Picturing the Strategy for the Top End!

I am so lucky in my job to be able to draw out ideas in great places with passionate people and drawing in the Top End is always a great experience! I was recently part of an experienced team of consultants engaged by the Northern Territory Government to help facilitate (and picture) stakeholder discussions to develop the Territory’s first Coastal and Marine Management Strategy. The Strategy will ensure the health and viability of the Top End’s coast and seas, support their use by Territorians for recreational and cultural purposes, manage growing demand for natural resources and foster sustainable industry. The development of this Strategy is a work-in-progress and it was a great privilege for me to picture these initial and important discussions with stakeholders.

It is always a great feeling in my job to ‘sea’ how people react to and engage with my visuals and at this workshop I received the best feedback – that my visuals helped participants to ‘sea’ the journey they were on in developing this Strategy together. Visual storytelling is a powerful way of communicating and engaging with groups, stakeholders and clients so you can ALL ‘sea’ the big picture! A BIG thank you to Grahame Byron and Sue Sargent for inviting me to be part of this Exceptional Consulting Team! You can ‘sea’ more of my visual storytelling with Government groups, teams and organisations at my Graphic Recording.

You can also dive in and follow my creative journey via my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish and @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

My story of words & pictures!

I was so excited to be asked to present at the Children’s Author & Illustrator Seminar hosted by the very talented Michelle Worthington of Share your Story. This workshop was for aspiring author/illustrators of kids picture books and what a great day we had. I decided to live sketchnote my creative journey of becoming a published author/illustrator through visual storytelling using my words and pictures. My journey to where I am today has been an interesting one and I love that I am now using the art of marine science to publish my very own kids picture book, a dream come true! My advice to the aspiring author/illustrators at the workshop was to:

  • Always believe in yourself and your story
  • Ride the waves of rejection (…and just keep swimming)
  • Find your Tribe

I was honoured to be amongst some of our amazing writing/illustrating talent including Giuseppe Poli, Sandra Temple and Dimity Powell. So great to hear their stories and learn from these storytellers. The workshop attendees were full of energy and questions for our Q&A panel session which emphasised the need for all aspiring author/illustrators to put their stories into words and pictures on the page! The workshop ended with some of the brave attendees reading our their stories for feedback, which was a great way to end our special day together! A BIG thank you to my friend and mentor Michelle Worthington for providing this amazing opportunity to share my story. Anyone wanting to follow their heART to becoming an author/illustrator of kids picture books I highly recommend joining Michelle’s supportive #shareyourstory Tribe and signing up to her editing and mentoring program!

**AND don’t forget these school holidays to dive into our creative STEM storytelling workshop with Mermaid Michelle & Dr Suzie Starfish Under the Sea!

Everyone has a story, what’s yours? You can follow my creative journey and ocean storytelling as Dr Suzie Starfish on Facebook and @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

Sea-ing our Living Oceans!

I’m excited to share that over the next six months I will be visiting schools and holding workshops around Australia about Our Living Oceans as my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish. Using the art of marine science I will be bringing science stories of the sea indoors for kids of all ages! I use a range of interactive approaches to engage with students and kids as we all think and learn differently. So I use a combination of visual storytelling, multi-media and hands-on Sci-Art activities, like the always popular “Shark Art”! I also hold ‘Sketchnote your science’ in schools for students and teachers to help make learning and science visual, as “when you draw you remember more“!! I also hold workshops for teachers to learn the ‘art’ of sketchnoting your science as part of their Professional Development.

As you can ‘sea’ from the photos using the art of education makes learning (and teaching) fun, interactive and memorable! I also have a new ‘Reef’ dress for when I’m working with kids which has been a BIG hit! Thanks to my very talented (and patient) mum for helping me create this special dress of wearable Sea Sci-Art! I must remember to wear my matching Dory fascinator next visit though, as the kids always ask where Dory is!

You can find out more about my school incursions and sketchnote workshops via my Creative Education. You can also now BOOK into my next workshop with the very talented international award winning author Michelle Worthington, aka. Mermaid Michelle, for an exciting and creative STEM workshop Under the Sea! The workshop will be held in the June/July school holidays in Brisbane and bookings are essential. You can ‘sea’ more details at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/dr-suzie-starfish-and-mermaid-michelle-creative-writing-stem-class-for-kids-tickets-33139105958

You can dive in with me and follow my creative marine adventures as Dr Suzie Starfish on Facebook and @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

Living my life with ESTEAM!

