In my line of work I am very much focussed on the ROI of graphics. What return will people get as a result of using these tools? What change will occur and what’s important about that?
Graphics is still new to many organisations and as such I have a role in educating others about the meaning of graphics and graphic facilitation as well as extoling the many benefits.
Sometimes though, we simply need to draw for drawing’s sake.
I find drawing particularly useful when it comes to dealing with and processing emotions. When you wake up to sad news, when your head is fuzzy with overthinking, when you just can’t face logging into your computer.
Conversely drawing is powerful when you are at the other end of the emotional spectrum. Ever find yourself giddy with excitement, bursting with love, hyper with enthusiasm?
Grab your marker and start doodling. Tune into the first image that comes into your mind and draw that. Keep drawing. Draw some more. Add words and colour. Get messy, get neat, find freedom and space on the blank in front of you.
What follows is a sense of connection and clarity, a tuning in, a refinement of your emotions.
Above are my scribbles for a Tuesday lunchtime.
What are yours?
It’s been a busy number of weeks at Collected Works Towers and as such I’m reminded of the importance of looking after mind and body.
As someone said on Twitter last week,
‘You know those days when you’re just too busy to stop and think?
They are exactly the times to stop and think.’
Here are some of my favourite tools for de-stressing, unplugging and maintaining good mental and physical health.
I use an app called Insight Timer for guided meditations. I don’t know about you but for me stress shows up in two main areas in my body – the neck/shoulder area and the stomach area.
To ease the tension I often listen to:
- Celia Roberts’ Meditation on Gut Brain Connection
- Andrew Johnson’s Stomach Relaxation
- Analee Scott’s Connect to Nature (a great one if you have tension in your shoulders and neck like me. This is a visualisation where you imagine your neck to be the trunk of a tree and your shoulders the roots. Powerful stuff!)
To help with nerves and anxiety I listen to:
- Andrew Johnson’s Quick Confidence and
- Rachel Hillary’s Your Power Solar Plexus Meditation
I often find that if I could just quieten my mind of all the monkey chatter I would experience more flow and less stress. For me there is nothing better than yoga for giving the mind and body a good workout.
The evening before a facilitation or training gig I always make time to go to a Yin Yoga class. Yin Yoga consists of floor postures that are held for an extended period of time. The stretches get right into the connective tissue (fascia) of the body and the effect is marvellous. It took me quite a while to get into Yin Yoga as it’s so different and so much slower than the Flow classes I normally attend. Sometimes enforced slowness is a really good thing.
I have to give a shout out to my local yoga studio Tribe Yoga on Cumberland street. I don’t know where I’d be without it!
The final tool I’d like to share with you is an exercise workout called T-Tapp, created by Teresa Tapp. I came across T-Tapp about three years ago and haven’t looked back.
It’s a no impact workout (no equipment, weights, jumping etc. required) that can be done at virtually any age or stage of life. Check out this quick shoulder rolls exercise. Teresa is a legend!
So there you have it. My top tools for maintaining strong mental and physical health. I hope you found this useful. Do let me know and/or share some tools of your own.
The first time I saw one of my Dad’s drawings was last September. We were visiting my brother’s house and my niece was gently encouraging (i.e. pestering) him to draw on her blackboard.
He drew a tree and a boat. At that moment I realised I had never seen my Dad draw before. It was quite a strange feeling. Much like when you see a friend’s handwriting for the first time, it was a curious insight into his personality, his uniqueness.
This human element, this insight into someone’s personality is one of the key reasons I love hand drawn graphics so much.
You just don’t get that with those stock images you see in many PowerPoint presentations and websites. (My personal bugbear are the photos of glossy ‘office people’ with big teeth and headsets. Who looks like that? Not many folk in Scotland anyway!)
The human element is just one of many advantages of using hand drawn graphics. Yet despite the multiple benefits people often resist picking up the marker and giving it a go. Why is this?
That’s right, it’s because people believe they can’t draw. They don’t see themselves as artistic.
Do you know what response you would get if you asked a child of 4 whether they think they can draw?
They look at you like you’re mad (I’ve tried it.) ‘Of course!’, is the typical response.
What happens when you ask a child of 7 the same question?
They don’t immediately say yes. It’s often ‘maybe’ or ‘sometimes.’
Is this because a child’s drawing ability has dramatically changed between the ages of 4 and 7?
No, it’s because by the age of 7 early conditioning will have set in. By this age we’ve often been labelled as either ‘good at maths’, ‘sporty’, ‘artistic’, ‘musical’ etc. It often becomes a label for life.
So perhaps you can draw? Perhaps it’s time to revisit your confident 4 year old self.
The truth is if you can draw a line, a circle and a squiggle then you can draw. It’s all about building on key elements.
After all research has shown that a drawing only needs 30% of reality for it to be recognisable.
Kinda takes the pressure off!
So it really doesn’t matter if your house is a square with a triangle on top, or your stick man looks like he’s had one too many. People will get it. That’s the main thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect to get the message across.
Graphics isn’t art. In fact people with a background in art often struggle with graphics because it is so quick, so simple, so in the moment. There is no room for egos when you’re working live with a group of people. Thank goodness for that.
At the end of every graphics course I run I ask the delegates for some feedback. At the back of my office door I stick up all my favourite comments. This is currently number one:
Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics in Edinburgh on September 5th 2017 and discover what you can do.