Updates from the Field

The past two weeks have been filled with graphic facilitation, studio work, and graphic recording across Colorado. I wanted to share a few of my favorite parts of this recent work with you all!

Graphic Facilitation for the newly formed Colorado Project Learning Tree Council. Check out that huge garage door window! Too bad it was below freezing over the two day retreat.


Graphic recording at a public outreach meeting in Custer County, Colorado, to help them capturing the complexity and make tangible their vision of the future!


Graphic recording for a client working on a collaborative around the Colorado River Basin in the western US.


I'm Up to Something.

I’m up to something. And I really can’t tell you about it yet, because it’s top secret. But I CAN tell you about it in August, and if you’re in Northern Colorado, I’ll be sharing some details later this summer.

And although I can’t say much this week, here are a few things my graphic recording clients are saying:

Your work brought an element of clarity and action that I haven’t seen with this group in 10 years.
— Michael Wade Smith, University of Kansas
We have the chart you made two years ago and we hang it up at every quarterly meeting to remind us of our goals and where we want to go!
— CSU College of Liberal Arts
Your work helped transform a group of people who did not know how to talk to each other, or even really hear each other, into a plan for collaborative action. Thank you so much!
— Kate Brown, Ph.D.
The day was a success and we have you to thank! Your work was all anybody talked about the entire 30-minute bus ride.
— JBA Communications
You aren’t just an artist, you are a designer of stories.
— Tonya Malik-Carson, Colorado State University

Want more secrets? Try this on business from the desert, these from visual thought leaders, and this one for creativity.

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 people to be saying these kinds of things at your next event or meeting?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Detroit: Last week I headed up north and was pleasantly surprised by my first trip to Detroit. Working with Together for Safer Roads for their annual meeting, I learned about the science and partnerships that save lives on the road.

Fort Collins: Celebrating achievements and looking to the future of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University.

Reflection & Vision - A Custom Tool to Help You Design Your Life

Hello and Happy Holidays friends!

I hope so far yours have been filled with laughter, light, and lots of merriment.

It’s wild to think that this will be the last email to you all in 2016. Last year at this time I wrote about the power of having a clear vision for the next year(s), and how I like to create a Vision Board each New Year. I’ll definitely be taking some time to be intentional, plan and set goals for 2017.

One thing we may not take enough time to do for ourselves is to look back and appreciate what we’ve accomplished. Making time to think about what I’ve done helps keep me energized. In the day-to-day, it’s easy to be caught up in what’s next, what didn’t get done, which graphic recording or video client I need to communicate with, what deadline is around the corner. It’s all important. And so is wrapping your head around what you’ve finished, nailed, achieved, sailed beyond, and rocked. Reflection can also be a time to learn from your year – things often go differently than we plan and sitting with and open mind and reflecting on what you’d do differently helps you improve and refine your work.

So go ahead, pour yourself some tea (or wine) and take some time to reflect on what you’re proud of in 2016, and visualize the year ahead. I’ve created this custom, printable template to help you get started, or feel free to create your own from scratch!

Right click then select download to save and print your own!

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 create a beautiful, visual plan of action for 2017 with your team? Click the button to find out how we can work together to create a vision and strategies that you'll actually want to look at every day.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

As you read this, I’ll be on the first leg of a two-week trip to Samburu, Kenya. This will be my fifth time taking students from Colorado State University to a rural community where we’ll be helping Unity Women’s Village with whatever small building project they need, teaching in schools, listening to students’ stories who are attending high school through scholarships, and discussing conservation with young girls in the community. Mostly though, we’ll be learning, building relationships, and thinking about some of the world’s most intense challenges: poverty, access to health care, women’s rights, access to clean water, culture and technology, equality…the list goes on. We will have irregular internet access so thanks in advance for your patience until January 13. To keep friends and families in the loop, the students be posting stories and photos to this blog most days. Happy New Year!

A Simple Way to Keep from FALL-ing Off the Crushing It Train

We’re entering the last few months of 2016, and I want to encourage you to take a step back from the day-to-day grind for a moment and think about the bigger picture you have for this year.

For those of you who have been with me since last December, this is the perfect time to revisit your Vision Board, or whatever form you might have articulated your goals for the year. If you haven’t written or drawn anything so far, take a few minutes to write down a few goals, ideas, or projects you’d like to mark “Nailed It” when 2017 rolls around.

Now ask yourself:
- What have you completed that deserves celebration?
- What’s still on there you haven’t finished, or maybe even forgot about?
- Are these things still relevant?