What a great time I had in my recent interview with the lovely Leah Cannon from the Life Science Network about How I Got My Job! Leah is part of the amazing Life Science Network which is a forum for life science executives, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and media professionals to come together for easy communication, to make new connections and find new ways to collaborate. I was so excited to be asked about my career as my journey has been a diverse one from crawling through the muddy waters of Moreton Bay in my PhD research, to working in many different and interesting roles in the Queensland Government (including everything from hostile stakeholder meetings, product testing of prawns and pearls to TV appearances and overseeing great teams and Statewide priorities) to now running my own business specialising in visual and creative communications.

As a marine ecologist, artist and writer my ‘job’ today is all about following my heART and no one day is ever the same, which I love! I now get to work with people, teams and organisations to help “Picture your ideas” as a graphic recorder. I combine my love of art and science to bring the nature of our Living Oceans into classrooms through my creative education and visual storytelling. And as I have always been drawn to the ocean I am now writing and illustrating a series of kids picture books about the wonders of our underwater world! It really is the #bestjobever!

I am doing all of this by living my life with ESTEAM (Entrepreneur, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) as I have turned something I love into something I live! I hope my story inspires others to follow their dreams and live their life in colour! A BIG thank you to the special people in my life, the mentors throughout my career and in my business today for always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my heART. You can read more about how I use the Art of STEM with kids, students and schools.

You can also dive in and follow my creative journey via my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish on Facebook and @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

Picturing rural teaching!

I have such fond memories of growing up in regional and remote Queensland where going to school meant dirt roads and waiting for emu’s to cross the road! So I was delighted when I was asked to be the graphic recorder for the TeachQLD Teach Rural Career Fair, hosted by the Queensland Department of Education and Training. This event was for current and future teachers looking for new adventures and teaching opportunities in regional, rural and remote Queensland. I drew out the two panel sessions where Queensland Principals shared tips for landing that job and early career Teachers in regional Queensland gave advice and tips on how to find your feet in a new community. What a great event to promote and highlight the amazing opportunities to teach in our rural, regional and remote communities. Quote of the day for me was “Give RURAL a GO!”.

You can see more of my Graphic Recording with groups, including Government Groups, and my time in the classroom as my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish (on Facebook) and follow my creative journey via @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

Drawing out Superbug Solutions!

I had the great opportunity recently to be the Graphic Recorder for the Inaugural “Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections” (SDRI) Conference held in Brisbane. I was there to draw out the Panel discussions and priorities to guide research efforts towards global solutions for drug-resistance research. Conference attendees voted on the top three research priorities which you can see pictured in the visuals! To see the highlights of this multi-disciplinary scientific conference for the Asia-Pacific region take a look at the SDRI Storify.

I am being asked to work more and more in the health space as visualising complex issues can help people to see the big picture. Having me there to help draw out controversial and sensitive issues also shows groups and stakeholders that they are being listened to and that their stories are important. My role in any group discussion/forum is to listen for the key messages, draw out the synergies and differences and put people in the picture. Recently I have also pictured the stories of those with Lived Experience (suicide) and the impending challenges of Aged Care. You can see more of how I work with people to put Community & Health in the picture.

I help people to put their ideas, issues and information in the picture through visual storytelling and you can see more of my work @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram and via my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish.

Some GREAT Barrier Reef news!!

I have some GREAT NEWS to share with you! My alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish will be writing, illustrating and publishing her first kids picture book about The Great Barrier Reef with Little Steps Publishing!! I am not usually lost for words, as I can literally talk underwater, but I’m super EXCITED about this new creative collaboration with Little Steps! This story would not have surfaced though if it was not for the encouragement and support of my writing mentor and friend, Michelle Worthington of Share your Story, and my marine biologist for life my hubby Dr Richo. Thank you for encouraging me to just DIVE IN and share MY story!

