I am often asked about my work as a graphic recorder and the question most people want to know is, how to get started.
In this post I will share basic tips on how to take that first step in putting pen to paper, or stylus to device (depending on your chosen medium).
If you would like a 1:1 coaching session or an interactive workshop for your team on how to record any information in a graphic recording, then get in touch to find out about my workshop.
Sketchnoting for Business (even if you think you cannot draw)
Firstly, what is Graphic Recording?
Graphic Recording is a way of capturing visual content in an eye-popping and compelling way, using a combination of lettering, words, shapes and figures. Graphic recording is Ideal for both online and in person events or meetings, in fact any occasion where you want your message to stand out and to grab people’s attention visually.
A graphic recording will help to spark imagination, highlight the key talking points and keep the conversation going long after the speaker has finished. This form of visual storytelling appeals to busy people who want a snapshot of information in a one page summary.
‘But I cannot draw’
I hear this everyday. The truth is I can’t draw either, and it’s not necessary. The purpose of a Graphic Recording is to quickly and efficiently capture ideas and highlights in a fun way, whilst improving the chances of recall of information as our brain loves visual imagery to help us connect the dots and remember things.
Anyone can draw basic shapes and all you need to get started is to be able to draw a square, circle triangle and a straight line. These are the building blocks.
How to get started?
Initially you will need to decide if you would prefer to capture your ideas via pen and paper, or whether you would like to use a digital device such as the iPadPro.
Choose your Medium
Digital Vs Paper.
If you choose digital, you will need a tablet with a stylus and a drawing app. The benefits of using a tablet is that your graphic recording can be transmitted easily and saved in different formats. It is also possible to edit and undo and correct mistakes. On the down side, I personally found that mastering the IPadPro with Procreate and Concepts (the main apps I use) to be a very steep learning curve.
I started off using paper. I prefer a combination of flip chart sized paper as well as moleskins and sketch pads.
You will also need pens/textas/markers
Tip: It is faster to get your ideas down onto paper, so you might like to start with this and progress to digital. Of course, digital is much quicker to be able to share, so take this into account if you need to get the content out quickly to attendees/participants.
Also, starting with paper is a low cost way to dip your toe into graphic recording. You don’t need to get fancy with markers when you are starting out. You can definitely borrow some from the kids, or just pick up a basic pack at the supermarket or stationary store.
To start I recommend;
- A pack of Staedtler highlighter chisel tips in both pastel and brights
- Some calligraphy markers and lettering pens – Artine is a good starter option
- A pack of brush lettering pens – make sure there are a range of skin tones.
Once you feel ready, you can invest in quality pens and tools. I like to use Neuland Markers from Graphic Gear.
Next, you need to develop a visual library. Shapes, lines, lettering, figurines, faces, objects. Be patient – it takes time and practice. 9/10 adults say they can’t draw, but you can. You are not aiming to be the next Picasso, this is about capturing the essence and points of a meeting or event. If you are struggling for inspiration, have a look on Instagram or Pinterest for some ideas or check out my gallery!
There are also some great books about graphic recording;
Practice every day! Use a conversation as a prompt, or something you see in a coffee shop, or read in a book. You can make a graphic recording of anything. Maybe find a drawing buddy or enrol in a workshop.
Don’t leave home without them…your pens that is!
I found a nifty grey felt holder from Ikea that is perfect for carrying pens around with me.
I suggest you always carry some tools with you (even just a notebook and a few coloured pens) as you never know what you might come across, and there are so many opportunities to draw!
Have fun, be creative and you will be on your way to becoming a visual storyteller!
About the author
Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor.
She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations.
If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.
Here’s how I may help you
Whether you have a hidden story of your feet, or you want to nail your next presentation, I can help you.
My services include:
Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.
Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.
Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.
Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.