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תוכן מסופק על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde. כל תוכן הפודקאסטים כולל פרקים, גרפיקה ותיאורי פודקאסטים מועלים ומסופקים ישירות על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde או שותף פלטפורמת הפודקאסט שלו. אם אתה מאמין שמישהו משתמש ביצירה שלך המוגנת בזכויות יוצרים ללא רשותך, אתה יכול לעקוב אחר התהליך המתואר כאן https://he.player.fm/legal.
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Ingrid Lill clarifies business strategy with her big picture storyboards - S14/E02

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תוכן מסופק על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde. כל תוכן הפודקאסטים כולל פרקים, גרפיקה ותיאורי פודקאסטים מועלים ומסופקים ישירות על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde או שותף פלטפורמת הפודקאסט שלו. אם אתה מאמין שמישהו משתמש ביצירה שלך המוגנת בזכויות יוצרים ללא רשותך, אתה יכול לעקוב אחר התהליך המתואר כאן https://he.player.fm/legal.

In this episode, Ingrid describes the evolution of her visual thinking journey which now plays a crucial role in assisting both creative professionals and business owners in understanding their client's experiences through Big Picture storyboarding.

Sponsored by Concepts

This episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast is brought to you by Concepts, a perfect tool for sketchnoting, available on iOS, Windows, and Android.

Concepts' vector-based drawing feature gives you the power to adjust your drawings saving hours and hours of rework.

Vectors provide clean, crisp, high-resolution output for your sketchnotes at any size you need s ideal for sketchnoting.

SEARCH in your favorite app store to give it a try.

Running Order

  • Intro
  • Welcome
  • Who is Ingrid Lill
  • Origin Story
  • Ingrid Lill's current work
  • Sponsor: Concepts
  • Tips
  • Tools
  • Where to find Ingrid Lill
  • Outro

Links

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tools

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tips

  1. Message first. Use your drawing to communicate.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Experiment. Use your art on your everyday use.

Credits

  • Producer: Alec Pulianas
  • Theme music: Jon Schiedermayer
  • Shownotes and transcripts: Esther Odoro

Subscribe to the Sketchnote Army Podcast

You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube or your favorite podcast listening source.

Support the Podcast

To support the creation, production and hosting of the Sketchnote Army Podcast, buy one of Mike Rohde’s bestselling books. Use code ROHDE40 at Peachpit.com for 40% off!

Episode Transcript

Mike Rohde: Hey everyone, it's Mike, and I'm here with Ingrid Lill. Ingrid, it's so good to have you on the show. Thanks for coming.

Ingrid Lill: Thank you, Mike for having me. You're one of my heroes, one of the first ones who taught me how to sketch note.

MR: Oh, thank you. That's so nice of you. Well, you know, probably we'll get into it a little bit is some of the work that we did together, but I think before we get into that discussion, I would love for you to sort of set the context. Who are you and what do you do with the work that you do?

IL: My name is Ingrid Lill. I'm originally from Germany. I've been living in Denmark for 20 years on the countryside. And I—should I tell my whole story already now?

MR: Sure. That was my next question is how did you end up in the place where you are? Maybe start—

IL: Maybe first, what I'm doing now.

MR: Yeah.

IL: I am a communication designer turn business coach with a pencil. I am helping coaches, consultants, and creatives, and whoever needs to do that, clarify their message through visual thinking, and I do that on several levels.

MR: Cool.

IL: Yeah.

MR: And you've done that with me. So we can talk about that in the future. I would love to hear now, how did you end up in that place? You talked about being a communication designer. It sounds like from our discussions before, what you did wasn't so far away from what I did when I came out of university, which was graphic design.

IL: That's true.

MR: Yeah.

IL: That's true, graphic design, yeah, yeah.

MR: Really old-school graphic design with pens and—

IL: Really old school.

MR: —rulers and all that old stuff.

IL: Yeah, yeah. I mean, as a child, I drew, and as many people who are drawing and want to also make money, I studied graphic design. And I had drawing and painting at the side as an artist and made graphic design and all this visual communication stuff to make money.

When I started out on it, when I graduated, there were no computers, so we did actually hand-drawn layouts which was fun, but that disappeared when computers came on the scene. And then for many years, all the drawing was really only hobby and computer was it. And I was also happy for it because I didn't really like the manual graphic design work.

Yeah, and then I worked as a graphic designer and an art director, and several jobs in this thing. Also, on my own, had my own business. And at some point, I got tired of it. I was tired of having this divide between the really creative me on one side and the job, the making money on the other side. So I wanted to bring it together. And when I heard about, or when I saw the first graphic facilitation things on the internet, I thought, "Huh, what is that?" It was like a revelation.

And I started investigating, and it was a totally new way of drawing for me. Before, drawing was art, and then I found out drawing can be communication. I've never done my own illustrations when I was working as a graphic designer because I thought I'm not good enough for it or something, whatever I thought.

But this kind of drawing, which was so simple that I thought, I can do that. And so, I learned that. And I also knew if I wanted to get out and make a business, build a business that is more me and more fun and more creative, I needed to draw, I needed to dare to be visible with it.

And I started posting drawings on Facebook. And I remember the first time I posted something, a drawing I did was in some thread a discussion on Facebook. And I did a little drawing and I uploaded it, and my heart was pounding, and I thought, "Huh." I don't why.

MR: What did I do?

IL: What did I do? Yeah, yeah. But nobody even noticed. It was just, I had a point to make and I did a drawing that illustrated that point. It was not about that the drawing had to be beautiful. And that was kind of the—how do you say that? I crossed the boundary with that. Drawing is useful, can be useful, and it can also be fun and all other kinds of stuff, but it doesn't have to be. It just has to convey a message. And that's where all my—

MR: Functional.

IL: Yeah, functional, but also expressing your personality in a way it always does. And that's what all my work now is revolving around. I did also some graphic recording here, locally in Denmark. But what happened then was when I posted my drawings on Facebook, people liked them. I was actually telling my story about finding out what to do next. People liked it, and then I started giving drawing classes, and my business evolved in other directions.

MR: Something interesting I thought of when you were talking about, you saw a graphic record or you saw a facilitation, and up to that point you thought, "Well, I never used illustration in my graphic design work 'cause I didn't think I was good enough." I thought the same thing. I always thought of myself as a graphic designer.

And for people that don't understand that about that time, if I'm thinking it's about the right time, that was like the golden age, the peak of illustration where people could make a living doing illustration work. Like many people. If you were a good enough artist, you could make a living. And it was really great quality stuff.

So when we say that, when Ingrid and I say that we weren't good enough, it's because we were up against the best illustrators in the entire world were at their peak, and we really weren't good enough to compete at that in that game, in the game that they were playing, which was, you know, stuff that people are using like AI to do now, or mid-journey or something like—

IL: Airbrush stuff. Oh God.

MR: Right, right. So there was very, very specific skills, and because there wasn't really computer capability, it was all analog stuff, which is really hard to do, and therefore it costs a lot and only the best organizations could afford to do that. So there was like this whole—when you say, "Oh, I just wasn't good enough." And you think, well, you know, in that context, there really was amazing work being done, and we really weren't good enough to play that game.

So what we realized, I think you and I was, well, what if we play a different game? What if we play a game where we just do our simple drawing to communicate and it's functional? And that was the thing that blew Ingrid's mind. Am I right in kind of guessing at that?

