drawing to communicate

What They Don't Tell You About Storytelling

Storytelling is a deemed an “irresistible” and powerful tool for strategic thinking and marketing in business these days.

Good stories need to keep our attention -- which is a rarity in a time of sensory overload and instant gratification – by creating some sort of tension that ensnares the emotions and intrigues the audience. Good marketing uses the power of story to go beyond what a company does or makes to share a deeper understanding of the companies’ Why.

But just because we’re telling a story, does that mean the strategy is working?

Over the past year, I’ve been drawn to the concept of storylistening, which embodies what graphic recording is all about.

Taking a moment to reflect, “storytelling” assumes that if we speak a story, people will listen to it. But people are busy, they’re not going to listen to you unless they have a reason.

During strategic planning or visioning, successful processes allow space for leaders to listen to the past, connect it with the present, and create space for people to see the future. Using graphic recording supports the group to tell a story that helps everyone see the Vision, to own it, live it and make it happen.

A good storyteller tells a tale with the audience, reacting and shifting the story as needed. Listening, visually capturing, synthesizing and adjusting with the group is one of my favorite parts of graphic facilitation. Sometimes it looks messy, but if it helps the group tell and listen to their collaborative story, then we’ve done good work together.

How can you give people a reason to listen to your story?


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

Want to get everyone at your company telling the same story? Already have a story, but want to spice it up and share it with the world?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The American Society of Safety Engineers

I just want to say you are awesome and you take our brand to the next level! We love you!!        - Alex Scovil, Gates Corporation

I just want to say you are awesome and you take our brand to the next level! We love you!!        - Alex Scovil, Gates Corporation

Fort Laramie Illustrated Video

The first Drawing Connections to Climate Change video is now out! Find out how a National Historic Monument in Wyoming is feeling the impact of a changing climate, and share your ideas to create a different future! CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

Here's Why I've Been So Quiet Lately

With a warm heart…hello!

July and August have been packed with adventures spanning opposite ends of the spectrum… Starting and ending with two incredibly detailed explainer videos to be prepped and filmed in half the time it normally takes. I’m super stoked to share these videos because I experimented with new techniques and styles. They are scheduled to come out early in September, and you all will be the first to know when they are fresh and viewable!

In the midst of the video-making came a trip to attend the annual IFVP conference (aka the gathering of My People).  In my next newsletter I’ll be sharing my top insights from the meeting of the thought leaders and innovators I was lucky enough to draw, learn, and laugh with for three days.

After returning with a full mind and heart and nailing the second explainer video, gears shifted entirely when we packed up and trucked off to Idaho to raft the Middle-Main Salmon River for 11 days. Yep, that meant no cell service. No internet. We didn’t even have a satellite phone. Just the music of the river, the canyon wrens, our friends’ guitar and fiddle, someone calling “fish on!” and a few hot springs bubbling up along the way. Seriously.

It always amazes me how easy it is to fall back into the rhythms of our most basic needs: food, shelter, staying safe. And, more deeply, the need to connect genuinely with the earth, with ourselves, and with those around us. While it may feel counterintuitive or stressful to completely unplug, especially as a business owner, each of us that DO can immediately feel the power of giving ourselves this time to be present, disconnect and make room for some white space. That time to let ideas mull in the background and bubble up to the top of your very own mental hot spring can give rise to some of our most important and powerful ideas.

I always bring my paints on river trips and this time I was more intentional about making time to draw. Trust me, between rowing, unpacking the boat and happy hour, it takes discipline to get the paints out! Here are a couple of my favorite plein air sketches for you to get a sneak peek this week before I go posting them on Instagram. If you haven’t already, follow me there @ConverSketch for more behind-the-scenes graphic recording and watercolor shenanigans.

Adieu for now. It’s good to be back.

Click on the images below to see the larger versions on the blog.

I'm on a boat! Here I am in my plein air river studio -- the 12 foot raft I got to row down the Middle-Main Salmon. Lots of gratitude to my amazing husband for outfitting me with the sexy boat + setup for this trip!

A post-trip shot of a two page spread of our camp where Indian Creek (on the right) joins the Middle Fork of the Salmon (on the left).

