City of Fort Collins

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Remember...

Hello folks! 

This time of year many  of us are focused on the upcoming holiday season, whether we like it or not (Black Friday anyone? Here's what Spencer and I were up to.). This time of year is also a  wonderful opportunity to remember what's most important in life. For me, that's doing things I love (hooray visual facilitation!) and spending time with important people in my life to show them I love them. 

But let's also be honest: I really enjoy giving and receiving gifts too, despite my desire to avoid obsessing over material objects. It's really fun to see someone's face light up with surprise, or to unwrap a gift from someone special. 

So I'm not going to get preachy about shopping, instead I'm going to share an idea inspired by our peachy new kitten, Moxie. (Note: I, Karina Carty Mullen Branson, hereby swear not to make every newsletter about the cat. Maybe just a few of them.)

Moxie loves to play. She'll play with just about anything, and although there are feather toys and catnip mice to frolic after, Moxie enjoys chasing a ball made of crumpled foil or exploring a paper bag just as much. 

I'm sure you can see what I'm getting at with that little snippet -- fancy things do not always equal happiness. So during this Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I encourage you to think about what is really important for you, and set time aside for it. Maybe it's a simple hand-made card for someone special, or a voucher for a picnic with your sweetie, or a few photographs printed for your friends to put on the fridge. And, maybe get them that special something they've been hoping for all year too. Figure out how you want to show your appreciation, then go for it! 

Now, here's my take on doodling some presents...because even if it's a voucher for time together, there's nothing quite like opening a package just for you:

(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version below)

What goes well with giving quality time? Appreciation!  Click here for a post I wrote on the attitude of gratitude at home and in work. They're even better together than wine an chocolate...although appreciating those things with a friend really creates a win-win here.

Now I want to hear from you!

What's the best non-material gift you've ever given or received? What inspired you about it?

Come on over to the blog and upload your story and Sketch in the comments section to share your unique style and inspire the community! And of course, any questions, epiphanies, and requests for future ConverSKETCHes!

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, share this with people you know who give great gifts!

Thanks for tuning in! Keep drawing and making your beautiful, authentic mark on this world!

Cheers, Karina

Want make the most of your time with your team?  Get in touch with me to talk about how graphic facilitation boost productivity, understanding and action after an event.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The newest ConverSketch video is out now! The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is not an ordinary place, and so, of course its' Annual Report should be anything but ordinary as well! In this short hand-drawn video, find out what the Museum offers, how it's growing, and who helps support this incredible community resource. Head over to the Explainer Video page to see the full thing!

The Attitude of Gratitude

Good morning!

It's almost Thanksgiving, a time in the US where family, friends, and sharing time together are front-of-mind for many people. We appreciate what we have around us and take a moment to fill our hearts with gratitude (and our bellies with home-cooked meals).

I have a lot to be thankful for. And it's no secret, but I've found this to be true on so many occasions I cannot toss it up to chance: The more I appreciate the things around me, even the tiny things like finding a penny on the street, the more I find to appreciate, the more good things seem to come my way. (Side note: every time I see a coin on the street I pick it up and give a little thanks for the abundance in my life.)

So this week I encourage you to take a moment to be grateful for something, even small things, throughout your day. Find a trigger and think of something that makes you feel appreciation -- maybe it's when you look at your phone, or get up to get a drink of water. Just take a quick moment to give thanks for something or someone in your life. Heck, if you notice it makes you feel good or you're attracting more people or things you enjoy, keep it up through the new year and beyond!

This week I'm sharing some tips as a visual facilitator on drawing a little turkey, starting with some simple shapes. Add as much detail as you like! And if all else fails, you can be grateful you're not a turkey.

(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version on the blog)

Now I want to hear from you!

Have you noticed a shift in energy if you have an attitude of gratitude? Do you have any tips on shifting from a funk to focusing on appreciation?

Upload your Sketch in the comments section below to share your unique style and inspire the community! And of course, any questions, epiphanies, and requests for future ConverSKETCHes!

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, share this with people you're grateful for -- you never know how a kind word might affect someone's day.

Thanks for tuning in! Keep drawing and making your beautiful, authentic mark on this world!

Cheers, Karina

Grateful for your team and want to make your next meeting incredible? Get in touch with me to talk about your vision and how graphic recording can help people see how they depend on each other to get work done, and then let them know how much you appreciate them!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Ever wonder what it looks like to see a graphic recorder in action? Here I am capturing key ideas from a group of more than 80 citizens talking about important issues about Downtown Fort Collins. The event was facilitated by CSU students trained by the incredible Center for Public Deliberation.

And we're getting a new kitten! Here she is in all her tiny glory!

Spring - Nature's way of saying "Let's party!"

I love this quote from Mr. Robin Williams, it just encapsulates the energy of spring and the music of the earth waking up after winter. 

This spring has been particularly full of energy and life for ConverSketch...meaning the blog updates have been thin but I've been on the ground (or the paper, if you will) with several big projects. Here's a snapshot of what I've been up to!

Visual facilitation for the Colorado State University Dryland Collaborative Knowledge and Learning Network:

Partners from Kenya, Mongolia and the Western US visualize their successful collaborative.

Illustrating the City of Fort Collins' Journey to World Class video:

Coming soon to the Internet near you!

Graphic recording the Colorado State University Agricultural Innovation Summit

A lively and challenging discussion on water and agriculture in the West.

Months of planning and research went into the two-day visual facilitation for the Colorado State Forest Service Strategic Planning meeting. All the charts I created are proprietary, but here's a nice shot of the Nokhu Crags, an area managed by CSFS and near and dear to my heart:

Photo: Aaron LaVanchy. Rippin' snowboarder: Spencer Branson

Graphic recording for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Native National Partnership meeting:

A synthesis graphic done during the two day retreat.

Graphic recording the University of Colorado Denver's Food Justice Symposium:


There's plenty of other exciting projects in the works, including the launch of a quiet and helpful email sent to you regularly (but not too regularly) for drawing tricks, inspiration and updates from me! Stay tuned!