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Graphic Recording

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Photography Challenge at The Learning Studio: Graphic Recording

I had been wanting to experiment with various mediums including paper type and markers (I found out Sharpie paint markers are not as brilliant as I'd hoped). And, I was itching to do an illustration for myself, to market my skills and have differentiating photos on social media. But then I thought about how flat my photos of the recordings can be sometimes. I wanted fresh eyes on how to approach photographing the work. A-ha! I know where to find emerging photographers!

Nick's classroom at Ypsilanti Community High School is also known as The Learning Studio, an experimental commercial photography studio where students in grades 9-12 learn technical and conceptual photography skills. Being in its first year, Nick and the students have made some impressive progress (including two of his students, Davinique Powell and Jenae Gonzalez, winning Best Photo at the recent Potential Art Exhibit at the teen center, Neutral Zone!)  

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I introduced the following challenge to the students over two days: to create a cohesive marketing photo campaign of 3-5 images of the following graphic recording using any method of lighting and including any props or people they chose. The only other criteria being judged was teamwork. The latter proved to be more challenging for larger classes, understandably, but I was utterly impressed by the initiative and knowledge of many students in each and every class. The winning class receives full credit for the photos on social media, mention in an upcoming lifestyle blog I'm being interviewed for and choice of a pizza or donut party, which is, of course, where I heard the "yeaaaahhh"s and excitement.

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Detroit graphic recorder Yen Azzaro

All the classes had phenomenal ideas and some had more innovative concepts, but in terms of sound photography and extraordinary teamwork skills...

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I'm psyched to announce the winning class is 3rd hour (B)!!! They not only brainstormed before jumping into the work, they collectively came up with the most variety of images and made sure everyone was involved in some aspect of the process. Congratulations, Ana, Abbie, Britney, Britthani, Gabe, Jonatan, Lynda, Marcus, Owen, and Rochelle!

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Graphic Recording in areas of Arts, Culture and Education

I've long worked with corporate entities to offer graphic recording that could be revisited for marketing and internal use but now educational organizations are finding ways to fund what I do too. 

I recently had the privilege of working with Wayne-Westland Community Schools to capture their State of the District. Their Superintendent, Dr. Shelley Holt, spoke passionately and candidly about the struggles the district faces. And she is one of the most personable people I've ever met! (You'll see what I mean below.) I was really touched by her candor and have great faith in the plans she offered to break through some of the barriers the district faces. I was also thoroughly impressed with the presentation of the band and color guard, certainly indicative of the talent of the students and staff. 

 Because Wayne-Westland Community Schools has a script logo, I got to take a hand at doing some ink drawing. This method was used on the main graphic recording, which I did earlier in the day. I didn't want drippy ink on the wall!

Because Wayne-Westland Community Schools has a script logo, I got to take a hand at doing some ink drawing. This method was used on the main graphic recording, which I did earlier in the day. I didn't want drippy ink on the wall!

 Photo courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

Photo courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

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 The Superintendents ADORABLE daughter was a quick learner and became my graphic recording apprentice :) 

The Superintendents ADORABLE daughter was a quick learner and became my graphic recording apprentice :) 

 Image courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

Image courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

I finally got around to taking some photos of the In the Neighborhood drawings, part of Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and Eastern Michigan University's Engage @ EMU Office's effort to define what arts and culture looks like in Washtenaw County. This is an example of an illustration done in graphic recording style that focuses on lots of text content. It was a blast to host a gathering with artists and students and then gather and distill the content of all the gatherings.

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Last month I learned about an incredible effort by Kelly Mickel, principal of Erickson Elementary School and other community partners including Washtenaw County Sheriffs Office, Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center, Cultivate Coffee and Tap House, Girls Scouts, and Mosaic Church. The Village Project seeks to break the school-to-prison pipeline in the Ypsilanti district. Many of our students have had exposure with incarcerated family members or visited family or friends in detention centers, returning with the idea that they didn't seem so bad. To compare their current life situation and find detention centers a better alternative sounded heartbreaking to me but it's a reality of perception our youth face. 

Efforts are being made right now to lift up students through a 3-pronged effort of mentorship, skills training and life experience. A "signing day" will match up "coaches" with students with special attention given to matching up adults and student based on interests and personalities. There are still lots of details to work out but through the leadership and resources each of the community members bring, I believe this will be a successful program to change the sentiment and trajectory of many of our most at-risk youth. More to come! 