Take an honest look -- it’s cool, you still have ¼ of the year left! -- and decide which of these things are your top 3 priorities. Then, whip out that calendar. What do you need to do to achieve these goals? By when? I strongly suggest writing something down or making actionable goals to Get. It. Done.

This is what this looks like for me: I have my vision board posted on the wall at my desk where I see it every day. To take action, I like writing down a running list of my graphic recording & other projects and goals on a whiteboard, also next to my desk. Above that, each evening I write my top 3 priorities for the next day. This helps me keep things organized, and I get to cross things off a list when I complete them. Ahem, like so:

And now, some autumn leaves to inspire seasonal doodles. For fun try using little leaves instead of normal bullet points.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my email newsletter, and I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends using those handy links below!

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 help your team define shared goals...then actually move forward together? 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?

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is getting their story on. Here's one of many charts from the four day workshop at the end of September. 

ConverSketch Challenge: What's Your Vision for Success in 2016?

Hello ConverSketchers!
This is my last email to you beautiful people…for 2015. This year has been beyond what I imagined and I want to take a moment to appreciate each of you for your support, for pushing your drawing comfort zone and giving one of these doodles a try, and for your big hearts and kind words. ConverSketch would not be what it is without this amazing community and the work you’re each doing to make the world a better place. Cheers to you!

2015 has been a big year for ConverSketch for a number of reasons...
- It's my first full calendar year being 100% self-employed as a graphic recorder
- I got to graphic record en espanol for the first time in Mexico
- 2015 has been the most abundant year yet for ConverSketch financially...
- ...And partially because of that, Spencer and I were able to buy a house with a sweet office space!
- And, quite importantly, ConverSketch now has a full-time Muse (read: fuzzy, pencil-chewing, typ99999999999999e enhancing snuggle buddy).
One of the ways I love to ring in a new year is a family tradition we always did as far back as I can remember: Creating a Vision Board for the coming year. 

In my experience, things that I focus my energy on tend to be drawn to me. So why not DRAW what you want?! As 2016 approaches, I challenge you to take a few minutes or a few hours by yourself or with loved ones, to think about what you want to create for yourself in 2016, and make a Vision Board.
Here are some tips to get you started:

You may be thinking "Karina, I can barely draw those little squiggle people". My family always used what I fondly call mixed media -- magazine photos, drawings and labels, text hand written or snipped from an old magazine...Anything you can find. So use whatever media is most appealing to you...maybe it will even get 3D!

"How big should I make it?" We used all sorts of sizes, it doesn't really matter as long as you can see and read your ideas when you look back on them throughout the year. Anything from a notebook sheet of paper to a 2x3 foot piece of poster board works!
"What should I do with it afterwards?" I always enjoy hanging it in a place I get to see regularly so I can be reminded of my goals, a trip to a beautiful place I want to take, or feel relaxed by nice words or pictures I've put on it. Again, for me having a gentle reminder to focus my thoughts and energy on positive goals is fun and helpful.
"Vision Board, huh? Seems a little woo woo." If a Vision Board isn't your thing, that's cool. If you enjoy setting New Years Resolutions or Goals, try writing them on a nice piece of paper and give them a couple doodles to spice it up and make you smile. Hang it some place visible as a reminder to stick to your goals throughout the year.
***One of the most integral parts of a Vision Board for me is having fun and not being hung up on exactly how things will work out. I use it as a time to focus my goals and energy, then trust that it will unfold exactly how it's supposed to.***

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

Do you have a New Year's tradition to visualize the next revolution around the sun? Have you had an idea from a New Year's goal or vision manifest itself unexpectedly? Share it with us in the comments below! I'll be posting my Vision Board in the next email and would love to see yours too.

UPDATE: Here's my 2016 Personal Vision Board! It's about 9x12 inches and I hung it on the wall by my desk where I can see it every day. 

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 someone who might enjoy this 2016 Vision Board Challenge!

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.
May your Holidays be filled with love, laughter, joy, warmth and blessings.

From my heart to yours, Karina

If you've put something along the lines of "My team is productive, collaborative, and completely out of this world awesome in 2016" on your Vision Board, click that big ol' button below to chat with me about how I can help make it a reality! 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

I've been busy working on a few projects in Fort Collins, and you have been busy too! You're Doodling All-Stars! Here are a few awesome drawings I've gotten from readers and ConverSketchers over the past few weeks. Have a doodle you'd like to share? Send it my way and I'll show it off in the email!

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!