IL: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But also, what didn't occur to me back then was that I could make my own game. That I could make a business out of the drawings that I'm capable of doing. Maybe it would've been possible, probably but it didn't occur to me. I thought I needed to follow some mainstream something. And only when I became older and thought, now it's enough of trying to follow other people's ideas, now I'm making my own rules for myself.

MR: Yeah. So now let's step into the work that you and I did, which is representative of the kind of work you're doing for your clients. So about, I dunno, it was about two months ago or something like that. We're talking in August, so it was about two months ago maybe. Ingrid reached out to me and invited me to do a session with her over Zoom where she would talk with me about what I wanted to do with whatever I wanted to. So I chose, well, I've got these two books and I'm trying to figure out like, what's the next thing? Where do I go next?

So basically, Ingrid walked through with me and started going back into my history and asking me questions, and then visualizing this journey and starting to make sense of like what was in my head.

So in a sense, she was sketchnoting my thinking, but it was more than this. It wasn't so much just recording what I said. She was also facilitating by guiding me and asking questions, probing questions, and then visualizing it and sort of making sense of it, in the moment so I could see it all unfolding on the screen as she worked.

And then eventually, we finished that session, and then she kind of fixed up some things and added a little bit of color, and then there is a finished piece. Well, I'll put a link in the show notes for you so you could see what this looks like, including there's a recording of the session that you can watch that Ingrid has shared. So you can watch it happen and then see the final output.

As a visual thinker to go through that experience is really fascinating because it's sort of dawned on me a little bit what other people often feel like when I do visualizations of what they're saying. I think I kind of do something kind of similar, maybe in a different venue in my user experience design work where I'm extracting their thinking and trying to make sense of it. But it's the same kind of activity.

So talk to me like, when did you come to that specific expression of the work that you're doing? Is that a pretty recent thing? How long have you been doing that?

IL: No, that's several years. It's not recent. It's evolving. And the thing that you have been on is my very new big idea sketch cast which is my idea or at the start of a YouTube channel that I'm trying, and I'm interviewing interesting people. So this was only a little thing. Normally when I do with people, it's much longer.

MR: Yeah.

IL: There were several things coming together. One was that I needed to build my business, so I wanted to build my business, and I had to learn how to do that. Before, as a graphic designer, I was only doing stuff that was coming to me anyway. I showed my portfolio and didn't really think so much about my message. And then when I wanted to have my business more as an expression of—or I wanted to direct it in a certain direction, which is more drawing, more me, more creative, I studied more marketing.

And I read Donald Miller's "Building a StoryBrand." That had a big influence on me, and I thought, "This is it. He's right." I knew he is right, but still, I couldn't wrap my head around it for my own business. And then I heard—I don't know if it was—I think it was him who said, "If you can paint a picture of it, your message isn't clear enough." And that kind of flipped a switch, and I thought, "I can paint that picture. I need to draw it. I need to draw this process."

And so, that was the inspiration for this. I call it brand storyboarding and I draw the customer's journey. So if you have a website—if you're my client, it's not about it's not about you, it's about your clients. I draw how your clients feel before and after they have worked with you, and you're the guide. And then I added, with time, my own spin on it and other stuff. Yeah, that's how this started. Then I tried it out with some people and it worked, and I refined it.

MR: That's always good.

IL: And then it happened that I found many, or some people don't know yet what they want to sell theoretically. In a StoryBrand, they already have a working product, but some people who come to me, don't know that yet. And then I do a superpower diagram, which is also visual, which is overlapping circles. So I have several things, but this brand storyboarding, which is the before, after, and the bridge in between, that's the core thing that I'm doing.

MR: Interesting. That's a really fascinating way to look at it because I think people do relate to stories and they think of themselves in a story, but not as the hero, but as the guide, right? That's the story, I guess process where you think about "Star Wars," right? Luke is the focus, but Yoda, or you know, Obi-Wan Kenobi, they're the guides that help Luke achieve, you know, his goal, right? And you're sort of casting people who you work with in the Yoda/Obi-Wan Kenobi role as guides, because then, you know, your customers are the Luke Skywalkers in a sense, right?

IL: Mm-hmm. Exactly. So it's a little bit meta and it really helps me to have a drawing of it, so I can always go back—I don't even know if I'm a visual thinker. It's very spatial for me, this process, that I know exactly what is happening where, and I can always go back to it. And when we figure out the messaging, then I can go back to the guy with a problem to the hero and say, "Does this guy, we really want to hear that in this situation here."

And another interesting question is how did he end up in this problem? That's a philosophical problem. Whose fault is it? And what is wrong with society that this could happen? So that is helping to get deeper into the whole story.

MR: Right. Kind of like a root cause.

IL: Yeah.

MR: Looking at the root cause.

IL: Which is also a tip often a good headline for the website.

MR: And so, you've been doing this for a while. How do your clients react? I know how I reacted. I enjoyed the process and it's now a map that I can use. I can pull it up, and I was telling you before we started that my thought is in the fall when I start thinking about what I'm gonna do next, but that's gonna be one of the maps that I bring up and sort of think about what does it tell me? So How do your other clients like it and how are they using it?

IL: One said, "It's part therapy, part magic, and all clarity." That was very nice.

MR: Yeah.

IL: And how do they use it? Some put it on their website, but that's not the point of it. It's more about having the clarity. Then the people who come to me who are creative and who maybe also draw themselves, I always encourage them to do their own thing. I have a template, and so, they can use it and then should do their own drawings and their own illustrations. But yeah, some people put it on their websites or on their LinkedIn headers, so.

MR: I would think a good place to put it would be on the wall.

IL: Yeah, yeah.

MR: That I was hanging on the wall right here, so I can look at it every day and remember like, what am I doing here? Like, what's my purpose?

IL: I don't know if they're doing that. Maybe they say it, but then I don't see it.

MR: Right. You can't verify. Yeah.

IL: I see it if they have it in their LinkedIn header, but what is also happening, as a graphic element, and I'm now the graphic designer's talking, there's a lot of stuff on it. So to use it on the website can be tricky because it's a lot of words and a lot of drawings. What I'm doing when I have been doing websites based on the storyboards, is I extracted several elements from it and made separate drawings from it.

MR: Almost like a series of drawings that are connected. Sort of serves the same purpose, but it's not all in a single canvas, in that sense.

IL: Yeah. And it tends to look to look better. Yeah.

MR: I suppose the beauty of that too is you could take a piece of the story and zoom into detail on that piece of the story, right? If you do it in a series, you could start from the beginning and end up at the end and have detail on each piece, I suppose.

IL: Yeah. And what you can use it for—I have done that now with somebody. We do your storyboard, and then I asked her, "And now tell me your story." And she looked at the storyboard and told me the whole thing, and she could just go through it, and then you have a structure for it. It's a picture to find the right words and to find the right structure so you always know where you are in your brand story when you talk about it.

That's the basic thing. People tend to get, or I also, tend to get confused if we just talk about it without structure, and it's so clear on the left is the bad stuff on the right is the good stuff. And don't mix it up and don't talk about both in one sentence unless it's under LinkedIn headline.

MR: I could see that also being a really helpful, almost like a filtering mechanism where it says, "Okay, I've been offered—" Let's say you're running a company, your own company, or you're doing a thing and someone comes to you and says, Hey, I'd like you to do this thing for me. And you could think about it and say, "Well, where does this fit on my map?"

