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Thoughts from a Keynote Artist & Visual Strategist

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  • Writer's pictureJulia Bakay

The Fine Art of Graphic Recording

Is true art really possible when it comes to Live Graphic Recording?

It’s both a blessing and a curse to come into this field with an artistic background. Drawing in real-time, due to the natural pace of conversations, often requires speedy work. This is at odds with my aesthetic perfectionism, and I know that part of my journey is embracing the mistakes. Some find the answer to this in working on the project both before and after the event, but does this mean it's no longer Live Graphic Recording?

I see why some colleagues would argue that artistry is not a core component of this job, that if it looks good then that’s merely a bonus. Indeed, if we have to pick between beauty and functionality, we must choose the latter.

But do we really have to choose? Alas, I’m an artist at my core and couldn’t do it any other way. As long as I look at Graphic Recording as a form of art...

I’ll just have to rise to meet my own expectations...

I’m of the new generation - joining this field after the technological revolution when the development of tablets & virtual meeting apps allowed us to provide this service digitally.

Seeing the aesthetic magic these devices allow me to create, I don’t see myself going back to using marker pens and foam boards any time soon… but thankfully, many of my colleagues still very much enjoy working in this medium (reach out if you need recommendations!)

We all do and see things differently and we all have something unique to offer, but since colors, proportions, and compositions are so vital to my work, parting with what allows this in my Live work would be like clipping my wings.

During Graphic Recording, I aim to capture the information in logical and witty ways, while finding beautiful solutions so do so. It is due to these combined expectations I have for myself that I find Live Graphic Recording to be such a noble challenge.

Yet, in a moment of speedy drawing, as I’m traversing the jungle of self-judgement, I’m constantly trying to discern what is actually under my control and what isn’t, what is possible and what isn’t. ...and I’m hoping that I’ll come out on the other end feeling free from any perceived limitations.

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”

- Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

Fortunately, Graphic Recording doesn't know rules, only suggestions, and I can keep working towards my own, rather optimistic vision.

I set out to create something logical, witty, and beautiful, all at the same time, whilst capturing all of the key ideas of the event I’m recording. I want it to make sense to someone who wasn’t even there, for them to feel drawn in for a few moments and take away all that was meant to be remembered.

Not a simple goal, but certainly one worth striving for.

Like many of us, I believe I’m only scratching the surface of what I’m capable of, and I just need to keep going to realize my potential. The key will be to practice, not only the visual skills, but the practice of unapologetic presence.

“Why is it,” Jonathan puzzled, “that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he’d just spend a little time practicing?”

Feel free to visit now and then to see my progress...

People in museum enjoying artwork on the wall

Explore my examples of Artistic Graphic Recording if you're interested!


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