Sunday, October 13, 2019

Castrol Sales Force Convention

Stacey Paul Barabe hired me to work at the Castrol Sales Force Convention here in Orlando. Jeff Hollis and Roger Edwards wanted me to do some live sketching during their training session. Castrol is a British global brand of industrial and automotive lubricants offering a wide range of oils, greases and similar products for most lubrication applications. The goal was for me to create 20 sketches live that would fit into their Powerpoint presentation. Michele Bires kept everybody on track and saved my butt when I realized I had no script for the next day. She sent over the latest slides and I cobbled together something for the next day.

The day before we all met for a walk through of what they planned to present. The basic flow of the presentation was to start with introductions, compare technical and adaptive approaches, Reactive versus creative approaches a mindset shift and then a final commitment. From the meeting I learned that the presentation would move quickly. Some of the sketches were to be dome in less than a minute which presented technical difficulties for me since any sketch worth its weight would take longer than a minute.

The night before I set up each of the 20 sketches on my iPad Pro so I would not have to deal with layers and some writing was done before hand which I could swipe into place when needed. The rehearsal the next morning proved that even with this plan the sketches could not be done as fast as needed. With Powerpoint the presenter has full control of transitions at the click of a button. I was positioned in the back of the room and knowing exactly when a transition was needed was problematic. Some of the early images were only on screen for 30 seconds. I am fast, but not that fast.

My responsibilities shrank from 20 images sketched live to 4 or 5 sketches done live. Also several that were planned to be done live were instead rotated into the Powerpoint presentation. I don't believe anyone realized that when sketching live that I would have to open pallets when changing colors. I followed the presentation sketching each of the 20 images live and did mange to keep pace, but none of that work ever went on the screen. The sketches I did do live went well. I learned much from the process and realize now that what would be needed to fit into an established presentation would be for me to create the sketches before hand and send the client 30 second lime laps animations of the drawings being created. Those animations could then be fit into their Powerpoint presentations and played at the press of a button. Watching art being created for more than 30 seconds at a time is like watching grass grow for most people.

There were team building exercises in which teams had to support a bamboo stick with just 1 finger and then everyone had to work together to try and lower the stick to the ground. It seems simple enough but in practice it proved difficult. Participants also had to stand in order of height without talking or pointing. It was news to me that a new CEO had been tasked with leading Castrol into the future. Paul Waterman, is an American businessman and the chief executive officer of Elementis Plc. Paul was Global CEO of BP Lubricants, a part of the BP Group.

The final Powerpoint slide I got to create live and it consisted of a box. After a break, everyone returned to find boxes had been set behind each seat. On each box people were asked to write a commitment about how everyday business might be done better or more effectively. All these boxes were then stacked at the front of the hall to create a large wall. On my sketch I got to play with a reference to Pink Floyd's "The Wall." My biggest take away from the inspirational afternoon was that great teams value differences. Live on the edge folks!

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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