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What does “Drawing Together” mean to you?

“Can I draw something here?”

What would your response be when a participant walks up to your chart with an ask like that?

I remember a time when I were extremely protective of my charts and workspace as a graphic recorder.

One of my greatest fears used to be markers going missing and pastels falling out of place, as collaborators or participants helped themselves to my supplies. Or random extra markings over “my” work that I can neither account for, nor make a sensible picture out of…

I was particularly riled by an incident. A graphic recorder at the same event asked if he could borrow my supplies while I was working with them. At the same meeting, the client did not prepare markers for their participants’ group work and decided to borrow mine — and the set was returned with markers or marker caps missing (thankfully, later found).

This bothered me.

I confess I was offended further when someone suggested that it was normal to lose markers after a graphic recording assignment. “Well, I certainly did not want to spend my time and money replacing hard-to-find markers lost by people who should have prepared their own supplies instead of dipping into mine!” Not especially when I have projects the following day too!

[I am reminded of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins that Jesus told. “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’” (Matthew 25:8-9 NKJV)]

What drawing together is NOT: it is not being entitled to what is rightfully someone else’s. Drawing together is not being irresponsible for your own work and your participation, yet expecting someone else to make up for you.

Back in the present, the lady before me asked, “Can I draw something here?”

My work is supposed to draw together people.

Yes, I still guard my supplies with the eyes of a hawk, as that is wisdom!

But the context here was very different. She was clearly a participant who wanted to participate and leave a mark in some way, at the end of a delicate and intimate discussion. She was honouring the process and the work by asking for permission. Nor was she a flight risk who might run off with my markers.

“Go ahead.” :slightly_smiling_face:

(Never mind I had no clue about what she does and how she would do.)

She made a child-like purple star and very patiently coloured it in with a grape-scented marker, and I continued extending from thence… which meant more stars I hadn’t expected.

What does drawing together mean to you?

p.s. Here’s the graphic recording of the session. Can you spot the original purple star that sparked off the constellations?

Graphic recording of CHAT Work in Progress session 2.1, “Screwed-Up Moments”