Meet Ariana – Ink Factory’s Newest Team Member

To become an Ink Factory-certified visual note-taker takes a lot of time, energy, and creativity. Last summer, we reviewed over a 100 applicants of artists who answered our call for a new team member. After a few rounds of interviews, narrowing down the talent pool to about a dozen amazing people, Ariana leapt to the top. She brings a skill set to our team that includes visual note-taking, illustration, motion graphics, and a serious funny bone.

Ariana draws visual notes in real-time

While we love to have fun in the studio, we take our work very seriously. Bringing a new employee onto the team isn’t as easy as filling out an application and saying “you’re hired!” The learning curve from creative artist to a skilled visual note-taker takes time and hard work. Months of training – both in the studio and on a client site – was outline in order to pave the way for Ariana to be ready for the real world of client meetings and conferences.

Visual notes of President Obama's farewell address

When we started the training, Ariana jumped right into our fun and creative ecosystem. Her background not only includes the visual arts, but she is also a member of the famed Second City improve troop in Chicago. Thinking fast is a big part of the visual note-taking process. We often say we use the process of improvisation when we’re pairing content with visuals when real-time scribing. You have to be quick or that thought will pass and the client will be onto the next talking point or idea.

Ariana draws live at a Chicago Ideas event

What’s your favorite thing about visual note-taking? My favorite thing about Visual Note-taking is that I never know what to expect. When the speaker surprises me, I surprise myself with what I’m able to come up with. It is different every time, which keeps it from becoming boring or tedious work.

What do you like about working at Ink Factory? 
I enjoy the creative atmosphere of Ink Factory the most. When you work surrounded by other talented individuals, you pick up on their good habits and it pushes you to challenge yourself. It keeps everything moving forward, onward, and upward, and you feel a part of the growth.

What tips do you have for someone who is interested in either working for Ink Factory or wants to start doing visual notes as a career?  I have learned so much in the short time I have been making visual notes and my main tip is to focus on one area at a time. Once you feel comfortable with handwriting, start working on hierarchy, and then connectors & containers and so on. If you try to do everything all at once, it will be very overwhelming. Other than that, you have to practice! Your progress may not be apparent to you right away, but when you look back on your old work, you’ll definitely see how far you’ve come!

Ariana spent her childhood in Michigan, but her and her family travelled west to Arizona when she was 13. She attended Arizona State University where she got a BFA in Printmaking. Upon graduation, she said goodbye to the valley of the sun and blew into the windy city. Chicago was just the change she was looking for to jumpstart the next chapter of her life.

She also enjoys telling and hearing dad jokes, so if you have one for her, don’t hold back! She recently took up drag and performs as the drag king Awkward Marine once a month. He’s not the most attractive man, but he’ll make you laugh in a somewhat uncomfortable way! Be on the lookout for more amazing visual notes and illustrations from Ariana.