And if it fits in the old stuff, then it's real easy to say, "No, it doesn't fit what I do." If it goes over in the area where I'm heading to, then it's something you should consider taking, right? Or maybe the answer then is to come back to them and say, "Well, you're asking me to do this thing, which is what I used to do, but I found it wasn't effective for whatever reason. How would you feel about doing this new thing, which I'm doing, and let's fit it into there where I found that much more effective."

So it could also be an opportunity to, I not only identify but then convert someone or guide someone to a more effective thing that you're doing now. So someone wouldn't even have thought to come to you and ask for that thing. Then it gives you this opportunity to shift them to the new—

IL: That's true. That's true. I don't actually do illustrations anymore because it doesn't fit into my own plan. But what I'm doing sometimes is working on the messaging and the illustrations together with my clients. So we get into a Zoom call, and then I draw while we're talking and I do the illustrations. If they're happy with them, how they look like messy and sketchy, then everything is fine. If not, then—but so far they have been happy.

MR: So here's a question. You've done it with these on Zoom, so, you know, the assumption is somebody remote or not in the same physical place. Have you done this with someone in person where you're both on the same board?

IL: Yes.

MR: And then what is that experience like? Do you have them drawing as well and putting information on the same thing? Or do you act as sort of the scribe for them? How does that work? And it must depend on the person, I'm sure.

IL: Yeah. I haven't done so many of those, but I have. Now, the latest was on my holiday in Italy. I did one with my host. And I am acting as a scribe because I'm so used to it, although she's also drawing. But it would distract from the flow if I say, "And now you—" Then I would have to tell her where to draw and stuff. I didn't do that.

MR: That makes sense.

IL: If you're used to drawing digital, it can be tricky to go back to analog, and then you want to move something.

MR: No "Undo," yeah.

IL: No "Undo," and then I use scissors and scotch tape to put some somewhere else. And that also works. I mean, it's, it's messier.

MR: So the last question around this is you do it for individuals. Have you ever done it for a team of people where it's many people giving you feedback? Does that get confusing? Is it possible that's something that you've ever done?

IL: I've done it. It's possible. It's best done if everybody has their own—I did it in during the pandemic when everybody was at several places. And then there was no problem, I could hear everybody. It was a nonprofit organization about their website, and they needed to get onto the same page, although they were in different locations, and I was drawing the story. We were doing that together. It works well.

What I did last week was talking with a group of people in one place where they all were looking at the big screen, and then it can be problematic because I need to hear what they're saying. So they need to talk into the microphone. It's mostly technical problems, but otherwise, I love working with several people because it makes so much sense to bring them together and have them agree on whatever it is.

I did one session with management assistants at a conference celebrating their superpowers. So they were telling me what it is, they're doing, and then I was drawing the situations. That was just a celebratory thing, which was nice. And the last one that I did was about how to solve problems, and they came with ideas and I visualized them. I love working with teams.

MR: Cool. That's good.

IL: But mostly it's for—

MR: Individuals.

IL: Individuals right now.

MR: Interesting.

IL: It might change.

MR: So, I always ask this at this point, and that is, is there something exciting that you are getting ready to start working on now that you can talk about? Any new project or maybe a new direction or something?

IL: Not a new direction, but I have had these courses all the time, doing just as a, I wouldn't say hobby, but a little side thing, and my one-to-one work was the bulk of my business, which is still is, but now I am designing a—making it—because I have many courses by now, and it was getting too complicated, so now it's only one prize and one membership, and it's such a lovely group, and I decided to make a membership out of it instead of courses.

And that's something I'm excited about. We meet every Tuesday and such lovely people. I always look forward to it, and we draw together, we work on our messaging together, and yeah, that's a next thing that I'm working on.

MR: Kind of a diversification of, you know, the work that you're doing and doing something more. I know membership happen-

IL: I'm teaching my methodology there, the brand storyboarding, and all the visual—there's so many things. Visual frameworks is also very, very useful. Is what you're doing a pyramid, or is it a flywheel, or is it a a linear thing? Like my brand storyboarding? Is a A, B, C thing.

MR: Yeah.

IL: So I have been analyzing that, and there's something about finding your style which is also interesting. If you only can draw a stickman, how can you use them to convey your message? Like, for example, Tim Urban. You know him? "Wait But Why" who has these ugly drawings and is so popular and he is doing the wildest best job in communicating the stories. He's one of my heroes too.

MR: He's kind of leaning into his own, you know, limitations and making them work for him, right?

IL: Yes. Yes.

MR: I think that's what I love a lot about, when I see different sketch noters, at a certain point you can sort of identify, oh, that's a Diana Soriat. Oh, that's Nadine Rosa. Oh, that's Ben Crothers. Oh, that's, you know—they have a style that you can almost immediately identify just by looking at the work that they do, which is really interesting.

IL: Yeah. Yeah. And I was always convinced that I don't have a style. I thought I just don't draw well enough. But these shortcomings are the style—

MR: Yes.

IL: - in a way.

MR: Exactly. Exactly. They make your style you. That's for sure.

IL: Yeah. Yeah.

MR: So let's do a little shift now. I would love to hear about the tools that you use, and I think actually in many cases, I start with analog and then I go digital because the answer is pretty standard. But I think in your case, I'm going to go the opposite direction because—

IL: Oh, really?

MR: Yeah. You're so heavily focused on your digital work. I would love to hear the digital first and then talk about analog, like markers.

IL: Okay.

MR: We'll just do that for fun.

IL: Yeah. Okay. My analog favorite tool is Concepts on the iPad.

MR: Mh-mm.

IL: Yeah. Because it's vector if anybody knows what that is. You can move stuff around, you can scale it, you don't have to worry about resolution, and you have an infinite canvas. And that is just perfect for my work. I find it perfect for simple illustrations. If you work more painterly then Procreate is better, but otherwise, I'm very much in love with Concepts and it's getting better and better. So that's what I love using on the iPad.

Otherwise, I'm often using Adobe Illustrator, although I don't love it because I've used it for so many years. I have an old Cintiq that I bought long before the iPad was. A Wacom Cintiq that I can draw on. But I wouldn't buy that anymore. But now that I have it, I'm still using it.

MR: Just use it. And for those who don't know, a Cintiq is basically, it's like a tablet screen that you can draw on. It comes with a high-resolution pen with a tip, and I think an eraser. I had one of these a long time ago, it's got huge bulky cables that you plug into your machine. It's not portable at all. It's really meant for illustrators at a desk.

Pre-iPad, the Cintiq was amazing. Everybody wanted one. And once the iPad came out, I think that probably killed their business or much of it, unless you had a specific need for a desktop tool like that, which some do.

IL: But it still works. I bought it maybe 15 years ago or something like that.

MR: Still going.

IL: And it's still working. I just had to get an adapter for this old DVI back.

MR: Oh, yeah.

IL: Yeah, very old. Very old.

MR: Interesting.

IL: But it still works.

MR: Oh, that's good. That's good. That's been a good investment then. Your system is pretty—I think that when you did my work, you did use the Cintiq and Illustrator. You have the way you process stuff.

IL: It's not portable. It's plugged in here. Everything is just working, and that's why I'm using it.

MR: Yeah. Exactly. Great. Are there any tools—

IL: So that was digital.

