Last December I found myself coming into work early while my kids were out for Christmas break to get a head start on my day. Instead of answering emails or estimating projects, I was using the quiet time to draw on our large whiteboard walls. I was careful to try and draw in an empty office because I wasn’t sure if they might be seen as a waste of time. The idea of drawing whiteboard murals was pretty simple, I had been in a design leadership position for a little while and i missed making things. They were always meant to be temporary and fun. After a few drawings like the three above got labeled as things like “great for the office culture” instead of a waste of time like i feared, I decided to take on a new year’s resolution project. I would do one whiteboard a week for the year, so here are all 52 whiteboards. Some of these have stories and some don’t. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, Ill try not to write too much and let them speak for themselves.
1 – No Riding the Velociraptors, Kelly
This week started by overhearing a conversation between designers joking about office rules being posted on the doors of a popular collaboration space. I thought we needed one more rule. When the drawing was nearing completion, we decided that the rider resembled a coworker so the purple hair was replaced to round out the likeness of our good friend Kelly.
2 – New Years
A belated new year’s party gave me about 30 minutes one morning to scribble out some fireworks.
3 & 4 – David Bowie and Allan Rickman
2016 seemed to bring a lot of bad news. The first was the passing of David Bowie. I didn’t plan on a series of tributes, but Alan Rickman’s death a week later was one that had to get it’s own board too. The day after the second drawing, a coworker quickly pointed out that Snape’s patronus was actually a doe so i quickly fixed it. I just didn’t take a photo of it.
5 – Fill in the Blank Apes
It only took a month, but there were some folks who felt the need to add their own artwork to these drawings, so I gave everyone a space to add their own part.
6 & 7 – Don’t Krill my Vibe and Shuttle Launch
With a few new neon whiteboard markers and a day of consecutive meetings in one room, I started thinking about all the strange things going on around the office, things going on right under the surface. I guess it’s not a secret anymore. I applied for a new job this week.
I also started to experiment with some of the other whiteboards around the office. One of the rooms near my desk had the big board that was rarely use. I had big plans for a space shuttle launch mural that might last a little while. I was so wrong, it was all erased withing a few hours. I’m not sure if John even noticed me drawing around him.
8 – The whole world
The biggest board in the building needed something really large, and honestly, I was starting to think about traveling to places like Scottland a little bit.
9 & 10 – Bugs
This week I watched a team of good people argue extensively over 7 bugs logged in Jira for a project that had been going on for longer than it should have. After last weeks board met the fate of a whiteboard eraser, this weeks was meant to. Every bug on this board represents one of those 7 bugs, when the developers cleared a ticket, they get to erase a bug.
The erase-the-bugs game turned into a drawing of it’s own, a fun and messy drawing that ended with a new mobile web application being launched. Maybe this whole marker drawing thing is more than just a little fun.
11 – Mixed Tapes
12 – 17 – All the Owls
My buddy Brad got really freaked out by some of these drawings because he thought they we’re watching him. Just for him, I drew a bunch of owls as high as i could in every room I could find. I gave them all giant eyes and and one accidentally ended up looking like Bernie Sanders.
18 – Periodic Table of ALSAC
Man, we sure did use a bunch of acronyms. We all needed this handy table of how to understand the funny words we use.
19 & 20 – Coy Fish and Whales
Really starting to establish an aquatic theme to some of these.
21 – I’m Not Even Sure What This Is
22 – Prince
I’d already started the year with a few memorials, It seemed like Prince should get one too.
23 & 24 – Goodbye Noah and Welcome Micah
This is the series of weeks where everything started moving. One of the most talented designers on my design team turned in his resignation to go out on his own. Noah was a huge Zelda fan so we had to try and make him cry with a Link themed goodbye board. As sad as it was, the move gave us a chance to bring one of our super talented contract designers on full time. Micah may have actually rode into work on an elephant on his first day. This was also about the time that I knew I’d be leaving my job but i couldn’t really tell anyone yet.
25 – Unicorn Steve
Steve might be the smartest guy that i know and he asked for a unicorn, so Steve got a unicorn.
26 – Be Fearless
This was a significant whiteboard. It was the last one I drew at St. Jude. Most of my work had been wound down and i thought i should try and give the guys one last bit of cheesy dad advice.
27 & 28 Whale
The first few drawings in my new office let me start to get a feel for a new board with a familiar theme.
I thought the last two were kind of phoned in so i really wanted to do something cool before everyone in the new office got tired of sea creatures.
30 & 31- A Camera and A Mountain
32 – Mt. Rushmore of Game Show Hosts
I got the wild idea to ask for suggestions on this one and I never expected to be drawing a Mt. Rushmore of Game Show Hosts but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
34 Bear Puns
The puns we’re also solicited from friends. I think i did about 5 but these were my favorite two. (I’m counting this one as one board.)
35 More Bugs
These weren’t Jira tickets this time, it just seemed like something fun to draw again.
36 – 38 – Storm Trooper Target Practice, Bird in a tree, and Space Gibson’s
My 12 year old son helped with the storm trooper and we did shoot at it all week. The Space Ship delivering Gibson’s was maybe the strangest board I did all year but when someone from out of town says that your favorite donut shop is “out of this world” you end up doing strange things.
39 Lion Sept 7
I’d been threatening to sneak into Virginia’s office on a trip to Dallas and I finally got a chance. In between meetings and usability testing I got to go work on this guy over a couple of days. I think it might still be up.
40 – Sailboat
41 & 42 – Fish and Carol the Fox
If you’ve ever heard our Scottish friend Graeme try to say Carl Fox, you’d understand why we named the fox Carol.
43 – Free Coffee
44 & 45 – NASCAR Electoral Map and a Really Ugly Bird
I should have known better than to make a political joke, but i couldn’t help myself. Both of these boards had very short lives, I erased them as soon as i drew them and took the photos.
46 – Zombies
47 – R2D2
48 & 49 – Thanks Y’all and Blue Bennie Day Selfie
50 & 51 – Sailor Jerry Birds and Groot
I had to wrap up with something that reflected the whole project so i settled on going back to the sea creature theme.
On a side note, almost all of these we’re blatantly copied from other artist. There’s no way I could have planned and executed these so quickly if they were all original. I created a pin board off all the work i based these on if you want to see some of the originals. https://www.pinterest.com/johnlloyd/mural-ideas/