Three quick cheats for drawing live

Three quick cheats for drawing live

The day of reckoning has arrived.

You’ve had some training in graphics and you’re determined to put your new skills into practice. You may have offered to take visual minutes at the next team meeting or to create a visual record of a planning session – whatever commitment you’ve made now’s the time to jump out of your comfort zone and take the plunge with live drawing.

Here are a few tips to help you out on the day.

1. Draw your title in advance.

Lettering can be tricky, especially when you’re feeling nervous, and particularly if you’re not used to writing and drawing large scale. Spelling mistakes are common. Give yourself the best start by writing your title out in advance. Add a simple graphic and the date, and you’re good to go. (Tip: Sketch out your lettering in pencil and/or draw pencil lines with a ruler to keep it straight)

2. Sketch a large drawing just before the event starts

You can kick off your recording by choosing a landscap format to begin with. With a landscap format there is a large sketch on your page which then becomes surrounded by the key nuggets you are recording e.g. bullet points of text and smaller sketches. Your large sketch can be related to the theme of the event or can represent the internal or external landscape – how the room is set up or any significant buildings or features outside the room. Doing this early on (you can always copy your drawing from a smaller sketch you make on your note pad) helps to build confidence and take away the often intimidating feeling of facing a (very large!) blank page.

3. Keep your icon library at your feet

Prepare an icon library (bank of images) in advance that is specific to your event. Research themes and topics that may emerge on the day. Bring this with you and keep it at your feet. That way if you get stuck on what to draw reach down and have a quick look through your icon library for ideas.

Remember this is your gig. Do what you need to do to feel calm and in control. Making peace with your nerves is a good first step. It’s natural to be nervous; it’s a sign that you care. Breathe through your nerves instead of fighting them and you’ll feel a lot calmer.

Good luck and if you need a debrief afterwards feel free to drop me a line!

Your training questions answered

Some of you have been in touch about Secrets of Simple Graphics open course and naturally have some questions before deciding to book.

Deciding to go on a course is not as simple as being interested in the topic and being available on the day of the course. I appreciate there is a lot more to it than that.

That’s why I’ve put together this simple Q&A guide to answer any concerns or queries you may have. You’ll also hear from past delegates who shared similar concerns.

About course requirements
Q. Do I have to be able to draw to go on the course?
A. Absolutely not! Don’t worry if you haven’t drawn anything for years, or believe you can’t draw. You’re in exactly the right place to build your confidence and practice step-by-step in a safe environment.

‘You don’t need to draw to do the course – it is totally true. At the start of the day no-one wanted to do anything on a flipchart but by 4pm the pens were not for being put down! Really useful tips and tools for using in work‘
Audrey MacNeill, Administrator | Kinharvie Institute

‘I started the day convinced I couldn’t draw, but using the techniques, hint and tips Emer gave throughout the day I am now raring to go and run a session!’
Fiona Dee, Organisational Development Business Partner | Midlothian Council
Q. Is there any pre-course work?
A. No. If you have specific questions about how to apply graphics to your work do bring these on the day.

Q. Do I need to bring anything?
A. All materials are supplied on the day. All you need to bring is an open mind.

Q. Will I have to draw in front of other people? 
A. Exercises are varied and include working alone, working in pairs and working in groups. If you don’t feel comfortable about engaging in any element of the course that’s no problem at all. As with anything new there is often an element of stepping out of your comfort zone. My intention is to support people to learn in a safe environment, not to coerce people into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable!

‘A great course!  Despite my initial trepidation, I now feel more confident about using graphics with my clients.  Emer’s patience and pragmatism meant that all of us on the course learned a lot, were able to practice in a safe environment and now have the tools and techniques to apply our learning back in the “real world”.’
Rachel Letby | Crail Consulting

About the course content
Q. Is it about graphic facilitation or something else?
A. The course is an introduction to the different ways simple graphics can be used and includes: the advantages of graphics, the four main ways of using graphics (graphic facilitation is one of these main ways), building blocks of graphics. You will get lots of tips on how to create simple images quickly and will get the opportunity to practice your skills as you learn them. The final exercise involves creating a one page piece which you may use for presentations, training or simply to explain an aspect of your work.

Q. Will you be judging our drawings?
You can be assured I won’t be judging anything! As a group we will look at what we have produced and discuss its effectiveness and application in a work setting. It may help you to know I don’t have a background in art. On the course you’ll also learn how graphics differs from art (phew!).

Q. Is it just for trainers and facilitators?
A. No. We have had people from areas as diverse as law, marketing, interior design and counselling as well as trainers, facilitators, coaches, presenters. If you are in the business of communicating you will benefit from this personal development course.

‘The course was fantastic – really inspiring and instilled confidence that you can use graphics in your own workplace – no matter what your intended audience.’
Alison Marron, Solicitor | Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

‘Undoubtedly the most fun CPD course I have ever attended!’
Dr Nicky Imrie, Training Officer | Scotland’s Urban Past 

Q. What about post-course support?
A. On the day you will create an action plan for implementing what you have learned into your work. For one month after the course you will receive a series of follow up emails to support your learning. You’ll also be able to email me with queries, questions, challenges you have regarding implementation of the course. In addition you can ask me for feedback on work you have completed or pick my brain for ideas!

About the venue

For information (including access, location, transport, parking etc.) about the Edinburgh Conference and Training venue please click here and for information about Engineers’ House, Bristol, please click here.

I hope you found this Q&A useful. If there’s anything I missed out do get in touch.