March 2021- One Year of Lockdown
2020 was the year that digital graphic recording really came into its own. As we all started to adapt to a life of separation and constant Zoom meetings, online live illustration suddenly became mainstream. I began graphic recording in 2010 and I would never have imagined this scenario then. The tools have emerged at just the right time- iPad pro and Apple pencil, apps like Procreate, Concepts, Affinity and of course online meeting tools like Zoom and Teams (Skype became subsumed into Microsoft I think). In Ireland graphic recording and visual facilitation had just about become popular outside of its initial limited pockets (non-profits using collaborative facilitation and multinationals used to seeing it in Europe). As a freelance graphic recorder I was increasingly busy. I was also moving into the delivery of trainings for organisations who were seeking better ways to engage stakeholders.
Now, all of this is online. I have to be honest and admit that online facilitation for me at first was hugely stressful. I'm only just getting the hang of it now. It brings new constraints and new possibilities.
In 2020 I began to learn more digital animation and have completed a few animated videos for clients which I will share in the next post. I have also learned more about systems change and facilitation generally. I have been able to share this learning through my work with Creativity & Change.
I have been fortunate to find a tribe of visual practitioners in Ireland with whom I have set up a loose network. As the demand for graphic recording has increased, and as the digital transition means location is no longer a factor we have finally been able to collaborate on events. The idea of 4 graphic recorders being hired to work on 1 event was to my mind unthinkable 3 years ago.
Live Illustration Video for UCD
I've just completed this promotional video for UCD School of Geography. I worked with the School of Geography staff from start to finish to develop the script, develop the storyboard and record the audio. Ruairí Conaty shot the video with me and edited it, including mixing the sound. It was big production- everything is very analogue and we tried to take advantage of that as much as possible, using paper elements and moving the page along for transitions between scenes. I learned a lot about the logistics of producing something like this. UCD were great to work with.
A bit late I know!
Here are some highlights from graphic recording events of last year. I'm not able to share all the work I do but here's a selection of jobs I really enjoyed that I can share. Thank you to all the wonderful clients I've had!
One thing from 2018 I particularly enjoyed was getting to grips with Procreate on the iPad. This has opened up possibilities for live digital graphic recording (see Google tech IE in gallery) and also illustration for print. The black and white images below were actually colouring-in posters that were about 3m wide when printed- all done on Procreate.
Also, a new development from 2018 is an Irish network for freelance graphic recorders. A small but mighty group has formed to share skills and information about graphic recording in Ireland. Watch this space for some collective action from this group in 2019!
I've been excited to develop my graphic facilitation skills a bit more with a recent project for the HSE. This has involved developing ways to bring to life a "Change Guide" for the Health Services. The Guide has been developed over the last 2 years through a wide process of consultation as well as research. The team now want to implement the Guide throughout the service and thought that visuals would help to bring it to life. We held an initial workshop with 12 people (pictured), followed by a small brainstorm workshop on communication strategies. I then did some graphic recording at a launch event. Soon we will work on digital visuals to support the promotion of the Guide throughout the health service. So, watch this space...
GIFs for Digital Graphic Recording
I always wanted to make GIFs.. and finally I've persuaded clients to let me! The above was prepared for an event on inclusion, using the brand of the client as a starting point. In the end it wasn't used so I'm sharing it here. It isn't perfect, but it took me AGES. I couldn't stop myself. I've made other, smaller ones also. They can be a nice way to attract attention on social media, as a counterpoint to still graphics. So.... if you want one- get in touch!! While I'm still a bit obsessed...
GIFS below on "Automating Processes" and "Spreading Innovation"
I don't get to go to Sligo too often so I was delighted to be asked to this event to do live graphic recording for a large group of podiatrists. I had to do my homework on this one in advance as there were some very technical presentations. I learned a lot of about Hallux valgus, plantar fasciopathy and skeletal drivers! Mental Note: get orthotics. Podiatrists are amazing!
This was both an academic and very practitioner-led conference focusing on future directions for child protection and social care in Ireland. It included some very hard-hitting data and passionate appeals for more investment.
I was graphic recording on A0 foam core boards, to which I am becoming more and more accustomed. Great for when there are no suitable walls, also very durable if the client wants to continue displaying the graphic recording post-event.
This conference was a not-for-profit event and a partnership between the School of Applied Social Studies (UCC), staff from child protection and welfare teams in the Child and Family Agency and the IASW Southern Branch.
Find out more at: http://swconf.ucc.ie/
2017 has been an extremely busy year. That is one reason why I have not posted more stories on my website. The other is that much of the work I have done I have not been able to share publicly, either they are private meetings with sensitive information or part of an ongoing internal process. I'm working with new and interesting clients this year and I have learned a huge amount.
Some highlights (snapshots below) from 2017 so far:
- 3 days with Citibank Innovation Lab in Dublin visually documenting the conversation of the Citibank Executive Committee.
- Live illustrating Cogs & Marvel's brand launch at their fabulous party.
- Executive Summit with Google in the Foundry, Dublin, visualising some mind-blowing input about AI and Google's Deep Mind project
- Working with Young SVP- Saint Vincent de Paul's youth programme and being impressed at how wise and compassionate Ireland's young people are.
- Joining the Creativity & Change team for some super-creative graphic recording at their Empathy to Action training in Cork
- Joining forces with new innovation start-up Framlabs for design sprints and more.
Apologies for the terrible photographs. This event was in a dark theatre in the Foundry in Google's Dublin office. The event was organised by an outreach team withing the engineering community of Google to engage third level engineering students and encourage them to consider working at Google. I learned so much! I learned about things such as "mapreducing" and "Clos topologies" and what and Exabyte is. It is the equivalent information of 1,689,915,020 sheets of a4 paper (of 1s and 0s I think...) Now that I'm writing this (3 months after the event) I'm not so sure. It is A LOT of information. Anyway- the world of Site Reliability Engineering is complex and intriguiing and changing at a rate of...exabytes. Obviously!
I only have a couple of images of this Professional Development Day for adult educators- but it shows the interesting and creative reflection they had on their work. This was organised by NUI Maynooth in collaboration with the Kildare Wicklow ETB.