Three fun ways to colour in quickly

Three fun ways to colour in quickly

You know those colouring in books that are really popular at the moment? The mindfulness ones with the intricate designs?

Well I’ve thought about getting one.

However the truth is…everytime I think about it another part of me wants to get out my biggest fattest chunkiest marker and scribble like crazy all over the beautiful designs.

There, I’ve said it.

When it comes to graphics, and especially when it comes to working live with a group, we can’t afford the luxury of painstakingly perfect colouring in. After all, we’re there to serve the group, not our artistic egos.

Here are some fun ways to colour in quickly – with each method colouring in can be done behind or around the image (often quicker) or inside the image.

1. Crosshatching

Crosshatching is a pattern. Here are some other patterns you can try:

patterns

2. Chalk pastels  – this is messy, fast and fun.

chalk paint

3. Shading – I like to use grey for shading (think: where is the sun coming from? and then you’ll know where to shade. For example if the sun is in the top right corner your shading will be left and bottom); other colours are just as effective.

shading

I hope you enjoy these tips. Don’t forget to check out the open courses page for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics date.

Top tips for lettering on flip charts

Top tips for lettering on flip charts

Have you ever written a list on a flipchart only to discover that, despite best efforts, your writing makes a downward curve?

Here are my top tips for lettering:

  • Write your title in advance where possible. Figure out how many letters you can fit across the page before you run out of space.

 

  • When writing live, add a little mark to the opposite side of the page (where your sentence will end). Glance over at the mark from time to time – this acts as a guide to help keep your writing straight.

 

  • Stick out your pinky! Use it to anchor your hand on the page. This works whether you are right or left-handed.

 

  • Using a ruler, draw lines on your flipchart in pencil beforehand.

 

  • Use a piece of flipchart paper with thick lines and place it behind the page you are working on. (This always reminds me of my Mum sitting down to write a letter to my aunt using Basildon Bond stationery.)

 

  • On that note it’s also possible to buy flipchart paper that features lines or guides to help your writing.

Remember to use plain lettering with no serifs (small lines added to the stroke of a letter like this for example) and avoid fancy calligraphic strokes. They may look pretty but they are often inaccessible to your audience.

I hope you enjoyed these tips on lettering – if you have any of your own do let me know and I’ll share them in a future edition.

For more tips and hands on practice to boot why not join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics in Edinburgh on April 26th 2019? More information and booking here >>

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!