watercolor

My Biggest Takeaway from a Workshop in Visual Practice Might Surprise You. It Sure Surprised Me.

As a visual practitioner, I attend a LOT of meetings and workshops. Last week I flipped from business-as-usual (I mean, as usual as it can be for a visual practitioner) to step into a workshop as a participant rather than facilitator or recorder.

Hosted by Kelvy Bird and Alfredo Carlo, I found myself surrounded with people who I consider thought leaders and experts in the field. Over the course of a few days, I’ve begun to make a profound shift in the way I approach this work, and on a deeper level, provided conditions for me to examine how I show up in this world and what that means for the work I do for my clients.

The Visual Practice Workshop exceeded my expectations and pushed me to think more critically than I have in a long time, which means it’s going to take more than the couple of days I’ve had to process. I expect that what I’ve learned will be infused in these emails/posts moving forward, and I’m excited to catch and ride this wave of learning and pushing myself.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to what the things I’ve learned and explored this week mean for my clients. Applying new models to facilitate understanding of the group and their ideas, moving into a deeper practice of partnership with my clients, and cultivating/holding awareness in and around my groups are filling my mind and heart with potential.

For now, what has settled in most deeply is the power of Breathing. Probably not what you were expecting, right? Me either – life is funny that way.

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Whether it’s taking a deep breath at the beginning of a session I’m scribing to truly listen to the bigger message before jumping in, or taking a deep breath to allow myself the time and space to think at a more systemic level about ConverSketch or the challenges my clients are tackling, or reflecting on the cyclical nature of systems and what we can learn from them. There is much to learn from breath and I’m ready to dive in with you!

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

Cheers, Karina

Interested in testing out how to apply some new approaches to this work?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 

Phoenix, Arizona: Last week before heading to Portland, I spent the day with the ASU Technology leadership team to continue supporting them as they build their organizational culture.

Phoenix, Arizona: Last week before heading to Portland, I spent the day with the ASU Technology leadership team to continue supporting them as they build their organizational culture.

Illustrated video for NPS: Today I’m in the studio for the National Park Service filming another public service announcement about how to fish smart and be healthy. You can watch the other  finished PSA’s here.

Illustrated video for NPS: Today I’m in the studio for the National Park Service filming another public service announcement about how to fish smart and be healthy. You can watch the other finished PSA’s here.

Short & Sweet - Where in the World is ConverSketch

Good morning!

It's time for some experimenting here at ConverSketch. So this week I'm keeping it short and sweet with few words and mostly images of what I'm working on. 

Last week I worked to graphic record and co-facilitate a workshop with researchers and practitioners that help ensure disaster recovery work includes and is sensitive to the culture of the people affected.

I've also been working on a heap of videos this fall -- here's a snapshot of me painting some veggies for a restaurant in downtown New York City that is seeking to triple the impact of every dollar through its business model, and a screenshot of a video for the National Park Service on smart wildlife watching (click to see it!). Other videos in the works include research on bovine tuberculosis, fish consumption advisories, climate change in National Historic Parks, and fire mitigation strategies for homeowners.

Finally, I've been working with the Conservation Leadership Through Learning Master's program at Colorado State University to do a short training series on basic facilitation and graphic recording skills for conservation professionals. Here they are facilitating a World Cafe.

I need your help! Did you like this shorter email? Not so much? Please let me know so I can send you Email Goodies that spark creativity and are full of interesting little nuggets to make your day better.
 

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

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.

How does a creative entrepreneur who enjoys predictability relax?

One of my favorite ways to wake up in the morning is the sound of birds singing.

Especially the sweet, gentle sounds that pull me gently from my slumber, but even the more, shall we say, insistent ones right outside my window are welcome to my ears. 

Why? 

Birds are a reminder for me of the importance of trust.

They trust that when they take their first flutters from the nest, they will be able to take flight. They trust that the sun will rise and they will sing their songs. They soar through windy skies, zip between tangled branches, or over steep ledges, because they trust what they are meant to be doing.

Wanting to have a pretty solid idea of what is likely to happen in the future is human nature. Some of us are more uncomfortable with not knowing than others, and of course practice makes progress.

I am one of those humans who generally enjoys some level of predictability. 

If there's one thing you can do in life to eliminate said predictability, I'm pretty sure that's to be a self-employed consultant. Add into that the fact that for many of my graphic recording jobs, I am not really sure what's going to happen during the session, but I will be expected to hand over a beautifully finished chart by the end of it. Uncertainty much?  And I must really enjoy this lack of control thing as I've recently delved a lot deeper into painting with watercolors (check the end of this email for more deets). Which tend to do what they want. 

Cue increased heart rate and impulse to reach for a glass of wine. 

Instead of letting my mind worry (a misuse of imagination, according to Dan Zadra), I take a few deep breaths and focus on trusting that everything is working out exactly as it's meant to.

And the birds can help us humans out too. Listening for as many different bird songs as I can is a fun practice that helps me get present and relax.

Then it's time to take action! Because as much as I trust that everything is unfolding divinely, you gotta do the work too.

Click on the image below to see the larger version on the blog.

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

If you liked this nugget of wisdom, 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 you can trust to capture the essence of your next event? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic facilitation magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This month I've been working on my watercolor painting skills, leading to the creation of several Colorado wildlife paintings including this little flammulated owl.  If you'd like to see more paintings and work in progress shots, give me a follow on Instagram. If you like what you see and you're interested in purchasing fine art prints or greeting cards, let's chat!