MR: Okay. Got it. So now let's switch over to analog. What do you use in your analog side?

IL: When it's just functional drawings, then I use Neuland pens and markers. I like best the Neuland flexible tip one. That is—oh, no, I don't have one here. Light blue and a flexible tip. And it's the fine—yes, exactly. This one. And for shading, I use art markers, Neuland. You have them there? No.

MR: Yep. I think so. Somewhere here. Yeah. I think they have the flex--they have almost like a brush nib.

IL: They have a brush nip. Yeah. My two favorite ones for that is the light gray. I think it's 102 shade and yellow. These are the two shade. So that's functional graphic facilitation drawings, and I don't use too many colors with it because it has to be fast and—

MR: Simplify. Yeah.

IL: Yeah. And for fun, I'm using also a black fine liner and ink tins, pencils, and a water brush.

MR: So you use some—

IL: I love watercolor.

MR: Do you have like a watercolor book that you use for that? Or are you doing it out in nature?

IL: Yeah, I do it everywhere.

MR: Okay, you have like a little—

IL: I don't even use—sometimes also A3 bigger ones.

MR: Oh, really? Okay.

IL: Yeah. And I don't use—I mean, I love watercolor paper, but I don't use it that much because when I then photograph it, then I have the paper structures, yeah, the texture so I'm using smooth paper.

MR: Okay. Well, if you know what you're doing, then that works well.

IL: Yeah. So I love that. Watercolor is my favorite look for drawing. It's fun. There's this messiness and I like it if it's expressive.

MR: Have you ever used—

IL: That's—what?

MR: That's your tool set. I was wondering, have you ever used Procreate or Paper with their watercolor tools? And how do you feel about those?

IL:
I'm using Procreate for another thing that I'm doing that is very fun. And that is projecting drawings on houses.

MR: Uh-huh.

IL: I'm doing that at city festivals and stuff. I got hired to do that. And so, people come by and I draw them, and they get sometimes very big projected onto a facade. I'm using Procreate for that because the presentation mode is working best with that. And I'm using some light pens there.

MR: Uh.

IL: Yeah. I found them. They are pre-installed called Light Pens and they have wonderful effects, so you don't have to do much. It looks just great.

MR: Oh, cool.

IL: And then I do portraits of people with some light effects around them.

MR: Ah, nice. Well, we'll have to see if you can send us some samples of this so we can put links in the show notes so people could see.

IL: Yeah, it's called Illuminations.dk.

MR: Ah, okay. Illuminations.

IL: Yeah. I sent you the link.

MR: Great. Great. Well, we'll definitely have links to everything we can get from Ingrid so you can take a look at her work and see the breadth of the things that she's up to.

IL: Yeah. I've had it for many years, so it's there.

MR: Some opportunity for inspiration, I think for someone to think, "Oh, I'd never thought about that. Maybe I could do that in my town."

IL: Yeah.

MR: That'd be fun.

IL: Mm-hmm.

MR: Well, let's shift to—this is the part where I like to have people talk about tips, and I like to have three tips that you would give someone. And I frame it as imagine someone's listening, they're individual thinking. Obviously, if they've made it this far into the podcast, they're somehow interested in visual thinking, but maybe they feel like they've hit a plateau, they need some inspiration. What would be three tips that you would give that person to encourage them or maybe change their perspective?

IL: Three things. Message first. Don't worry about how it looks to start with and just say something with your drawing. If there's something you want to say, then make a little drawing out of it. And it doesn't have to be grand at all. It doesn't have to look great. Just have it say something.

And that then works in two directions. When it doesn't quite say what you want, then you maybe develop your drawing, but it can also be that when you see it on paper, then your message maybe evolves from there. So it's not only about drawing, it's also about the storytelling. What is it exactly you want to say? And that's why it's so useful. Yeah.

MR: That's a good one. I like that.

IL: Otherwise tips. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Don't try to make art. Keep it simple in every way possible. Use only one color. I use black lines and one color. That always looks good. Or shading, and one color. And that way it doesn't go wrong. And especially if it's light and bright colors, that's a secret.

MR: Good contrast with black, I think, right? yeah.

IL: Yes.

MR: I tend to lean toward Aqua. Aqua is my favorite contrast color. A bright aqua with black. Anyway.

IL: I remember I copied that from you back then.

MR: Good. Good, good, good.

IL: Yeah. But I switched. When I'm only using one color, I always use, nowadays yellow.

MR: Yellow, yeah.

IL: And if I have two colors, I use gray and red, but that's also just—

MR: The gray, I suspect would probably be your shadowing and such, right? Little shadows.

IL: Yes.

MR: Yeah. What about a third tip? What would be the last one for you?

IL: Experiment. Maybe try watercolor and several apps and use it in your every day. I think that's something—and either in work or to communicate that. That's it. Use it to communicate. That is the whole difference between making art. If you're just drawing to make something pretty, you don't have a direction. And if you use it to—for example, make a drawing for somebody and say, "Thank you." And just a little smiley and write a bubble—

MR: Just a little something. Yeah.

IL: Yes. That gives a different dimension on it. That makes it easier to draw. And also you get nice feedback and nobody will say, "Oh, that looks terrible," because you have a nice message with it.

MR: I have a little something here that my friend William, he wrote a book called "The Conquering Creative," and he sent me—it's so bright you can't see it. Yeah.

IL: Yeah. No, no, no, no. I see it. Yeah, yeah.

MR: It's like a little note. It's a little note with a drawing. Really nice for them. And I've set it up on my table here. I look at it every day just because it's such a nice sentiment.

IL: Yeah, exactly.

MR: Well, this is really great. It's been so fun to have you talk about your process. Talk about where's the best place to go see your work. Is there one place or a couple places that would be a good place to start?

IL: I have a website called lilbranding.com. And from there I link to my new membership site called visualminds.org. where there are all the courses. I do a webinar every month, a free webinar idea. It used to be called Little Branding Cafe, but maybe I go away and call it now Visual Brand Visual Minds Idea Workshop, where people come with their ideas and challenges, and then I draw it. It's like what we did, a mini session, for free. So I do that.

MR: Like a challenge for you, right? Yeah.

IL: Yeah. And then it's usually very nice because people also come with advice and with their ideas in the chat. So that's a fun thing, and I try to do that every month. On my website, there's a button to sign up for that.

MR: So lillbranding would probably be the best place to start, and everything, link from there. Yeah.

IL: Mm-hmm. lilbranding.com.

MR: That sounds great.

**IL:**And right now I'm mostly on LinkedIn. I try to post regularly there. Now with big idea sketch cast, I'm also starting on YouTube, and maybe I will also go back to Instagram at some point, but I didn't have so much time.

MR: Yeah. You have to choose your battles, right? You have to pick the places where it makes most sense.

IL: Yeah.

MR: I would think that your focus on LinkedIn makes sense in the context of the work you do, to me.

IL: On business. Yeah.

MR: Cool. Well, thanks so much for being on the show, and thanks for all the work you're doing. I'm so thankful for you being in the community and sharing your work and being a teacher. And the kind opportunity you gave me to kind of work through my things and talk with me through the stuff that I was thinking about at the time, it was just so generous.

I really love your attitude and your welcoming nature, and you're so calm and relaxed. It's just nice to have another person like you in the community. Thank you for all you do.

