I love love LOVE learning new ways to better my business, help me express creatively, and sharpen my skills. Well I recently attended an amazing workshop that was an event planner and designer's dream. When I learned about the Sketchbook Series workshops last year thanks to Instagram, I was so bummed I didn't hear about it until after their workshop in the Virginia area. Needless to say, I stayed on the hunt for 2016 dates, and registered for this year's Baltimore workshop...it did not disappoint!

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

So what exactly is the Sketchbook Series you say? It's a hands-on workshop for creative professionals developed and taught by Mary Phan to help planners, bakers, florists, designers and more bring their ideas to life through sketching. The workshop exceeded my expectations and has already proven to be so valuable for my business, and here's why:

1. I can now sketch up my event dreams

When planning and designing a wedding or soiree, my mind is filled with so many creative ideas to not only execute my client's vision, but to also take it up a notch. While nature and scenery, inspirational websites, magazines, Pinterest and more are great for gathering visual inspiration, most of the creativity that comes from a designer is locked within our minds. Sometimes those creative designs can be challenging to communicate in words and other times our vision is so unique that there aren't images out there on the web or elsewhere to show what we're thinking. Now that I have the introductory skills to sketch up my event dreams, this will be so useful in illustrating my design ideas clearly and beautifully on paper.

Mary Phan, better known as verymaryinspired, was an amazing instructor. Her warm personality, expertise and willingness to share her knowledge made the workshop and learning so much better. Mary took us step by step in sharing what materials and supplies we need for sketching, how to set up our paper before sketching and how to execute various designs from cakes, to floral centerpieces, draping and tablescapes. Each attendee walked away with a starter sketching kit and so much knowledge and inspiration that left me all fired up about design!

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

2. Tons of eye candy

Naturally as a planner, I love when the design of an event is on point. When I walked in the room at the Sketchbook Series workshop, I immediately whipped out my iPhone to take pics of all the gorgeousness! Stunning cakes, florals, draping and more created such a visual appealing and inspiring space to sketch. In the event industry, one of the major focuses of events is on design, which is why it was so necessary for the workshop to be in a space full of eye candy. In fact, we used the cake and florals as inspiration for our sketches on the first day of the workshop. I felt such a sense of accomplishment being able to sketch the beauty in the room.

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

3. Sketching adds value and fun to the design experience

Mary not only provided hands-on sketching instruction, but she also spoke about the value of sketching and how it adds to the design experience. Being able to provide your clients with something tangible that speaks to their event and design is such a unique and valuable service. Sketches are useful to provide to florists and other vendors who will be involved with the design process, so that everyone can be in sync regarding vision. This skill is totally game-changing for my business, and I'm so excited to continue practicing and eventually becoming a sketch master (speaking it into existence)! In addition to the value, sketching proved to be a lot of fun! I so enjoyed the entire process of playing around with sketch techniques, adding color and bringing ideas to life on paper.

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

4. The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

Do I really need to say more? Learning in a luxe venue was a win win for me. Not only did I get to see all of the beauty and ballrooms, where I dream of planning future events, but I also got to experience the Four Seasons cuisine. A venue that has lots of ambiance along with amazing food is definitely one that is included in my venue directory. Both breakfast and lunch were delicious, which left me quite curious about how much more amazing I'm sure their dinner is. I definitely look forward to attending or planning a future event at the Four Seasons Baltimore.

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

The awesome team and sponsors responsible for this amazing workshop included:

Instructor: Mary Phan  @verymaryinspired

Design + Planning: Stephanie Bradshaw  @sbcreative_

VenueFour Seasons Baltimore  @fsbaltimore

Florals Day 1Crimson & Clover  @crimsoncloverfloral

Florals Day 2:  Flowers & Fancies  @flowersandfancies

Photography: Living Radiant  @livingradiant.photo

Event Production: Revolution Events  @reveventpro

Cake: La Cakerie  @lacakerie

Dessert Bar: Truly Scrumptious Candy & Dessert Bar  @truly_scrumptious_candy_bars

Linens: Table Toppers  @tabletoppersmd

Calligrapher: Lovely Ink Callipgraphy  @lovelyinkcalligraphy

National Sponsors: Aisle Planner  @aisleplanner and Imagination International @copicmarker

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

Amazing, right?! Share what you think about this workshop and the value of sketching in the comments section. If you're a fellow event pro, what workshops have you attended and loved this year?

Sensationally yours,