The Graphic Recorder's Mindset

You are what you think, and what you think will appear in your work.

More than anything, doodling is a mindset. When we look at famous visual thinkers throughout history and in modern times, we see they share some similarities.

Who are some visual thinkers that you admire? Perhaps Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Buckminster Fuller, Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso? What are some of their shared characteristics? They are curious, brave, courageous, open to feedback, not afraid of failure, detail oriented, and you might even say, willing to color outside the lines.

Good graphic recorders take time to understand their mindset and understand that what they think about themselves and the group matters. They are able to sense team dynamics, to understand what is being said as well as not said by the group.

You are being invited to the event to lend your creative heart and talent, and therefore you must be Willing to Dream. Conversations may not be linear so you will be asked to listen to many vantage points and connect the dots to help groups solve problems.

One of the very important skills that took me a while to learn was the ability to listen to a large group conversation, and also to have empathy. When you understand the group’s intentions it is easy to see where they are trying to go in the long run.

As you filter the content you are doing two things. You are bringing your passion to the work you love as a graphic recorder and you are filtering the feelings you sense from others. This takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a group and filter their information in one graphic. Which leads me to why big picture thinking is essential to your success.

Fortunately, you don’t need to have ALL of these traits to become a graphic recorder, the truth is you only need to embody a few of these traits. And the willingness to put yourself out there for future clients and projects and to trust the process. One good project will lead to another.