IL: Well, thank you for inviting me and for doing the session with me. It's an honor because you were one of the first people who—where I learned sketchnoting. I took a workshop a few years ago, and yeah. So thank you for that.

MR: You're so welcome. Well, everyone, this is another episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast wrapped up. So until the next episode, we'll talk to y'all soon.

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תוכן מסופק על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde. כל תוכן הפודקאסטים כולל פרקים, גרפיקה ותיאורי פודקאסטים מועלים ומסופקים ישירות על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde או שותף פלטפורמת הפודקאסט שלו. אם אתה מאמין שמישהו משתמש ביצירה שלך המוגנת בזכויות יוצרים ללא רשותך, אתה יכול לעקוב אחר התהליך המתואר כאן https://he.player.fm/legal.

In this episode, Ingrid describes the evolution of her visual thinking journey which now plays a crucial role in assisting both creative professionals and business owners in understanding their client's experiences through Big Picture storyboarding.

Sponsored by Concepts

This episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast is brought to you by Concepts, a perfect tool for sketchnoting, available on iOS, Windows, and Android.

Concepts' vector-based drawing feature gives you the power to adjust your drawings saving hours and hours of rework.

Vectors provide clean, crisp, high-resolution output for your sketchnotes at any size you need s ideal for sketchnoting.

SEARCH in your favorite app store to give it a try.

Running Order

  • Intro
  • Welcome
  • Who is Ingrid Lill
  • Origin Story
  • Ingrid Lill's current work
  • Sponsor: Concepts
  • Tips
  • Tools
  • Where to find Ingrid Lill
  • Outro

Links

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tools

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tips

  1. Message first. Use your drawing to communicate.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Experiment. Use your art on your everyday use.

Credits

  • Producer: Alec Pulianas
  • Theme music: Jon Schiedermayer
  • Shownotes and transcripts: Esther Odoro

Subscribe to the Sketchnote Army Podcast

You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube or your favorite podcast listening source.

Support the Podcast

To support the creation, production and hosting of the Sketchnote Army Podcast, buy one of Mike Rohde’s bestselling books. Use code ROHDE40 at Peachpit.com for 40% off!

Episode Transcript

Mike Rohde: Hey everyone, it's Mike, and I'm here with Ingrid Lill. Ingrid, it's so good to have you on the show. Thanks for coming.

Ingrid Lill: Thank you, Mike for having me. You're one of my heroes, one of the first ones who taught me how to sketch note.

MR: Oh, thank you. That's so nice of you. Well, you know, probably we'll get into it a little bit is some of the work that we did together, but I think before we get into that discussion, I would love for you to sort of set the context. Who are you and what do you do with the work that you do?

IL: My name is Ingrid Lill. I'm originally from Germany. I've been living in Denmark for 20 years on the countryside. And I—should I tell my whole story already now?

MR: Sure. That was my next question is how did you end up in the place where you are? Maybe start—

IL: Maybe first, what I'm doing now.

MR: Yeah.

IL: I am a communication designer turn business coach with a pencil. I am helping coaches, consultants, and creatives, and whoever needs to do that, clarify their message through visual thinking, and I do that on several levels.

MR: Cool.

IL: Yeah.

MR: And you've done that with me. So we can talk about that in the future. I would love to hear now, how did you end up in that place? You talked about being a communication designer. It sounds like from our discussions before, what you did wasn't so far away from what I did when I came out of university, which was graphic design.

IL: That's true.

MR: Yeah.

IL: That's true, graphic design, yeah, yeah.

MR: Really old-school graphic design with pens and—

IL: Really old school.

MR: —rulers and all that old stuff.

IL: Yeah, yeah. I mean, as a child, I drew, and as many people who are drawing and want to also make money, I studied graphic design. And I had drawing and painting at the side as an artist and made graphic design and all this visual communication stuff to make money.

When I started out on it, when I graduated, there were no computers, so we did actually hand-drawn layouts which was fun, but that disappeared when computers came on the scene. And then for many years, all the drawing was really only hobby and computer was it. And I was also happy for it because I didn't really like the manual graphic design work.

Yeah, and then I worked as a graphic designer and an art director, and several jobs in this thing. Also, on my own, had my own business. And at some point, I got tired of it. I was tired of having this divide between the really creative me on one side and the job, the making money on the other side. So I wanted to bring it together. And when I heard about, or when I saw the first graphic facilitation things on the internet, I thought, "Huh, what is that?" It was like a revelation.

And I started investigating, and it was a totally new way of drawing for me. Before, drawing was art, and then I found out drawing can be communication. I've never done my own illustrations when I was working as a graphic designer because I thought I'm not good enough for it or something, whatever I thought.

But this kind of drawing, which was so simple that I thought, I can do that. And so, I learned that. And I also knew if I wanted to get out and make a business, build a business that is more me and more fun and more creative, I needed to draw, I needed to dare to be visible with it.

And I started posting drawings on Facebook. And I remember the first time I posted something, a drawing I did was in some thread a discussion on Facebook. And I did a little drawing and I uploaded it, and my heart was pounding, and I thought, "Huh." I don't why.

MR: What did I do?

IL: What did I do? Yeah, yeah. But nobody even noticed. It was just, I had a point to make and I did a drawing that illustrated that point. It was not about that the drawing had to be beautiful. And that was kind of the—how do you say that? I crossed the boundary with that. Drawing is useful, can be useful, and it can also be fun and all other kinds of stuff, but it doesn't have to be. It just has to convey a message. And that's where all my—

MR: Functional.

IL: Yeah, functional, but also expressing your personality in a way it always does. And that's what all my work now is revolving around. I did also some graphic recording here, locally in Denmark. But what happened then was when I posted my drawings on Facebook, people liked them. I was actually telling my story about finding out what to do next. People liked it, and then I started giving drawing classes, and my business evolved in other directions.

MR: Something interesting I thought of when you were talking about, you saw a graphic record or you saw a facilitation, and up to that point you thought, "Well, I never used illustration in my graphic design work 'cause I didn't think I was good enough." I thought the same thing. I always thought of myself as a graphic designer.

And for people that don't understand that about that time, if I'm thinking it's about the right time, that was like the golden age, the peak of illustration where people could make a living doing illustration work. Like many people. If you were a good enough artist, you could make a living. And it was really great quality stuff.

So when we say that, when Ingrid and I say that we weren't good enough, it's because we were up against the best illustrators in the entire world were at their peak, and we really weren't good enough to compete at that in that game, in the game that they were playing, which was, you know, stuff that people are using like AI to do now, or mid-journey or something like—

IL: Airbrush stuff. Oh God.

MR: Right, right. So there was very, very specific skills, and because there wasn't really computer capability, it was all analog stuff, which is really hard to do, and therefore it costs a lot and only the best organizations could afford to do that. So there was like this whole—when you say, "Oh, I just wasn't good enough." And you think, well, you know, in that context, there really was amazing work being done, and we really weren't good enough to play that game.

So what we realized, I think you and I was, well, what if we play a different game? What if we play a game where we just do our simple drawing to communicate and it's functional? And that was the thing that blew Ingrid's mind. Am I right in kind of guessing at that?

IL: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But also, what didn't occur to me back then was that I could make my own game. That I could make a business out of the drawings that I'm capable of doing. Maybe it would've been possible, probably but it didn't occur to me. I thought I needed to follow some mainstream something. And only when I became older and thought, now it's enough of trying to follow other people's ideas, now I'm making my own rules for myself.

