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  • Writer's pictureJulia Bakay

Live Illustration for an NHS Event

October 19th was a special day at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, as it was the day of their highly anticipated Sharing Good Practice Festival! To capture this important day, I was asked to come and use my skills as a Live Illustration artist. It was a special occasion for me as well, as got to undertake a great challenge - creating a Visual Summary of the entire day, something I don't often get the chance to do.


When I'm invited to an event to do Live Graphic Recording (aka Live Illustration), it's generally with a mandate to capture a few specific sessions, keynotes, or panel discussions. Depending on what I was asked to focus on, I would normally fill a canvas in 1-2 hours. This type of work requires intense focus, creative thinking, and constant drawing, as such, there's a natural limit to how many sessions an artist can capture in a single day.


At this NHS event I would have needed a time turner

So what do you do when the NHS approaches you with an event of 4 keynote speeches and 24 sessions? How can you capture it all without a Time-Turner from Professor McGonagall?



One of the first questions I ask my clients is "what's the purpose of this Visual?". Knowing what they would like the graphic to achieve aids me in tailoring my approach to meet those expectations. Early into our discussions, I discovered that they would like to use Live Illustration as a way to summarize the key themes of this event, allowing them to:

  • share it with the participants as a celebration upon wrapping up the event

  • send it via email for personal prints as a reminder of all the great work they are doing

  • use it to promote future events

Therefore, my goal here was to make sure the 4 keynote speeches, 24 sessions, and several posters are all combined into one graphic by the end of the day, showcasing all the fantastic topics covered throughout the event! This was a novel way of approaching such a big event for me as well, and I relished the challenge.



I really enjoyed learning about all the great things the NHS is doing. As I didn't have a designated station this time, I was walking around to get a feel of it all - coming and going between the many conference rooms and capturing what I heard, consulting my agenda and map to ensure I wasn't missing anything or getting lost.


Despite the storm raging through the UK, with many of us sure of how we were going to get home, it was a delightful and warm event - as portrayed by the colours of the final illustration! The atmosphere was amazing with lots of friendly faces; it really felt like a festival, just like the organisers intended it to be.


Graphic Recording Artist after NHS event with tablet

I'm proud to present the NHS Sheffield Teaching Hospital’s Sharing Good Practice Festival commissioned artwork, a Live Illustration created on the scene October 19, 2023!



Live Illustration at an NHS Event

A big thanks to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH) and the National Health Service (NHS) for inviting me to this truly memorable event.


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