Graphic facilitator Sam Bradd discusses his role as a graphic facilitator and the visual language

Sam Bradd is a graphic facilitator: he uses visuals to help groups connect, learn, and lead. Together, it’s Drawing Change. Sam’s worked with Google, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the World Health Organization. He co-founded the Graphic History Collective because how we tell stories can change the world. He lives on unceded Coast Salish Territories.

About the speaker

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Sam Bradd is a graphic facilitator: he uses visuals to help groups connect, learn, and lead. Together, it’s Drawing Change. Sam’s worked with Google, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the World Health Organization. He co-founded the Graphic History Collective because how we tell stories can change the world. He lives on unceded Coast Salish Territories.

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career? First it’s really personal: Creativity is about being in ‘flow’. That feeling when I’m making something - anything - and I forget about time passing. I feel alive and like I have the ability to surprise myself about what might come next. As it relates to my career, I have to structure time for flow to show up. It’s not spontaneous, it’s a habit. I get up every day at the same time and do what I need to do, and then the flow comes. It’s my favourite state where I can’t predict what will happen next, it’s a feeling of being very present. The making becomes more important that judging - the judging and being critical comes after. I’m really good at setting aside time for client work to be in flow, I want to get better at being disciplined for non-time sensitive work.

The other part about creativity is being social and building great community around me. I drag my introvert self out of the house to be a part of some very nice, low key groups - I’m in a collective and also a community of practice with other creatives - and this really feeds me.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration? Bike riding. I really don’t like exercising but once I’m on my bike everything changes - I start daydreaming, singing, smiling at strangers, and it’s easier to wander. Usually by the time I’m home I’ve solved the thing I was thinking about. I’m also really inspired by other people, but for unlocking the things inside my brain I need to be in nature.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person? I wish someone had told me it’s going to take a lifetime to build the art that you know you’re capable of. It’s okay that you have no idea what that is going to look like. But you have to start somewhere. So start.

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings? I’d love to hear Cease Wyss, who’s an interdisciplinary artist and the Indigenous Plant Diva, talk about her work. She connects food security, art-making, her traditional knowledge, and always speaks truth to power.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger? I listen and draw what’s happening at meetings - on giant paper - so people can see connections, solve problems, and lead. If you were a stranger at a bus stop I might also tell you how much I love it, and how excited people get to see themselves be heard.

If you had fifteen extra minutes each day, what would you do with them? I should say something like “write more” or “phone someone” but honestly, a better sandwich is always a great return on investment. I would put a lot more effort into my sandwiches. But that might only take up 8 minutes, so maybe the other 7 minutes could be spent on better posture. Artist self-care, friends.

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