The story is best described through its title, however the title is under wraps at the moment as it is so GREAT! The story is about the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, both human and natural, and what happens to it when we are not watching. The story is based on marine science and told through the eyes of a feisty female fish named Anthia. Although the storyline is not of happy times on the reef my story is full of hope and ocean optimism as I cannot imagine a world without coral reefs, can you? The manuscript is currently being edited and once the words are right the fun part of illustrating the story begins. You can ‘sea’ some of my preliminary artworks on my website and I will be posting regular updates there on creating the story of The Great Barrier Reef which you can also follow via the hashtag #haveGBRhope.

PS. The same week that I found out that my Great Barrier Reef story was going to be published I also received my first rejection letter from a publisher for another fishy tale I have written. To me that no just means no to that book right now, which is all part of the magical and challenging world of writing kids picture books!

You can also follow my creative marine journey @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

Best fishes!

><((((º>.¸.·´¯`·.¸><((((º> .·´¯`·.¸><((((º>.¸
.·´¯`·.¸.><((((º>    Dr Suzie Starfish

Drawing with Superheroes!

Drawing with real-life Superheroes for Superhero Daughter Day was a real highlight for me. I am so proud to support the Tech Girls Movement, a non-profit organization promoting positive female information technology role models to encourage and raise awareness of technology career options for girls. I have been working with the founder, and inspirational women in STEM Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen (aka. Jewella Superhero), and her team to help girls “picture their ideas” by putting the A in STEAM! Superhero Daughter Day was all about girls having fun with their peers, meeting some cool female role models in IT and learning more about what life is like as a Tech Girl! As you can see from the photos there was a lot of excited energy and fun learning in the room of 300 girls and parents who learnt the ‘art’ of coding. This event was proudly supported by Diverse City Careers and TechnologyOne. I love drawing out ideas with organizations, groups, kids and parents and am so grateful for the opportunity to picture “Girls for a change”. KAPOW!! What is your SUPERPOWER!!?

You can follow my creative journey via my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish and @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

The time is ‘write’ now!

I set myself some BIG creative goals this year, one to become a published picture book author! So on International Women’s Day its a good time to remind ourselves that we CAN achieve our dreams if we follow our heARTs and surround ourselves with a supportive Squad or Tribe! The time is ‘write’ now for me to take the plunge to becoming an author/illustrator — as I have just submitted my very first kids picture book manuscript to publishers around the world! I have been writing my kids picture books about the wonders of our underwater world (based on marine science-art) for many years but have never had the courage or Tribe around me to dive in! NOW I DO! I know the rejection rate for kids picture books is very high but I’m ready ‘write’ now for the challenge! So look out picture book world Dr Suzie Starfish (my alter ego) is going to make a splash in the world of kids literature with her fishy tales (…fish tails that is)! A very special thank you to my amazing mentor Michelle Worthington, international award winning children’s author and Director of Share your Story, who has inspired and supported me in my picture book journey. So ‘write’ now let’s celebrate all of those people, women and creative companions (ie. my furry kids) that support us in following our dreams!

You can follow my creative journey as my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish (https://www.facebook.com/drsuziestarfish/) and @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.

Best fishes on International Womens Day!  ><((((º>.¸.·´¯`·.¸><((((º> .·´¯`·.¸><((((º>.¸

Turning Ocean Science into Art!

So my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish went National this week thanks to an interview I recently did with the lovely Jessica Hinchcliffe of ABC Radio Brisbane — where I talked about my life as a marine scientist, artist and visual communicator. What a great time I had in this interview talking about how I use art to teach and communicate marine science as a graphic recorder, artist and as Dr Suzie Starfish! In this interview I felt as I do when I make my school visits, a bit like an ‘Ocean Rockstar’! I was fortunate enough that ABC News then shared my story nationally as a feature story and as a result I have received so much positive feedback and interest in my creative work. So I’m as happy as a clam!! Through amazing opportunities like this it is a great reminder that it’s important to do what you love — as I have turned something I love into something I live and I’m so grateful everyday. A BIG thank you to Jess and ABC Brisbane Radio for inviting me into the studio to talk about being drawn to the ocean! You can ‘sea’ and hear my ABC interview via the links below and on my website under Creative Education/STEMhttps://drsuepillans.com/education/stem/

Digital interviewhttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-20/dr-sue-pillans-turns-ocean-science-into-art/8285876

Audio interviewhttps://soundcloud.com/612abcbrisbane/dr-suizie-starfish

You can also follow my creative journey @suepillans on Twitter and Instagram.