to pick up the tools and use them. Sometimes, I think we believe that without the right qualifications we don’t have the ‘authority’ to have an opinion, let alone express it in public.

Hidden behind the long skirt of the ‘not the right qualifications’, is the fear issue of being seen by others to perform badly. In the learning process, we often don’t hit the mark of the standards we hold for ourselves in our other aspects of our personal or professional lives. But we forget that in those areas where we are already competent, we have been building those skills for years, sometimes a decade or more.

The last thing our fragile egos can bear is looking like a complete ‘numpty’. Oh, eh gads, unforgivable.

If you can recognise where your fear of looking foolish is blocking your creative endeavours, you are half way there! Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself!

5. If I try to be creative, I will quickly run out of ideas –

I personally stand up and wave my arms about for this one.

In 2005, I returned as a ‘mature age’ student to study fine art at university (for the sheer, unadulterated pleasure of it). I secretly feared I would find this was true for me. I might have one good idea, but no possibility of more… Really.

But to my unending surprise and delight, my experience was in fact the COMPLETE OPPOSITE.tmp3C14-large

Being at art college seemed to release a flood of creative ideas. In my second year, I attended an illuminating talk by Tracey Moffat, an acclaimed Australian artist who works in photography and video. She talked about her life and experiences as an artist. She said that she suffered – not from too few – but being ‘plagued’ by TOO MANY ideas. Constantly inundated by creative concepts and project ideas, there were too many to ever work on them all. Her approach was to wait until a creative idea to dogged her for years before she would give it any attention.

Interesting!

Make the creative concept sing for its supper!

6. I’m too old to learn anything new –

One of my favourite artists, Rosalie Gascoigne, a New Zealand-Australian sculptor, who is famed for her assemblages and collages had her first serious exhbition in Paddington, Sydney, in 1974, aged 57. Instant success followed and a mere four years later she had become a major figure in the Australian art world, with a survey at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Many people find they have so much more life experience to draw on and so being ‘too old’ is not relevant.

I would argue it gives you so much more material to work with!

Recent studies in neural plasticity have shown that we do in fact have the capacity to learn all sorts of new skills and abilities into our more ‘mature’ years! Our brains are amazing. We should take them out for an adventure more often!

So, how to expose yourself to new and different experiences?

I have EXCITING news to share about a *side project* I’ve been working on! (have always wanted to have the rockstar claim to a ‘side project’)

The Life is Your Canvas on-line workshop is open for registration. If you haven’t already jumped on and reserved your spot, click here

I am hosting and leading training sessions, along with five fabulous people – Whitney Freya, Cheryl Cruttenden, Tania Bosak, Christian Herron and Tim Hamons – who I GUARANTEE will stimulate different parts of your brain, expose you to new experiences and ways of thinking.

Life Is Your Canvas bannerSo here is that link again.

If you liked this article, these may also be of interest…

6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Kick-start Your Visual Thinking

5 Critical Beliefs to boost your Creative Thinking

I LOVE Venn diagrams

4 Killer Titles for Your Visual Resources Library

 

 

 

A Snazzy Worksheet for Your Goal Setting (no, it’s not too late)

A Snazzy Worksheet for Your Goal Setting (no, it’s not too late)

A worksheet to help you get clear about your goals and steps to get there.
A worksheet to help you get clear about your goals and steps to get there.

It’s not too late to set your goals!

I love to start a new year doing a reflection session on the year that’s passed and then deciding the focus of my coming year.

But if life was too hectic and you didn’t get to it this year, do not despair!

My worksheet is here to help!  Download, print out and share this with your friends and family.

Kick off May 2014 with a shazzam.

Gear freak – chart markers & great titles for your library

Gear freak – chart markers & great titles for your library

Neulands No. 1 Markers – beautiful range of 25 colours & they are refillable!

I’m often asked at my training days about my tools and my reference library. They are important parts of the whole graphics practice. I say that, having had some not-so-good experiences with markers that die on the first chart in the first session of an all-day event. So, if you are starting out or just curious about what others do in their practice, here’s my ideas…

Chart markers: A graphic facilitator’s and graphic recorder’s main tool for ‘working at the wall’. I love Neulands No. 1 Markers for all round chart work. I also have a range of their Big Ones which are large and fabulous for headings and big comment boards. They are refillable and have replaceable nibs, so I recommend these also. Their extended life means greater reliability and less hassle for you. But for the absolute mainstay of your kit – THE BLACK MARKER, I love Charters markers (available from The Grove International). Their black is rich and in my mind, the best on the market.

Great titles: There are so many categories that interest me, and I don’t want to overdo the list… So I’ve reduced it to six titles in two categories. They are… (this is just like the Golden Globes!)…

Visual language books – filled with pictures, images and concept icons – my favourite three are:

Visual Thinking by Nancy Margulies & Christine Valenza
  1. Visual Thinking: Tools for Mapping your Ideas by Nancy Margulies & ChristineValenza
  2. Bikablo: Facilitators dictionary of visual language available through Neulands (and Bikablo 2.0: New Visuals for Meeting, Training & Learning). I know that’s technically two, but heck!
  3. Pocket pics: Difficult Concepts available through The Grove International

Visual practitioner how-to books – filled with ideas of how to run and get the best possible outcomes from meetings and events using your visual thinking techniques – my three favourite are:

Fellow Aussie, Amantha Imber’s Creativity Formula
  1. Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes & Idea Mapping can Transform Group Productivity by David Sibbet
  2. The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide: How to use your listening, thinking & drawing skills to make meaning by Brandy Agerbeck
  3. The Creativity Formula: 50 Scientifically Proven Creativity Boosters for Work and for Life by Dr Amantha Imber

I use the above six titles regularly – dipping in when I need to check an image or source an idea from the plethora these talented people have collated from their experience. I think all six are a great addition to any practising Graphic Facilitator or Recorder’s professional kit.

Happy gear freaking*!

 

 

* term used by uni friends when we were into all things outdoors and we would spend any spare moment at our favourite store seeing what great new stuff – like freeze-dried vegemite – was available for our through-walks!

 

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