Acknowledging your Champions

I'm a member of the Small Business Community Network here in Davis, California. We meet either in person or by video conference once a week. Members take it in turns to lead themed meetings that usually go on for a month. This month, we are Telling Our Story.

Following an exercise where we explored our core values, member Leah Eldridge led us through a guided meditation aimed at mining our memories for important events and people who have shaped us to become who we are now as professionals.

graphic of Alison Kent's journey to graphic facilitationI wanted to do this visually and was instantly astonished by a) the number of people who helped set me on my path, b) how few detractors there have been (it doesn't mean they haven't had a disproportional effect on my self-worth -- brain weasels are a thing). I just wanted to thank all the people, some of whom have died by now, who have helped me on my journey.

Who are your champions? Have you thanked them? Can you be a champion for someone as a way of paying it forward?

In Praise of Grids

ink drawings of people
People at Mishka's on a Saturday morning

I'm a member of the Davis urban sketching community. I almost always mark up a grid before heading out to sketch. I like the firm boundary (which I can break if necessary or if I want a particular effect), I like to work small so that I can work fast (important when sketching people), but mostly, the grid provides a flexible container within which to work.

My travel sketchbooks ALWAYS have a grid. I make a template from some cardstock and this allows me to tuck it into my sketchbook so I always have it ready. Working on a 6x9" format I make six rectangles, usually, in non-photo blue pencil, which allows me to ink in the borders or not later. I have made many sketchbooks with Sundance Felt paper which is folded into signatures but not bound until I get home, so I don't end up with tons of unused pages or, conversely, run out of room.

ink and wash drawings of Iceland landscapes
Iceland travel journal spread

In the spread above, I used the entire grid for my one drawing of the Öxarárfoss waterfall at Thíngvellír, whereas on the facing page, I took two rectangles for the top left and bottom landscape sketches, and a single rectangle for the flag at the parliament rock and arctic grasses.

I've been pondering how best to use a grid in my large format captures of meetings. My 48" x 92" paper is divided easily into vertical thirds by the fact that division between the three boards is clearly visible. I think I'm going to play with marking the horizontal sheet in thirds too and save intersecting points for especially important places, or drawings, or focus spots. I'll report back!

ink drawings of people and plants
UC Davis Arboretum Terrace, September 23, 2017