MR: Yeah. So now let's step into the work that you and I did, which is representative of the kind of work you're doing for your clients. So about, I dunno, it was about two months ago or something like that. We're talking in August, so it was about two months ago maybe. Ingrid reached out to me and invited me to do a session with her over Zoom where she would talk with me about what I wanted to do with whatever I wanted to. So I chose, well, I've got these two books and I'm trying to figure out like, what's the next thing? Where do I go next?

So basically, Ingrid walked through with me and started going back into my history and asking me questions, and then visualizing this journey and starting to make sense of like what was in my head.

So in a sense, she was sketchnoting my thinking, but it was more than this. It wasn't so much just recording what I said. She was also facilitating by guiding me and asking questions, probing questions, and then visualizing it and sort of making sense of it, in the moment so I could see it all unfolding on the screen as she worked.

And then eventually, we finished that session, and then she kind of fixed up some things and added a little bit of color, and then there is a finished piece. Well, I'll put a link in the show notes for you so you could see what this looks like, including there's a recording of the session that you can watch that Ingrid has shared. So you can watch it happen and then see the final output.

As a visual thinker to go through that experience is really fascinating because it's sort of dawned on me a little bit what other people often feel like when I do visualizations of what they're saying. I think I kind of do something kind of similar, maybe in a different venue in my user experience design work where I'm extracting their thinking and trying to make sense of it. But it's the same kind of activity.

So talk to me like, when did you come to that specific expression of the work that you're doing? Is that a pretty recent thing? How long have you been doing that?

IL: No, that's several years. It's not recent. It's evolving. And the thing that you have been on is my very new big idea sketch cast which is my idea or at the start of a YouTube channel that I'm trying, and I'm interviewing interesting people. So this was only a little thing. Normally when I do with people, it's much longer.

MR: Yeah.

IL: There were several things coming together. One was that I needed to build my business, so I wanted to build my business, and I had to learn how to do that. Before, as a graphic designer, I was only doing stuff that was coming to me anyway. I showed my portfolio and didn't really think so much about my message. And then when I wanted to have my business more as an expression of—or I wanted to direct it in a certain direction, which is more drawing, more me, more creative, I studied more marketing.

And I read Donald Miller's "Building a StoryBrand." That had a big influence on me, and I thought, "This is it. He's right." I knew he is right, but still, I couldn't wrap my head around it for my own business. And then I heard—I don't know if it was—I think it was him who said, "If you can paint a picture of it, your message isn't clear enough." And that kind of flipped a switch, and I thought, "I can paint that picture. I need to draw it. I need to draw this process."

And so, that was the inspiration for this. I call it brand storyboarding and I draw the customer's journey. So if you have a website—if you're my client, it's not about it's not about you, it's about your clients. I draw how your clients feel before and after they have worked with you, and you're the guide. And then I added, with time, my own spin on it and other stuff. Yeah, that's how this started. Then I tried it out with some people and it worked, and I refined it.

MR: That's always good.

IL: And then it happened that I found many, or some people don't know yet what they want to sell theoretically. In a StoryBrand, they already have a working product, but some people who come to me, don't know that yet. And then I do a superpower diagram, which is also visual, which is overlapping circles. So I have several things, but this brand storyboarding, which is the before, after, and the bridge in between, that's the core thing that I'm doing.

MR: Interesting. That's a really fascinating way to look at it because I think people do relate to stories and they think of themselves in a story, but not as the hero, but as the guide, right? That's the story, I guess process where you think about "Star Wars," right? Luke is the focus, but Yoda, or you know, Obi-Wan Kenobi, they're the guides that help Luke achieve, you know, his goal, right? And you're sort of casting people who you work with in the Yoda/Obi-Wan Kenobi role as guides, because then, you know, your customers are the Luke Skywalkers in a sense, right?

IL: Mm-hmm. Exactly. So it's a little bit meta and it really helps me to have a drawing of it, so I can always go back—I don't even know if I'm a visual thinker. It's very spatial for me, this process, that I know exactly what is happening where, and I can always go back to it. And when we figure out the messaging, then I can go back to the guy with a problem to the hero and say, "Does this guy, we really want to hear that in this situation here."

And another interesting question is how did he end up in this problem? That's a philosophical problem. Whose fault is it? And what is wrong with society that this could happen? So that is helping to get deeper into the whole story.

MR: Right. Kind of like a root cause.

IL: Yeah.

MR: Looking at the root cause.

IL: Which is also a tip often a good headline for the website.

MR: And so, you've been doing this for a while. How do your clients react? I know how I reacted. I enjoyed the process and it's now a map that I can use. I can pull it up, and I was telling you before we started that my thought is in the fall when I start thinking about what I'm gonna do next, but that's gonna be one of the maps that I bring up and sort of think about what does it tell me? So How do your other clients like it and how are they using it?

IL: One said, "It's part therapy, part magic, and all clarity." That was very nice.

MR: Yeah.

IL: And how do they use it? Some put it on their website, but that's not the point of it. It's more about having the clarity. Then the people who come to me who are creative and who maybe also draw themselves, I always encourage them to do their own thing. I have a template, and so, they can use it and then should do their own drawings and their own illustrations. But yeah, some people put it on their websites or on their LinkedIn headers, so.

MR: I would think a good place to put it would be on the wall.

IL: Yeah, yeah.

MR: That I was hanging on the wall right here, so I can look at it every day and remember like, what am I doing here? Like, what's my purpose?

IL: I don't know if they're doing that. Maybe they say it, but then I don't see it.

MR: Right. You can't verify. Yeah.

IL: I see it if they have it in their LinkedIn header, but what is also happening, as a graphic element, and I'm now the graphic designer's talking, there's a lot of stuff on it. So to use it on the website can be tricky because it's a lot of words and a lot of drawings. What I'm doing when I have been doing websites based on the storyboards, is I extracted several elements from it and made separate drawings from it.

MR: Almost like a series of drawings that are connected. Sort of serves the same purpose, but it's not all in a single canvas, in that sense.

IL: Yeah. And it tends to look to look better. Yeah.

MR: I suppose the beauty of that too is you could take a piece of the story and zoom into detail on that piece of the story, right? If you do it in a series, you could start from the beginning and end up at the end and have detail on each piece, I suppose.

IL: Yeah. And what you can use it for—I have done that now with somebody. We do your storyboard, and then I asked her, "And now tell me your story." And she looked at the storyboard and told me the whole thing, and she could just go through it, and then you have a structure for it. It's a picture to find the right words and to find the right structure so you always know where you are in your brand story when you talk about it.

That's the basic thing. People tend to get, or I also, tend to get confused if we just talk about it without structure, and it's so clear on the left is the bad stuff on the right is the good stuff. And don't mix it up and don't talk about both in one sentence unless it's under LinkedIn headline.

MR: I could see that also being a really helpful, almost like a filtering mechanism where it says, "Okay, I've been offered—" Let's say you're running a company, your own company, or you're doing a thing and someone comes to you and says, Hey, I'd like you to do this thing for me. And you could think about it and say, "Well, where does this fit on my map?"