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If you have interest in learning how graphic recording can benefit your educational event, I'd love to chat with you. I'm happy to travel within southeast Michigan and elsewhere. Contact me at yenazzaro(@)gmail.com

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Graphic Recording for the Ford Culture Hackathon

I had the extreme pleasure of graphic recording at Ford Motor Company's World Headquarters over the last two days. It was one of the most fun and energetic events I've ever captured as the ideas were just flying during their Culture Hackathon. The environment was open and thoughtful as the facilitators encouraged attendees to share their ideas and photos. 

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The hackathon ended in a competitive fashion with presentations and awards. It was a dynamic event filled with warm, talented folks I won't soon forget. 

For more information about graphic recording, you can reach me here

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Solution Seeking in Memphis

This past week I had the incredible privilege to travel to Memphis for The Kresge Foundation's FreshLo Convening. The event brought together some of the most innovative organizations doing work in the areas of food access, economic development and education. I was soaking up all the ideas and conversation. And, of course, trying to capture it all in graphic recording. 

 Graphic recording for The Kresge Foundation, opening day of FreshLo in Memphis

Graphic recording for The Kresge Foundation, opening day of FreshLo in Memphis

Besides the incredible wealth of information-sharing, the cohort of not-for-profit leaders in the room were striving for food and economic equity in their communities. I was listening to capture all the elements of each presentation, but also learning fascinated with the complications surrounding access to resources. Organizations were offering programming and education in the form of gardening, kitchen incubators, business courses, neighborhood grocery stores, kids' cooking classes, and so much more nationwide in all kinds of urban and rural environments. Inequity and lack of resources is not exclusive to any one type of population or region.  

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 It was so great to see a familiar face and have Michigan representing with David Zinn as a teaching artist. 

It was so great to see a familiar face and have Michigan representing with David Zinn as a teaching artist. 

 Sluggo and friends

Sluggo and friends

I didn't have a ton of time to explore downtown Memphis, but what I did see of it, made me start dreaming about my next visit there. The Civil Rights Museum is an experience that every young person and adult should experience. I was wrought with emotion the entire visit. Although it was gut-wrenching to see what generations of African-Americans have endured in our country and the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's. assassination had me completely choked up, I was grateful to see the care and intent going into keeping this history present. This museum will be a necessity for my son to visit one day, when he can absorb the gravity of it all. 

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Rosa Parks

 The March on Washington, 1963

The March on Washington, 1963

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 Silent, peaceful sit ins of the 1960s. 

Silent, peaceful sit ins of the 1960s. 

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For more information about graphic recording or illustration for your event, contact me at yenazzaro(@)gmail.com 

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Visual Notes: Graphic Recording Fall 2017

The last few weeks I've been pretty busy with graphic recording, the process of real time illustration and note capturing for a few clients. I had the chance to capture discussion for a prominent company at Grand Circus in Detroit, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and a fascinating discussion hosted by Engage as part of Steve Case's Rise of the Rest nationwide tour. 

 Graphic recording at the Antheneum in Detroit

Graphic recording at the Antheneum in Detroit

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I'm currently in the planning stages of an illustration for ypsiGLOW, a phenomenal street event on October 27th celebrating performance, music, art making and luminaries in downtown Ypsilanti. My glowing chalk drawing is going to be done on vinyl, backwards, so I can install it on glass at the Ypsi Real office/Convention Visitors Bureau on Michigan Avenue. It will be.a large three panel piece circling ypsiGLOW's goals of inclusivity, being an "Ypsi made" event and promoting cultural and economic development in downtown Ypsi. Look out for that starting on the 19th! 

Unfortunately, I'll miss the ypsiGLOW festivities this year because I'll be flying back from a graphic recording gig in Memphis. I've never been and I'm so excited to hear the music, taste the BBQ and visit some incredible museums including the Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel. The conference I'll be covering over three days is about access to food and innovations being made in urban areas. I can't wait to share some inspired illustrations with you later this month!  

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Graphic Recording: Service in Two Sectors

Over the last few weeks I had the opportunity to record at two very different kinds of organizations. But they both had one thing in common: service. 

The first was the well known Domino's Pizza. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they have been a ubiquitous choice for pizza delivery my whole life. At their gathering of brilliant tech minds at Go Where Meetings Matter, I learned how much they put into their customer service and technology arms, especially my favorite part about ordering with them...the Pizza Tracker! Seriously, you can see when your pizza's being made, when it went into the oven, when it's out for delivery — do satisfying! Here are a few illustrations from that day. 

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The other event was the Third Annual Ideas to Action Conference hosted by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the talented folks that run Bright Futures, the after school enrichment program out of Eastern Michigan University. This is my third year covering this event and I always learn something personally and professionally. It's an engaging day of educators and innovators in the field doing phenomenal work. This time around they were focusing on Social Emotional Learning. Speakers included professional storytellers, educators and students. It was moving and phenomenal content to capture. 

