Drawing the Unspeakable: Sketching The System

Words often fall short in making sense of the complex and wicked problems of the world, especially when we need to collaborate and make sense of complexity across language and lived experiences. Live sketching helps us make sense of complex messes together. We pay attention to pictures and images differently than we listen to words, we can evoke deeper listening in the engaged co-creation of images through visual craft.

In this brief visual thinking workshop session we will apply live sketching tools for drawing abstract systems thinking concepts, for use in our work, in study, co-creation of system maps and Gigamaps for research and design.

The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Practice basic mark-making, play, loosen up, gain confidence with drawing.
  • Practice collaborative drawing in small groups while working on a challenge, as a way to clarify meanings, deepen understanding, and discover relationships.
  • Create collaborative concept maps of a wicked problem using templates and metaphors.
  • Learn concrete ways to draw abstract concepts and qualities of a system.
  • Boost your visual vocabulary by drawing BIG, clear, maps of a dynamic system.

About the Presenter

Patricia “Patsy” Kambitsch has run the Playthink visual practice advisory for over 10 years. She is a visual storyteller, graphic facilitator, and multidisciplinary artist, who creates comics, books, illustrations, and fine art. Patricia is well-known for organizing and sketching the live conference sketchnotes for the RSD Symposium, as seen in the proceedings. She has adapted and advised live sketching for dozens of stakeholder meetings and scientific and public conferences.

Patsy brings clarity and vision to individuals and organizations through active participation in arts, stories, and dialogue.