artist

How do You Paint what Makes A Community Unique?

You’ve probably seen some cryptic emails from me over the past few weeks about a surprise project I was working on. I’m delighted now to share it with you all, along with a special behind-the-scenes look at what went into the design.

On August 2nd, to the sweet sounds of the Hazel Miller Band, the 100th Piano About Town was officially unveiled as a part of our community! And yep, you guessed it, I was the lucky artist to get to paint it!

100th-piano-fort-collins

The typical piano process includes a request for proposals from artists sketched out, which are then reviewed and selected for painting outside where passers by can watch the piano unfolding and sometimes even play while it’s being painted.

For the 100th Piano, the Bohemian Foundation wanted to do something a little different and include voices across the community. Enter: a graphic facilitator to conduct and capture focus groups to gather ideas for the piano content.

I listened to people answering the question “What makes Fort Collins unique?”: from seniors to second graders at summer camp to young professionals to those who represent diverse groups at university to musicians. I listened, captured, asked questions, and scribed each group’s conversations.

100th Piano Fort Collins BaseCamp Kids Graphic Facilitation Chart

Then, I took all the charts and began looking for themes. What places did each group bring up? What characteristics make our community special? Then, I sketched out a concept design to gather feedback and refine before painting the piano itself.

This was, to me, the most challenging part of the whole process. How do you distill over five hours of stories, memories, and connections into a single illustration? That’s where the scribe training of listening for themes, distillation and synthesis really shone in this process. It was important to me to make sure all the ideas were included, that key words emerged throughout the imagery, and most of all, that when anyone from the community looks at the piano, they see themselves somewhere in it.

100th piano draft sketch_conversketch

The painting took place inside so it would be a fun, beautiful surprise when it was unveiled at a free concert series last week. Over 12 days, the landscape, people, and stories emerged!

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karina-branson-100th-piano-fort-collins-painting-artist

Want to tickle the ivories and see it for yourself? The 100th Piano will be in Old Town Square for a couple more weeks, then will live in the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery for the winter.

100th-piano-old-town-square-fort-collins-colorado

For more musings on pianos and creativity, check out this post.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 

On My Way to New York, New York!  This week is the first of three meetings between multiple academic groups and the Mayor of NYC to create models and plans for storm water management and sea level rise in the City of New York. Stay tuned, or check out my  Instagram  profile and story for real-time videos and pictures.

On My Way to New York, New York! This week is the first of three meetings between multiple academic groups and the Mayor of NYC to create models and plans for storm water management and sea level rise in the City of New York. Stay tuned, or check out my Instagram profile and story for real-time videos and pictures.

In the Studio:   Working on the third Wildfire Risk Management Science Team illustrated video. This third video focuses on challenges of fires that cross management boundaries, and mapping tools the Team uses to make recommendations for safer and more effective fire management.

In the Studio: Working on the third Wildfire Risk Management Science Team illustrated video. This third video focuses on challenges of fires that cross management boundaries, and mapping tools the Team uses to make recommendations for safer and more effective fire management.

Happy Summer from ConverSketch

While I’ve touted the power of consistency in previous posts, the fact of the matter is…it’s summer. Between graphic recording jobs, we took a week and explored San Francisco and the Northern California coast on the way to a stunning wedding of dear friends on the Smith River.

Directors Retreat_Impact the Field.jpg

And, as I mentioned in my last dispatch, this summer I've had the honor of working on a surprise project which will be unveiled on Thursday, August 2nd in Old Town Square, Fort Collins at 7 pm. The Hazel Miller Band will be playing a Thursday Night Live concert in the Square, so if you're in NoCo, come on down, listen to some great music, and check out what I've been up to!

conversketch-palette

That big ol’ surprise project isn’t quite done, so…that’s my cue to leave you with this short, sweet update email. Now go enjoy some summer time!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

redwoods

My Top 3 Tips to Rock Your Work Day in 2016

Hey there!
 
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling rejuvenated and energized for 2016. Yes, it seems like everyone is posting online about how kickass 2016 is going to be, how excited they are and what big plans they have in store for us.

You may be thinking along the lines of "Yes! I've been planning and 2016 is going to be spectacular for me too!" Or, you might find yourself wondering "How is everybody so brilliant and productive around the holidays? What will 2016 hold for me?"

If you feel like you're asking those questions, here's a post I wrote about the benefits and tips for creating a Vision Board. (Pssst! Just because it's not January 1 doesn't mean it's too late!)

To be honest, toward the end of 2015 I had a difficult time staying motivated and focusing on important work from day to day. The beginning of a new year is an intuitive time to look back on the year, learn, visualize and plan for success, so I decided to take a hard look at what I was doing (or not doing) and how to shift my daily practices to better reflect the love I have for my work. 

So here for you, lovely readers/doodlers, are the fruits of my self-reflection and observation: The 3 top tips that have helped me refocus and rock the first couple of weeks in 2016.

3) Your Daily Top 3. Each evening, I take a few minutes to write down my top 3 projects or to-do's for the next day somewhere I can see it clearly. This tip is from Marie Forleo (if you haven't checked out her weekly business Q&A videos I recommend it). Taking time at the end of the day to prioritize and organize helps me jump right in instead of flopping around the next morning trying to decide what to do when. I've tried this in my phone, on my computer, and on a note-pad on my desk, but for me, I've found that writing it on the corner of my Ridiculously Enormous Graphic Recorder-Sized Whiteboard is most helpful because I can see them all day and cross them the heck off when I get them done! It's the little things, right?

2) 15 Minute Bites. Sometimes the hardest part of a project is starting it, and Ariana Friedlander of Rosabella Consulting shared this tip with me to overcome that barrier. I like to set a timer for 15 minutes and tell myself to just focus on the task at hand for that long. It's such a short chunk of time I can ward off the typical procrastination techniques...I can wait 15 minutes to get a snack, or check my email after I've done 15 minutes of work on a project...hold on, my timer just went off...

And my #1 Tip for staying focused and rocking on the daily is...

1) Start Analog. For me, this means not turning my computer on first thing, but sitting down with a pencil or paintbrush and doing some sketches or painting (for at least 15 minutes!). I find that once I get going, even if it's just for a short time, my momentum from that carries me deeper into the art or inspires me to move on to the next thing on my list. That feeling of having completed something, even if it's just a small sketch, is incredibly powerful in setting a productive tone for the day instead of getting sucked into the wormhole that email can become. 


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

There you have it! I hope these tips help you kick some ass and inspire those around you to crush their days too. With your powers combined, anything is possible! 

Do you have any tips or tricks to share that help you rock and roll on the daily? Share in the comments below so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

 
Cheers, Karina










Now that you're crushing your work day, click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at my set-up for filming explainer videos. This one is for Creek Consulting describing deliberative facilitation and how it can help your organization. Check my YouTube channel later this month for the finished video!