 Graphic recording at Go Where Meetings Matter in Ann Arbor

Graphic recording at Go Where Meetings Matter in Ann Arbor

 Graphic recording for Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti

Graphic recording for Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti

This also turned out to be my longest, single themed drawing coming in at 10 feet long. The photo above also includes a breakout session graphic.

Although both organizations are serving different "customers", it's evident that great interpersonal service among colleagues and clients is key in success. Nothing can replace the sound of a person's voice or friendliness conveyed through face to face interaction. 

If you're interested in graphic recording and learning about the process for your event, please contact me here. Thanks for exploring! 

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A Band of Illustrators: Graphic Recording for Shell

Recently my uber talented friend Brittany Zeller-Holland of Two if by Sea Studios emailed about a graphic recording opportunity. We had been passing jobs back and forth but for the first time we were going to get to work together! And better yet, the client needed four simultaneous recorders. Brittany immediately thought of Brittany Barnhart from Just Curious Co. Her whimsical style would translate perfectly to graphic recording. And I got to bring Jessica Krcmarik, letterer, artist, designer extraordinaire! We were four creative women on a mission to synthesize ideas and words onto paper. 

Shell's Eco-Marathon event is taking place at Cobo Hall in Detroit over the next three days. We got to kick off the first day during the break out sessions as specialists in their fields talked about ways to innovate beyond what currently exists in the energy industry. Not only did we learn a ton about the processes and challenges of energy consumption and finding more of it, we had so much fun.

We even tossed around the idea of starting a graphic recording collective. That way we could rotate through the requests we receive and put some effort toward really marketing the services. How cool would that be? 

So beautiful and vibrant! To see more of Brittany Zeller-Holland's work, click here.

I love Jessica's lettering ability! To see more of Jessica Krcmarik's work, click here.

Brittany's illustrations are so complete and full of humor. I love it! To see more of Brittany Barnhart's work, click here.

 Graphic recording for Shell at Cobo Hall in Detroit

Graphic recording for Shell at Cobo Hall in Detroit

I chose the topic of energy practices and solutions for low income communities and I was so glad I did. I learned from some of the best thinkers in the industry on how important access is for everyone.  You can contact me about graphic recording here — thanks!

Afterwards we hit up Green Dot Stables (my first time!) and recapped the day -- and fed our faces, of course. It was such a fulfilling day, hanging with such talented women and friends! 

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Why Book a Graphic Recorder?

First of all, what is Graphic Recording? 

During Graphic Recording I listen to your presentations and conversations, synthesizing the content into images and text on large sheets of paper or board during. At the end of the meeting, the large drawings can be photographed for future use (marketing, internal, website, press) or translated into digital drawings for even more in-depth use. 

Why hire a Graphic Recorder?

Glad you asked! Have you ever worried if your colleagues didn't understand or agree with your concepts, or the listeners were more visual learners, or worse yet...everyone is dosing off? Remedy all those situations with a graphic recorder who will engage the viewers as they watch the presentation ideas being reiterated before their very eyes. 

I've recorded and digitized presentations for Ross Business School, medical departments within the University of Michigan, TEDx, Detroit Future City and more. For more information, email yenazzaro(@)gmail.com

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TEDxUofM: Against the Grain

This past Saturday was the University of Michigan's TEDx event at the Power Center. An offshoot of a TED conference, the event included speakers in the areas of medicine, arts, and technology. I was approached by the student group Ask Big Questions to listen to lunch room conversations and illustrate their connection to one another.

This was easier said than done with ten different conversations going on simultaneously. I spent a few minutes at each table listening to attendee opinions on such themes as Conformity, Identity, Sustainability and Collegiate Expectations. There were so many ideas and questions tossed out but I tried to capture the most important ones. 

Here are a few snapshots of the 8 x 4 foot whiteboard illustration in the lobby of the Power Center. 

During snack break, the crowd of 800 attendees gathered around and I got to hear some feedback from the viewers. My youngest admirer was a ten year old kid who wanted to join in and draw too—so cool! I love hearing people's thoughts on what they find entertaining because after all, that's what graphic recording is all about—bringing information in a fun and memorable way. 

 Graphic recording for TEDxUM at the Power Center in Ann Arbor

Graphic recording for TEDxUM at the Power Center in Ann Arbor

And for those that are curious, because I get this question pretty often, I do everything freehand. I practice font types that I think will fit the occasion prior to the event and reference the sheet when I'm short on technique. 

Thanks to everyone that supported and attended TEDx and a special thanks to Masha and JoHanna at Ask Big Questions. See you next time!

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