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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.


Jim keeps a full calendar of speaking engagements and invited workshops, because face-to-face interaction and a personal connection is by far the best way to share ideas and inspiration.  He has delivered popular keynotes at conferences across the U.S. and abroad, as well as commencement addresses, education sessions and lectures for universities, international symposia, professional society meetings and private enterprise. Jim's goals with each audience are:
  • to teach key precepts of design thinking and drawing as a process of discovery
  • to demonstrate that each individual has innate talent and creative capacity
  • to inspire participants to continue teaching themselves

The topics Jim frequently speaks on include:
  • Freehand Visions:  Design Drawing in a Digital Age   Jim is internationally renowned for his project work, teaching and writing that rethinks freehand design sketching to best exploit its creative strengths in a digital world.  Rather than focusing on illustrative "graphics" at the end of the creative process, Jim's focus is on rapid visualization techniques for generating more and better ideas at the beginning.  This fun and inspirational session includes audience participation that teaches skills and instills confidence.
  • Discover! Design Thinking and the Creative Process   In a world that's rapidly changing, it becomes critically important that we become very good at the fundamentals that don't change--creative problem-solving processes that can span disciplines and address challenges at any scale.  This talk addresses logical design process, intuitive processes and life disciplines that build creative capacity.
  • Urban Sketching:  Personal Passion, Global Phenomenon   Learn about the worldwide urban sketching movement, as well as Jim's favorite tools, techniques and stories, based on travel and sketching in over 45 countries around the world to date.
  • Placemaking for the Creative Class   A handful of “cool cities” consistently attract the lion’s share of highly mobile knowledge workers and creative talent, and the economic growth they bring with them.  Building on Richard Florida's insights into the new creative economy, Jim's original research highlights the physical planning and design attributes most valued by a diverse, creative workforce.  Jim shares timeless guiding principles, as well as a practical “toolbox of ideas” that can help shape policy, city plans, transportation strategies and project designs that nurture the creative environments so many cities are seeking. 

Conference attendee's comments:
  • "I was just in awe of the thoughtfulness of your presentation. Your session was the best thing I have heard at a conference for a long time.  I know it is because it was heartfelt and involved years of striving.  I can’t wait for your book!
  • "Amazing lecture; by far one of my favorites.  Very engaging.  Well done!"
  • "Best session EVER!!!!!!  Great mix of education and entertainment."

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