Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Freebie: Bruce Van Patter, Reprise

Last week's guest, author/artist/creativity coach Bruce Van Patter reminded me how necessary artwork is, not only in books, but on blogs as well. Since he has a full-time job (and then some), I couldn't ask him to be my personal blog illustrator, so I did the next best thing a selfish, artistically challenged writer could do: I split his post into two posts so he could beautify my blog again this week. 

Last week, Bruce talked about his books and his school visits. This week, he picks up with where his art has taken him most recently.

Right about the time that schools' budgets for outside assemblies were tanking, I had the world of corporate "scribing" open up to me. Like what I did in schools, it requires quick, in-the-moment processing and drawing. Basically, as speakers speak and groups discuss strategic planning, I visually capture the content in writing and drawing, working on either large sheets of paper, board of foam core, or on white boards. At first, I had a really tough time understanding the jargon -- I had not spent any time in the business world. Plus, they had acronyms laced throughout. In that first year, I was constantly fighting off panic, standing before audiences, wondering what to put up on the board.

So, now, I scribe full-time. Well, I also make what I call whiteboard videos. You have probably seen the kind of thing I mean, where a hand moves really fast over a whiteboard while someone narrates. (You can see a few I've done at Between the two, and some corporate drawing I do in my studio for slide presentations, I'm crazy busy.

But it has left some spots of time, when I'm at a bit of a loss to figure out how to use wisely. I have grown kids (plus one teenage daughter), who have encouraged me to find a way to make art fun again -- something that brings me joy rather than makes me money. I'm searching for that art. And for ways to invest my time.

That's how I came up with Benched.

If I'm going to waste time, I want to do it in a way that might spur creative thinking. So, I decided to sit on a bench, once a week, for a year, in different places. No pre-planning what I'll see or think or write about. Whatever comes in the moment, I'll observe, take pictures, if I can, and capture in a blog. I've done four so far, and people are starting to get into the flow of what I'm doing -- people are now suggesting benches I might try out.

It's just another turn in the road on my creative journey. I hope that road continues long enough for me to keep exploring. I can't wait for what's just around the next bend!

Photo credit: Bruce Van Patter/Bill Lawson 

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