Penelope ( or Pen as she likes to be called) is a graphics facilitator and artist/ illustrator- she has 15 years experience and although i was originally unclear on what a graphics facilitator is she explained that it is someone who has excellent communication skills, perhaps not so skilled at the drawing but good at getting her point across and other peoples points across. She is from New Zealand and she is currently undertaking a PHd.
She works mainly on the representation of social issues, policy development and campaigning and she is known for her ability to represent diversity and issues that can be seen as sensitive and controversial, i think as an illustrator its paramount to be sensitive to how you are communicating ideas and narratives and Pen does an excellent job of being sensitive to these, especially the varying organisations she works with such as the graphic she worked in a team to produce- for Joseph Rowntree housing trust. Social housing has often been doused in controversy when really its just assessing that every human has the right to shelter, its a basic need that shouldn’t be looked down upon. The kind of chart she created helps people to communicate what is most important to them, and then how staff can best support those people. below is a picture of it and whilst she says the drawing is not necessarily as important, i do really like her illustrative style because it has that vibe of accessibility and friendliness that i think really works:
She spoke in the talk about how being a graphic facilitator allows her to help people and i think that must be the most satisfying job, because although i love the idea of creating story book illustrations to enchant readers, it must be truly gratifying to know that you are for example giving someone a better insight into mental illness, or helping someone express their social need and wants when they couldn’t previously. Her work also seems very fast paced, which i like the sound of , she said that you need to be able to draw and write quickly and create true to life interpretations that people can easily understand and follow. When i see her work, it seems like she is creating a narrative that is specific to people and can affect change for them, and this is inspiring in itself because she is using her creativity to make peoples lives better and help them express their feelings, when perhaps they were having trouble before. She also does work for the government on top of working for charitable organisations, she also creates “strategy maps” for organisations that are trying to communicate or research a complex idea or narrative with a bigger audience.
Most of her work however is freelance, and its great to be able to hear from a freelancer because i find this quite a frighteningly unstable job choice where you have to have alot of confidence in your skills to put yourself out there and apply for work, and then the passion to continue to build consistently on your reputation and skills. She asked us all as a group whether we had considered freelance work, and it isn’t something i would like to go into straight away because i don’t feel confident enough yet but certainly as i have time to practice and find the style i really enjoy creating in ( hopefully this will happen during my FMP!) then it may be something i consider when i am financially stable. But in her freelance work, she is affecting change and helping those who may be overlooked, to have a voice and to gain help and this is an honorable profession, and even though when i try and communicate an idea i always think about my target audience, i now will chose to think more deeply about them on an emotional level as opposed to thinking about them according to age, gender and other common factors.
she lastly spoke about a project she is working on currently, creating a graphic novel about single mothers with absent partners. She said she has interviewed people in order to research for this and i think thats an excellent idea and certainly for the second half of my FMP in which i re-imagine the 12 dancing princess- i may interview some of my target group which will most likely be children, in order to get their reactions to my existing style of communicating.