Creative Mornings is a
monthly event happening in cities all around the globe. A speaker is brought in to talk on a chosen topic – the same in every location. Coveted tickets are given out through a random ticket lottery, and there is always a long waiting list of people hoping to attend.

In January, I was lucky enough to have my name chosen. I could not wait! The subject this month was Visual Language, and speaker Sam Bradd, was billed as a Graphic Facilitator. As everyone knows by now, I am intensely drawn to unique journeys.
My curiosity was totally piqued from the moment I read his bioHow did Bradd even hear about this career? What did a Graphic Facilitator do?

This talk was everything I had hoped it would be. I learned what the career of a Graphic Facilitator entailed, and the benefits Visual Language could bring to businesses, charities, governments, and projects. Bradd also
shared some of his completed artwork, as well as the story behind where, and why each piece had been created. Unbeknownst to us in the audience, a colleague was sitting in the front row quietly creating a small visual version of this talk. At the end, she was introduced, and her artwork was projected up onto the screen for all of us to see.

Want to know more? So did I. Enjoy!

8Q Spotlight Sam Bradd

What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?

I am a graphic facilitator, and illustrator working locally, and internationally. I listen deeply, and draw for groups to help them visualize what they’re talking about, support leadership, and create change. I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with researchers on three continents, Google, the David Suzuki foundation, and governments.

On the side, I have two passion projects. For the past 6 years, I’ve been in a collective that makes comics about history with footnotes. Our new book of comics with the Graphic History Collective is out now. It’s about working-class histories in Canada. My second side project is editing a book about the “process” side of visual practice – stay tuned for that this summer.

Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?

My path into graphic facilitation was unexpected. I no idea that this career existed. First, I had a career in nonprofit administration, and nonprofit management. I was so happy working for groups that were leading social change. But there was always a part of me that wanted to use art to communicate issues. When I realized that I could do both things, at the same time, I made the switch. Looking back, I realized there were a lot of signs along the way that I was already using art to communicate: giant posters, instruction manuals in comics, designing websites. You never know what will make sense in your journey later.

What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?

  1. I’m super extroverted for work, but actually I’m a secret introvert. After a big session or conference, there’s nothing I want to do more than curl up with a dinner, and a book.
  2. I love to travel, and eat. I have strong opinions about what makes a good sandwich.
  3. All of my work is driven by a strong sense of social purpose, belonging, and making strong communities. My company is called Drawing Change because I collaborate with organizations that are working to do good in this world.

Highest moment so far?

This year I was invited to go and work with epidemiologists in Tanzania, and part of the conference was to go on a Safari! Working with some of the leading public health scientists in this area, and seeing an elephant in the wild were both absolute highlights. And because I was hanging out with veterinarians, they narrated the entire time on the Safari which was great.

What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?

I love what I am working on right now! Currently on my to do list is a set of illustrations about healthy young teenage moms, three paintings about food security, and designing a full day strategic planning session for a local nonprofit. In the next six months, I am looking forward to continuing to work with the First Nations Health Authority on the topics of cultural safety, and cultural humility, and a range of companies looking at innovation, and leadership. I like to mix it up.

Who and/or what inspires you?

I am inspired by people working for better communities. My social media feed is about 50% people that inspire me by what they do on a daily basis, and 50% artists who show me new techniques, new approaches, and a way into how they see the world.

How do you personally define success?

Success is incredibly personal. I think the most important defining feature of success for me is a sense of true happiness that comes from being authentic. It can’t only be external, or about acquiring status symbols. Success is about being who I am in an authentic, and open way, with people I love, and trust. I can’t think of a better goal in life than to be comfortable in ones own skin, and feel loved, and supported by people around me.

Advice for someone wanting to embrace this career?

My advice for anybody in a creative career: don’t be so concerned about where you will work. Care more about how you will work instead. It’s the process, not the product. The process of how you show up every day, and how you approach your career will get you further in the long run. I think it also keeps you closer to your values.

Links –

Twitter: @sambradd

LinkedIn: sambradd