This week we’re talking with Gillian Frame of Reframe Solutions. Gillian attended the Secrets of Simple Graphics open course back in March.
(All images featured here are Gillian’s work.)
‘Gillian, what was happening before you went on the training?
I am blessed with a very artistic sister and husband – both of them have what I considered to be a fantastic ability to draw & be creative. I assumed that I was just ‘missing’ that gene and never felt confident that I could ‘draw anything properly’ so I just didn’t bother. I sometimes tried to spice up flipcharts with a border or a smiley face, but I was so hesitant with attempting anything else that if I did try, it looked just like what it was – half-hearted.
I met Emer at one of Julie Drybrough’s Facilitation Shindigs and thought what she described was fascinating, but not for me, as I was beyond help. However, I saw the programme advertised on Eventbrite and after reading the description, thought I should give myself another try.
How did the training meet your needs?
I arrived at the start of the day with an open mind, and a slight amount of scepticism that I would be able to make a significant improvement in my skills (that wasn’t a lack of confidence in the programme or Emer, more of a fixed mindset about my ability to improve). From the first moment, Emer put me at ease and made it easy for me to ‘just try’. I found that the more my confidence grew, the better my attempts became – my tentative pen strokes became more deliberate and I realised that even if I had to ‘fake’ it, just putting something on paper with confidence made it look better.
How are you using what you’ve learned?
After the programme, with the encouragement of the online support, I started by building a habit of drawing something every day. Some weeks I picked something I tend to use regularly and just drew it repetitively until I felt that I had established some form of muscle memory (I have so many drawings of light bulbs!), other weeks I copied an image that meant something to me (I’m still trying to master being able to draw ‘The Little Prince’ from one of my favourite books). I’m on a separate mission to reduce the amount of paper I use so I’ve been doing a lot of drawing and sketching using my iPad and iPencil – I find it a great way to play with images.
At a learning programme last week, I found myself preparing flipcharts that included several images, all of which just seem to come naturally, and actually looked like the thing I was trying to represent. OK, the helicopter might have needed a little bit of a verbal description, but I thought it looked pretty good!
What kind of results are you getting?
I feel more confident in my abilities and finally feel like I can be more congruent when I encourage participants to use images rather than words when completing some of the learning activities.
What kind of feedback are you getting?
Having prepared a welcome flipchart for the programme last week, I was delighted when a participant looked at the board and exclaimed “wow that’s great – and I see you’ve drawn yourself and Heiner (my fellow faciliator).
I’ve also had feedback from other facilitators I work with, the other day, one of them commented – ‘I wish I was as artistic as you’ – believe me, I looked around to see who he was talking to!
What would you say has been the overall impact of using graphics in your work?
I’d say that I feel better able to put across points and make the work that I do more interesting. The quality of my doodles has significantly improved too.
Most though, I’d say it was a great reminder for me of a few things – you can always learn to do things you didn’t think you could, it’s always worth challenging your self-image and the messages you tell yourself, and that if you want to do something and get better at it, you need to practice it regularly.
What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Just do it (obviously I’d add a green coloured ‘tick’)! Whatever your level (or believed level) of artistic ability, you’ll grow skills and confidence.
As a professional coach and facilitator, Gillian spends her time working with individuals and organisations to amplify their natural strengths, and to identify and eliminate barriers to achieve personal and professional success and fulfilment. Find out more about Gillian’s work by visiting www.reframes.co.uk