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THE 'DEBBIE FILTER'

Debbie sitting on a desk with her dog having a really good laugh

One thing I notice when I work alongside other graphic recorders is that our amazing and creative brains all work differently.

Members of the Australian Graphic Recording community (GRA) will get together every now and then on Zoom and have a little scribe jam. We’ll all listen to the same podcast and do a capture simultaneously, and then share our work to discuss. It’s a great way to help grow those newer to the field, but it’s also great for the professionals among us to see different ways of doing things. This is why when you book a graphic recorder, you’ll get a different result depending on who you’re working with.

My goal is always to create something special for the people in the room. I love to include the occasional Easter egg that will mean something to them when they look back – a little bit of “You had to be there.” I do this, but not in a way that will make the graphic recording irrelevant for a wider audience.

Fun!

I want what I create to have a sense of fun in it. Clearly, there are workshops and events where the content is highly sensitive – and on those occasions, I leave my fun crayons at the door. But a lot of the time, when there’s thinking and learning and creating to be done, adding a bit of levity to the day can only be a good thing! At a workshop last year we had a team of 100 in the room and there was a seriously wonky microphone in the space. Every second speaker that took over the mic had trouble being heard and it became a bit of a running joke for the day. The final canvas was peppered with microphones and speech bubbles saying “Is this thing on?” – the group thought it was a great reminder (to never use that AV company again).

Facts

What’s also important is that the cold hard facts are loud and clear. The facts are important. My opinion is not! Making sure that the key takeaways are obvious as they present themselves during a workshop often requires some super listening, synthesis, and a special kind of judgement that isn’t judgey. When I’m graphic recording I’m certainly using my whole brain.

Spark & connection

Sometimes the sparks are coming from the participants, sometimes from the facilitator – what’s great is when these connections make their way to the canvas. Listening for ideas and themes that connect is crucial, and it’s a professional graphic recorder’s super power.

So while we’re all unique and we all bring our own life experience to our work – you’ll certainly see a difference in every graphic recorder’s creations. Our personality is always reflected in our work, but most importantly – our opinions are not!
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