And if it fits in the old stuff, then it's real easy to say, "No, it doesn't fit what I do." If it goes over in the area where I'm heading to, then it's something you should consider taking, right? Or maybe the answer then is to come back to them and say, "Well, you're asking me to do this thing, which is what I used to do, but I found it wasn't effective for whatever reason. How would you feel about doing this new thing, which I'm doing, and let's fit it into there where I found that much more effective."

So it could also be an opportunity to, I not only identify but then convert someone or guide someone to a more effective thing that you're doing now. So someone wouldn't even have thought to come to you and ask for that thing. Then it gives you this opportunity to shift them to the new—

IL: That's true. That's true. I don't actually do illustrations anymore because it doesn't fit into my own plan. But what I'm doing sometimes is working on the messaging and the illustrations together with my clients. So we get into a Zoom call, and then I draw while we're talking and I do the illustrations. If they're happy with them, how they look like messy and sketchy, then everything is fine. If not, then—but so far they have been happy.

MR: So here's a question. You've done it with these on Zoom, so, you know, the assumption is somebody remote or not in the same physical place. Have you done this with someone in person where you're both on the same board?

IL: Yes.

MR: And then what is that experience like? Do you have them drawing as well and putting information on the same thing? Or do you act as sort of the scribe for them? How does that work? And it must depend on the person, I'm sure.

IL: Yeah. I haven't done so many of those, but I have. Now, the latest was on my holiday in Italy. I did one with my host. And I am acting as a scribe because I'm so used to it, although she's also drawing. But it would distract from the flow if I say, "And now you—" Then I would have to tell her where to draw and stuff. I didn't do that.

MR: That makes sense.

IL: If you're used to drawing digital, it can be tricky to go back to analog, and then you want to move something.

MR: No "Undo," yeah.

IL: No "Undo," and then I use scissors and scotch tape to put some somewhere else. And that also works. I mean, it's, it's messier.

MR: So the last question around this is you do it for individuals. Have you ever done it for a team of people where it's many people giving you feedback? Does that get confusing? Is it possible that's something that you've ever done?

IL: I've done it. It's possible. It's best done if everybody has their own—I did it in during the pandemic when everybody was at several places. And then there was no problem, I could hear everybody. It was a nonprofit organization about their website, and they needed to get onto the same page, although they were in different locations, and I was drawing the story. We were doing that together. It works well.

What I did last week was talking with a group of people in one place where they all were looking at the big screen, and then it can be problematic because I need to hear what they're saying. So they need to talk into the microphone. It's mostly technical problems, but otherwise, I love working with several people because it makes so much sense to bring them together and have them agree on whatever it is.

I did one session with management assistants at a conference celebrating their superpowers. So they were telling me what it is, they're doing, and then I was drawing the situations. That was just a celebratory thing, which was nice. And the last one that I did was about how to solve problems, and they came with ideas and I visualized them. I love working with teams.

MR: Cool. That's good.

IL: But mostly it's for—

MR: Individuals.

IL: Individuals right now.

MR: Interesting.

IL: It might change.

MR: So, I always ask this at this point, and that is, is there something exciting that you are getting ready to start working on now that you can talk about? Any new project or maybe a new direction or something?

IL: Not a new direction, but I have had these courses all the time, doing just as a, I wouldn't say hobby, but a little side thing, and my one-to-one work was the bulk of my business, which is still is, but now I am designing a—making it—because I have many courses by now, and it was getting too complicated, so now it's only one prize and one membership, and it's such a lovely group, and I decided to make a membership out of it instead of courses.

And that's something I'm excited about. We meet every Tuesday and such lovely people. I always look forward to it, and we draw together, we work on our messaging together, and yeah, that's a next thing that I'm working on.

MR: Kind of a diversification of, you know, the work that you're doing and doing something more. I know membership happen-

IL: I'm teaching my methodology there, the brand storyboarding, and all the visual—there's so many things. Visual frameworks is also very, very useful. Is what you're doing a pyramid, or is it a flywheel, or is it a a linear thing? Like my brand storyboarding? Is a A, B, C thing.

MR: Yeah.

IL: So I have been analyzing that, and there's something about finding your style which is also interesting. If you only can draw a stickman, how can you use them to convey your message? Like, for example, Tim Urban. You know him? "Wait But Why" who has these ugly drawings and is so popular and he is doing the wildest best job in communicating the stories. He's one of my heroes too.

MR: He's kind of leaning into his own, you know, limitations and making them work for him, right?

IL: Yes. Yes.

MR: I think that's what I love a lot about, when I see different sketch noters, at a certain point you can sort of identify, oh, that's a Diana Soriat. Oh, that's Nadine Rosa. Oh, that's Ben Crothers. Oh, that's, you know—they have a style that you can almost immediately identify just by looking at the work that they do, which is really interesting.

IL: Yeah. Yeah. And I was always convinced that I don't have a style. I thought I just don't draw well enough. But these shortcomings are the style—

MR: Yes.

IL: - in a way.

MR: Exactly. Exactly. They make your style you. That's for sure.

IL: Yeah. Yeah.

MR: So let's do a little shift now. I would love to hear about the tools that you use, and I think actually in many cases, I start with analog and then I go digital because the answer is pretty standard. But I think in your case, I'm going to go the opposite direction because—

IL: Oh, really?

MR: Yeah. You're so heavily focused on your digital work. I would love to hear the digital first and then talk about analog, like markers.

IL: Okay.

MR: We'll just do that for fun.

IL: Yeah. Okay. My analog favorite tool is Concepts on the iPad.

MR: Mh-mm.

IL: Yeah. Because it's vector if anybody knows what that is. You can move stuff around, you can scale it, you don't have to worry about resolution, and you have an infinite canvas. And that is just perfect for my work. I find it perfect for simple illustrations. If you work more painterly then Procreate is better, but otherwise, I'm very much in love with Concepts and it's getting better and better. So that's what I love using on the iPad.

Otherwise, I'm often using Adobe Illustrator, although I don't love it because I've used it for so many years. I have an old Cintiq that I bought long before the iPad was. A Wacom Cintiq that I can draw on. But I wouldn't buy that anymore. But now that I have it, I'm still using it.

MR: Just use it. And for those who don't know, a Cintiq is basically, it's like a tablet screen that you can draw on. It comes with a high-resolution pen with a tip, and I think an eraser. I had one of these a long time ago, it's got huge bulky cables that you plug into your machine. It's not portable at all. It's really meant for illustrators at a desk.

Pre-iPad, the Cintiq was amazing. Everybody wanted one. And once the iPad came out, I think that probably killed their business or much of it, unless you had a specific need for a desktop tool like that, which some do.

IL: But it still works. I bought it maybe 15 years ago or something like that.

MR: Still going.

IL: And it's still working. I just had to get an adapter for this old DVI back.

MR: Oh, yeah.

IL: Yeah, very old. Very old.

MR: Interesting.

IL: But it still works.

MR: Oh, that's good. That's good. That's been a good investment then. Your system is pretty—I think that when you did my work, you did use the Cintiq and Illustrator. You have the way you process stuff.

IL: It's not portable. It's plugged in here. Everything is just working, and that's why I'm using it.

MR: Yeah. Exactly. Great. Are there any tools—

IL: So that was digital.

MR: Okay. Got it. So now let's switch over to analog. What do you use in your analog side?

IL: When it's just functional drawings, then I use Neuland pens and markers. I like best the Neuland flexible tip one. That is—oh, no, I don't have one here. Light blue and a flexible tip. And it's the fine—yes, exactly. This one. And for shading, I use art markers, Neuland. You have them there? No.

