You want to do your first live scribbling? Read this first!

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Photo: Jolanta Uscilaityte Emami

I had the opportunity to do a live scribbling while Nadège, our UX Lead designer, was doing a presentation about User Experience and Ethics. I never did something like this before and I took one afternoon to prepare. As I was looking for tips on the internet, I decided after the event to publish also some of mine that I learned.

#1 One pen and one marker

Really basic advice. A pen for your main drawings and a marker for contour, detail and shadow.

#2 Choose one or two colors (three if you’re a rebel)

Indeed, I think that one or two colors perfectly do the trick. Black, for the main sketches, then a lighter color, either for shadow (beige or pale grey) or contour (blue, pink..Time to be funky)

Why can it not be more than 3 ? I think that it will be unreadable and you will confuse the audience.

Remember: You are not here to do color drawing. You are here to help share the speaker’s perspective on a subject.

#3 Learn the basics

Do not waste too much time on drawing bubbles or arrows. You need to know two or three different sort of shapes so that you can fully focus on the content while you are drawing. Kind of like atomic design : save time by drawing elements (atoms) that you already drew before.

#4 Be aware of different kind of live scribbling architecture

I did a basic vertical scribbling but it exists several ways. For exemple the star or the Z.

#5 Learn to draw people

Little characters can do perfectly the trick.

About faces, try to be simple:

But there is still a lot of details, we can do better:

Don’t try to draw full faces everytime everywhere. For example use the little character for representing an idea:

And a face when it is about a specific person (the speaker itself, people quoted like Tim Brown…)

#6 Do. not. waste. TIME !

You will need to prepare yourself with different kind of speaker. For example the submachine gun one:

You get the point: she is speaking fast.

You need to catch the main sentences: you can’t write them all ! Don’t waste time on trying to draw the perfect bubble or the perfect shadow. That is the main point of a live scribbling: just feel the flow baby. You can add details at the end of the presentation.

#7 Sign your work and check for mistakes

Yes, it is work. People are gonna take pictures and share it across social media. It is important to add your name so that you can avoid bad surprises. Maybe not a © like I did -little too much - but at least your name !

This is what happened:

Fortunately, I did put my name on my scribbling right after I finished it, you can see it down below the image. My mentor tagged me also on the post:

Also, take 5 minutes to check spelling and grammar mistakes before showing your scribbling and let people take pictures !

#8 Enjoy !

A cliché way to end an article, but it is totally true. You are doing graphic facilitation. I think it is an incredible opportunity to share the speaker knowledge by drawing ! A scribbling is much more attractive than a paragraph. In addition, it will be easier for everyone to remember what the presentation was about.

Remember: you are the owner of your scribbling, do what suits you best in terms of content and methodology.

Bonus tip:

Practice !

Watch a Ted Talk and draw ! It is an excellent exercise for live scribbling even though it is a hard one : there is neither break nor pause, and nothing written on the slides…

Here is the result of my first live sketching:

Of course, one week later, I can find a lot to say regarding this drawing. However I am proud: I did it !

What about you ? Any advice for live scribbling beginners ? :)

That’s it for my part !

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to leave a clap if you liked this article !

Thanks to Nadège for the incredible opportunity !

Written by

User Experience Designer @vNext, Paris.

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