I'm excited to announce that recently at Sketch Group we launched Graphic Gear, an online store selling markers, refill bottles, and accessories for illustrators, facilitators, and visual practitioners.
Wait, what? Let me explain ...
My first graphic recording gig, seven years ago, was in front of 3,000 people. I was on stage at a Microsoft conference on the Gold Coast, and nervous but quietly confident in my ability to listen, synthesise, and capture the content in real-time.
Unfortunately, the tools I'd chosen for the job were whatever markers I had lying around, purchased over the years and in various states of use. They bled through the paper, they dried up on me halfway through the gig, the colours were limited, and the fumes got a bit much after two hours of sketching.
Fast forward to the modern day, and I've become somewhat of a devotee of the Neuland brand of markers for every sketching job I tackle. Made in Germany, the reason I'm such a fan is:
After attending the International Forum of Visual Practitioners in Atlanta last year, I've realised that pretty much every professional graphic recorder and facilitator uses Neuland markers, for the same reasons. And every illustrator that I put one of these markers into becomes a fan of the brand and can't get enough of them. Neuland have created a great product.
The problem is that ordering them from Germany is slow and the shipping is expensive. So I decided to fix that. I signed up as the official Neuland reseller for Australia.
If you'd like to get your hands on the very same markers that the Sketch Group team use when we sketch events, now you can! Just visit graphicgear.com.au and make your mark today!
At Sketch Group, we feel extraordinarily lucky on a regular basis that we get to partner with clients doing work that matters. Not to suggest that the dozens of workshops we sketch, or the videos we animate, or the posters we create don't have an impact or aren't worthwhile. But sometimes a project comes along that humbles you, and you feel honoured to be a part of.
Sketching the Foster Carer Journey for the Department of Health & Human Services was one of those projects.
We worked with folks from DHHS and the Foster Carer's Association of Victoria to:
Because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we decided collectively that there was value in creating two versions of the poster—one that would be useful for recruiting, retaining, and raising awareness of foster carers, and another version that was more suitable for internal use. This internal version was more focussed on helping members of DHHS and agencies to identify opportunities where the overall system could be improved.
We were faced with the challenge of walking a fine line between wanting to shout from the rooftops about what amazing work foster carers do for our community, with painting a realistic picture that accurately portrays the fact that being a foster carer is hard. Some of the stories that came out on the day were heartbreaking, and the weight of responsibility to capture and visualise those emotions was enormous.
We were extremely proud of the final result, which was a truly collaborative effort from the department, agencies, carers, advocates, and several members of the Sketch Group team—Lucinda, Kerstin, and myself. One thing that I learned from the project is that there is much greater demand than there are available foster carers, so we hope the small part we played in creating this journey map goes some way to helping increase the number of Victorians who decide to volunteer to foster a child.
Matt is Chief Doodler at Sketch Group. He has contributed to several books on visual thinking, most recently The World of Visual Facilitation.