What is Graphic Recording?

Graphic Recording, or scribing, is the live drawing of a meeting or event by a Scribe... in other words, me. As people discuss and explain their ideas I capture them on a large piece of paper, synthesising the essential elements of the event into a combination of words and images. As you can imagine, in a world where Powerpoint still dominates, it's a powerful technique. Better still, the resulting drawings can be re-worked as Rich Pictures, pulling out the most important points and distilling key messages into their most potent form.

Who is Graphic Recording for?

Graphic recording works beautifully for everyone. Businesses and organisations expend a lot of effort running meetings and creating events. Graphic Recording delivers an extra, essential visual element with the benefits of bringing workshops, meetings and events to life, and creating a visual record. I have drawn for organisations large and small, everything from big software companies and the NHS to tiny student-run events.

Chris Shipton graphic recording at TEDx Oxford - Nick Bostrom

When is Graphic Recording used?

I use large sheets of paper to record a speaker using an entertaining mix of cartoons, diagrams and text. In a workshop, a more intimate affair, my work forms a cornerstone of facilitation. At key moments throughout an event there will be times when live illustration has a particularly powerful effect. Take the image on the right, an example of drawn templates used to help facilitate an ideas session - in this case a little too successfully!

A hand drawn template covered in post it notes

Where does it take place?

I work in boardrooms, workshops, offices, hotels, on stage, off stage, in hotels in foreign countries, on exhibition stands… anywhere I can put up a sheet of paper. Even if there's no space for a big sheet of paper, it's still entirely possible to visualise an event. Using a large drawing board provides plenty of space to capture ideas, big enough for participants to see. So far there hasn't been a technology invented that can beat a massive bit of paper and a pen.

A large sized drawing baord with a Graphic Recording pinned to it

Why?

Because people think visually, audiences and participants respond really well to visualisations of the event they're involved in. This unusually high level of engagement is invaluable to an event organiser who has worked hard to bring so many people together in the same place. I am often asked if my work can distract an audience. If it does, then good. It's better for people to lose themselves in a wholly relevant business-focused drawing than spend their time gazing out of the window!

Snap shot of a customer segmentation Graphic Recording

How is it done?

A Scribe or a team of Scribes listens carefully, watching the event unfold, processing the information and capturing it in a combination of words and images. My preference is for a pen and a big bit of paper. Tablets and Wacom tablets connected to big screens can work too. But there's something special about a large, empty sheet being filled up live, as an event progresses. The audience gets a big kick out of it, too.

If you like the sound of graphic recording, let's talk about how I'll help you get where you want to be.

Chris Shipton drawing on a larg bit of paper