About Me

I’ve been drawing on walls all my life. No, really, I have! As soon as I discovered crayons I decided the world was my canvas, starting with my bedroom walls. That didn’t go over too well with my Mum, so I switched to drawing on the furniture and tattooing my dolls. My parents made sure to supply me with lots of paper after that.

About_me_cwAround the same time, my favourite story featured a little girl with a magic pencil that brought to life everything she drew. Imagine my disappointment when none of my pencils produced the same results! And imagine my satisfaction now that I get to draw on walls for a living, and instead of a magic pencil I have magic markers that bring people’s ideas to life. They didn’t tell us about this career option in high school.

Between my early wall-scribbling days and now I’ve worked as a graphic designer, art director, project manager and facilitator – to name just the major job titles. I’m also a philosopher, world traveller, artist and chronic provocateur, with a love of conversation, an easily-tickled funnybone, a taste for the unknown, and a strong propensity to ask “Why?”

I used to wonder how all those pieces fit together, but it turns out that in my line of work all those roles and qualities come in handy. As an artist and designer, I know first-hand the power of imagery to stimulate our minds and capture our hearts – and how essential both are to bring about the change we seek. As a world traveller I’ve learned that we’re all in this together, and incidentally, that pictures are truly a global language. As a facilitator, I’ve come to understand that the most important quality I bring to any conversation is being a first-rate listener. And as a philosophically inclined provocateur, well… I might challenge conventional thinking just a teensy bit – but always with a healthy serving of laughter on the side!

I first hired Avril in 2008 to graphically record an event I was planning, and have built graphic recording into our budget for every project and event ever since. Avril has the incredible gift of being able to simultaneously listen to a conversation and distill the most relevant points into images that promote further dialogue. Her charts remind us of our discussion in a way that words can’t, and provide us with a visual reference point that lives as a powerful reminder of the important work we are doing with families and serves as a map to guide our work going forward. 

Keli Anderson – Founder, FORCE Society for Kids’ Mental Health, and Founder, President & CEO, National Institute of Families for Child and Youth Mental Health