I’m just back from Chicago where I was part of the inaugural Brandy-Lab. I’ve become increasingly interested in graphic facilitation and then discovered the work of Brandy Agerbeck, and her excellent book and amazing website, and then got word that she was going to do a rather rare intensive teaching gig. It was a hold-your-breath kind of moment as I tried to figure out if I could afford it, if I wanted to go to Chicago for several days in August, on my own time while finishing up a graduate course and working on a new anthology for Spectrum Press and prepping for a course I am getting ready to co-teach. Gary, as he so often does, made it all very simple: “Of course you have to go. She’s who you want to study with, we’ve got the money, and you’ve got the time. GO.” Later on he would say, “I mean, who knows if we’ll ever have this money again, so we might as well spend it…” which was rather more disconcerting but by then I’d clicked on the registration button! And, oh my, it was so well worth it.
She was like the teacher of my dreams, open to having the discussions of my dreams… it was very dreamy. And my companions in the Lab were just excellent – generous, creative, inspiring and excited about about the possibilities.
A thing I really like about Brandy’s page is a great portfolio of her various work, one of which is the facilitation of a talk “creating customer evangelists” – and I do think I qualify! Anyway, I will put up all the drawings I did for the lab (about 10 drawings 4′ x 5′ so about 250 square feet of drawings over three days – which impressed the concierge at the hotel hugely!) in another posting, but today (I got home last night) I was finding it difficult to put down the markers – I wanted to figure out a way to encapsulate what I’d learned while I’m still processing it.
Perhaps my favourite thing on Brandy’s site is her graphic facilitation of The Wizard of Oz – it’s pure genius, and ever since seeing it I’ve wondered what movie I might use in a similar way. This morning it occurred to me that a movie as well known is Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane, which only recently was bumped out of its “greatest movie ever made” role (by Vertigo, which I think is very debatable myself, but then I’d probably be voting for All About Eve anyway). So here is my graphic facilitation of Citizen Kane in which I’m working on a few things: figuring out the big ideas and gathering them in a cohesive way, creating a hierarchy of big, medium and small ideas through lettering, being very conscious and intentional about color and exploring a limited palette (I kind of got into the black and white movie thing), and using a variety of differently sized images. While it’s not perfect, I’m pleased with how much I learned in such a short time, and I am thrilled with some of the parts of this. It was done in “real time” while listening to the movie and running over to watch bits, so it took about two hours and is about six feet by three feet. I might clean this photo up more and replace it.
I really feel I got a lot out of the individualised nature of Brandy’s instruction. Next year I hope to get back to Chicago and do some more 🙂