If you liked this, 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

Need someone to be the balance between focused and creative for your next event? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic facilitation magic.

When Can Being Intoxicated Be A Good Thing?

ConverSketch is intoxicated this week. No, last night wasn’t crazy, and , despite working from home, I haven’t started drinking early in the day (that's a joke, people!). I’m talking about a different kind of intoxication, and one that is a lot more productive.

This little post for you is inspired by the following piece by Hugh McLeod of GapingVoid Art.

As Hugh so eloquently puts it: You can be intoxicated by a lot of things. We like possibility.

This concept is nothing new, it’s the foundation of so many successful businesses. But somehow, this unorthodox way of stating a concept that these days often feels brittle and overused keeps me coming back to it. Thinking of possibility as intoxicating, as full of energy, new ideas and connections instead of overwhelming, unclear or unknown. And if you tend to get anxious and overwhelmed, you might enjoy this post on how drawing can help you move through overwhelm.

It's a craft to learn to tap into what you feel the moment you realize there’s a lot more to something than you originally thought. Which electrifies you. Suddenly hours have gone by, and there’s still more energy bubbling up from inside you.

There's a few things that have me intoxicated this week...
- Putting together and beta testing a new offering from ConverSketch to utilize my strengths connecting with and encouraging individuals to cultivate Aha Moments with folks one-on-one.
- Delivering prints of my watercolor paintings to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and Wolverine Farm Publick House to sell. (Note: The positive feedback I’ve gotten from you all with my painting really blows my mind. Thank you for giving me a resounding high five to continue pursuing and refining my fine art skills!)
- Seeing little vegetable sprouts emerging from tiny little seeds (how miraculous is that!?)

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

What possibilities are intoxicating you right now? Take a moment over a glass of wine or beer and doodle out some possibilities that are as enticing as a nice cool beverage on a warm summer evening.

What might be keeping you from taking a nice, big swig from that cup o’ possibility? What steps can you take THIS WEEK to move toward making it a reality?

Comment 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

What possibilities are you exploring with your organization or individually? Click that button to chat with me about how I can help you make it more effective, productive and fun with graphic recording.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Here's a snapshot from a graphic recording at a workshop with CSU's One Health Institute as the team worked with the talented folks at New City to develop a rockin' communication strategy moving forward. People, Animals, Planet. Heck yeah. 

What Can Jack-O-Lanterns Teach Us About Business?

Happy Wednesday!

Carved pumpkins are emerging and I've appreciated several characteristics they share with a genuine and successful business and life. 

Each jack-o-lantern is unique, unapologetic about imperfections (really, they totally own them) and they proudly shine their unique lights out for the world. If it's blowing rain sideways or still and quiet night, jack-o-lanterns shine on. 

My most meaningful days, whether they are focused on running my business as a graphic facilitator or living life, are when I'm tuned into what makes me unique and I share that with those around me. So today I encourage you to be generous with your Light, shine it brightly and joyously, even if the wind picks up or snow starts to fall. Because you're the only one who can shine your Light the way you do. 

Here’s this week's drawing tip:

Love the imperfections. If you're drawing and a line isn't as straight or round as you'd like, embrace it anyway. See how that "imperfection" actually makes your drawing even more interesting or calls attention to your unique style. Be like that Jack-O-Lantern and just "glow" with the flow!

As a graphic recorder sometimes things go, shall I say, different than I had hoped or expected, so I try to look at it from a new perspective and make it part of that unique graphic facilitation!
(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version)

Comment and upload your Sketch below to share your unique style and inspire someone else!  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 friends who have a unique, bright Light to shine out to the world!

Thanks for reading and doodling this week. Keep drawing, and shining your authentic Light out to the world!

Cheers, Karina

Having trouble finding a match to ignite your individual or business's unique Light? Get in touch with me to set up a one-on-one or small group visual mapping session to see how to illuminate your uniqueness to make an impact!

Where In The World Is ConverSketch?

The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is a gem in our town, and I'm stoked to have filmed a new explainer video for their Annual Report this year! Here's a teaser -- look for the finished short in early November!