MR: Yep. I think so. Somewhere here. Yeah. I think they have the flex--they have almost like a brush nib.

IL: They have a brush nip. Yeah. My two favorite ones for that is the light gray. I think it's 102 shade and yellow. These are the two shade. So that's functional graphic facilitation drawings, and I don't use too many colors with it because it has to be fast and—

MR: Simplify. Yeah.

IL: Yeah. And for fun, I'm using also a black fine liner and ink tins, pencils, and a water brush.

MR: So you use some—

IL: I love watercolor.

MR: Do you have like a watercolor book that you use for that? Or are you doing it out in nature?

IL: Yeah, I do it everywhere.

MR: Okay, you have like a little—

IL: I don't even use—sometimes also A3 bigger ones.

MR: Oh, really? Okay.

IL: Yeah. And I don't use—I mean, I love watercolor paper, but I don't use it that much because when I then photograph it, then I have the paper structures, yeah, the texture so I'm using smooth paper.

MR: Okay. Well, if you know what you're doing, then that works well.

IL: Yeah. So I love that. Watercolor is my favorite look for drawing. It's fun. There's this messiness and I like it if it's expressive.

MR: Have you ever used—

IL: That's—what?

MR: That's your tool set. I was wondering, have you ever used Procreate or Paper with their watercolor tools? And how do you feel about those?

IL:
I'm using Procreate for another thing that I'm doing that is very fun. And that is projecting drawings on houses.

MR: Uh-huh.

IL: I'm doing that at city festivals and stuff. I got hired to do that. And so, people come by and I draw them, and they get sometimes very big projected onto a facade. I'm using Procreate for that because the presentation mode is working best with that. And I'm using some light pens there.

MR: Uh.

IL: Yeah. I found them. They are pre-installed called Light Pens and they have wonderful effects, so you don't have to do much. It looks just great.

MR: Oh, cool.

IL: And then I do portraits of people with some light effects around them.

MR: Ah, nice. Well, we'll have to see if you can send us some samples of this so we can put links in the show notes so people could see.

IL: Yeah, it's called Illuminations.dk.

MR: Ah, okay. Illuminations.

IL: Yeah. I sent you the link.

MR: Great. Great. Well, we'll definitely have links to everything we can get from Ingrid so you can take a look at her work and see the breadth of the things that she's up to.

IL: Yeah. I've had it for many years, so it's there.

MR: Some opportunity for inspiration, I think for someone to think, "Oh, I'd never thought about that. Maybe I could do that in my town."

IL: Yeah.

MR: That'd be fun.

IL: Mm-hmm.

MR: Well, let's shift to—this is the part where I like to have people talk about tips, and I like to have three tips that you would give someone. And I frame it as imagine someone's listening, they're individual thinking. Obviously, if they've made it this far into the podcast, they're somehow interested in visual thinking, but maybe they feel like they've hit a plateau, they need some inspiration. What would be three tips that you would give that person to encourage them or maybe change their perspective?

IL: Three things. Message first. Don't worry about how it looks to start with and just say something with your drawing. If there's something you want to say, then make a little drawing out of it. And it doesn't have to be grand at all. It doesn't have to look great. Just have it say something.

And that then works in two directions. When it doesn't quite say what you want, then you maybe develop your drawing, but it can also be that when you see it on paper, then your message maybe evolves from there. So it's not only about drawing, it's also about the storytelling. What is it exactly you want to say? And that's why it's so useful. Yeah.

MR: That's a good one. I like that.

IL: Otherwise tips. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Don't try to make art. Keep it simple in every way possible. Use only one color. I use black lines and one color. That always looks good. Or shading, and one color. And that way it doesn't go wrong. And especially if it's light and bright colors, that's a secret.

MR: Good contrast with black, I think, right? yeah.

IL: Yes.

MR: I tend to lean toward Aqua. Aqua is my favorite contrast color. A bright aqua with black. Anyway.

IL: I remember I copied that from you back then.

MR: Good. Good, good, good.

IL: Yeah. But I switched. When I'm only using one color, I always use, nowadays yellow.

MR: Yellow, yeah.

IL: And if I have two colors, I use gray and red, but that's also just—

MR: The gray, I suspect would probably be your shadowing and such, right? Little shadows.

IL: Yes.

MR: Yeah. What about a third tip? What would be the last one for you?

IL: Experiment. Maybe try watercolor and several apps and use it in your every day. I think that's something—and either in work or to communicate that. That's it. Use it to communicate. That is the whole difference between making art. If you're just drawing to make something pretty, you don't have a direction. And if you use it to—for example, make a drawing for somebody and say, "Thank you." And just a little smiley and write a bubble—

MR: Just a little something. Yeah.

IL: Yes. That gives a different dimension on it. That makes it easier to draw. And also you get nice feedback and nobody will say, "Oh, that looks terrible," because you have a nice message with it.

MR: I have a little something here that my friend William, he wrote a book called "The Conquering Creative," and he sent me—it's so bright you can't see it. Yeah.

IL: Yeah. No, no, no, no. I see it. Yeah, yeah.

MR: It's like a little note. It's a little note with a drawing. Really nice for them. And I've set it up on my table here. I look at it every day just because it's such a nice sentiment.

IL: Yeah, exactly.

MR: Well, this is really great. It's been so fun to have you talk about your process. Talk about where's the best place to go see your work. Is there one place or a couple places that would be a good place to start?

IL: I have a website called lilbranding.com. And from there I link to my new membership site called visualminds.org. where there are all the courses. I do a webinar every month, a free webinar idea. It used to be called Little Branding Cafe, but maybe I go away and call it now Visual Brand Visual Minds Idea Workshop, where people come with their ideas and challenges, and then I draw it. It's like what we did, a mini session, for free. So I do that.

MR: Like a challenge for you, right? Yeah.

IL: Yeah. And then it's usually very nice because people also come with advice and with their ideas in the chat. So that's a fun thing, and I try to do that every month. On my website, there's a button to sign up for that.

MR: So lillbranding would probably be the best place to start, and everything, link from there. Yeah.

IL: Mm-hmm. lilbranding.com.

MR: That sounds great.

**IL:**And right now I'm mostly on LinkedIn. I try to post regularly there. Now with big idea sketch cast, I'm also starting on YouTube, and maybe I will also go back to Instagram at some point, but I didn't have so much time.

MR: Yeah. You have to choose your battles, right? You have to pick the places where it makes most sense.

IL: Yeah.

MR: I would think that your focus on LinkedIn makes sense in the context of the work you do, to me.

IL: On business. Yeah.

MR: Cool. Well, thanks so much for being on the show, and thanks for all the work you're doing. I'm so thankful for you being in the community and sharing your work and being a teacher. And the kind opportunity you gave me to kind of work through my things and talk with me through the stuff that I was thinking about at the time, it was just so generous.

I really love your attitude and your welcoming nature, and you're so calm and relaxed. It's just nice to have another person like you in the community. Thank you for all you do.

IL: Well, thank you for inviting me and for doing the session with me. It's an honor because you were one of the first people who—where I learned sketchnoting. I took a workshop a few years ago, and yeah. So thank you for that.

MR: You're so welcome. Well, everyone, this is another episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast wrapped up. So until the next episode, we'll talk to y'all soon.

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