Sketching workshops in London

Make your ideas visible!

Sketching is a powerful tool to explore, structure, express and communicate your thoughts. Unlock the super-power of adding images and visual structure to your words to make the world (literally) see what you mean.

I am teaching two workshops in London on the 15th and 16th of November that dive deep into the topic of sketching as a practical tool for anyone involved in designing, planning and making things.

Sketching Interfaces –
Rapidly develop and iterate website designs and app interfaces, alone and in groups.

This workshop is focussed on sketching interfaces, layouts, interactions and flows. 

We will go through a mix of hands-on exercises, critique and underlying theory that dives into topics like choosing the right level of fidelity, creating visual structure and clarity, use of colour, annotations and sketching with a group. You'll learn how to use sketching as a tool to support your own thinking process and to share your concepts with you team in a clear and engaging way.
See full description on Eventbrite

Sketching for Visual Thinking
& Sketchnoting –

Capture and visualise concepts quickly and engagingly

This workshop takes the boundaries  beyond just “boxes and arrows”.

You’ll learn a simple framework for sketching anything you need to express and idea or tell a story: objects, people, actions, emotions and abstract concepts.
We’ll then dive into different ways of structuring information so that important ideas stand out and patterns and gaps become visible.
See full description on Eventbrite

The two workshops complement each other perfectly. Contact me to get a discount when booking both workshops. I am also reserving two tickets for each workshop for students or people with low income at a very discounted price. If you're interested, let's talk.

Tickets

Sketching Interfaces

 

Sketching for Visual Thinking and Sketchnoting

Going slideless – Speaking at Smashing Conference Toronto

I was invited to speak at Smashing Conference Toronto last week. 
The special thing about this conference was that none of the speakers at the conference was allowed to use slides, but instead was demoing their craft live to the audience.

 Live sketching at Smashing Conference Toronto. Photos by Marc Thiele:  flickr.com/photos/marcthiele/albums/72157670813337918

Live sketching at Smashing Conference Toronto. Photos by Marc Thiele:  flickr.com/photos/marcthiele/albums/72157670813337918

Vitaly from Smashing Magazine always has new (and sometimes slightly crazy) ideas, but when he asked me a few months ago if I wanted to take part in a 'slide-less conference' I was immediately up for it. Many of my talks include some part where I either invite the audience to sketch along while I draw or where I use 'sketching and talking' as a format to explain concepts. Usually I have some slides to give context and frame the whole talk, but this time, everything was supposed to be live and generated in the moment.

 

How I think when I think visually

In my talk I explored 'How I think when I think visually', breaking down my process for developing the types of visualisations and diagrams I use to understand complex problems and that can help as frameworks for problem solving with others.
In preparation for the talk I sketched a lot, visually thinking through different examples and tried to distill my process into a set of structured (and repeatable) steps. Thinking is a messy process and thinking visually is not necessarily happening in a straight orderly line either, but there are certain principles and 'modes of thinking' that I apply at different stages in the process.

 Some of the 'non-slides' that I drew live for the audience

Some of the 'non-slides' that I drew live for the audience

The talk (as the whole conference) was a bit of an experiment. Although I had practiced and made myself a nice time-boxed plan for getting through all the new material I had prepared, 40 minutes were not quite enough to get through everything. I actually think that the material will be best packaged into a full day workshop with demos and hands-on exercises for each step in the process, which I'll try to build out in the coming months.

 

A refreshing risk to take

I really enjoyed the conference. Seeing other designers and developers demo the way they work was very insightful and a refreshing change from the usual slide-packaged content. I have a lot of respect for all the speakers who took on the (slightly nerve-wrecking) challenge of demoing live (with all the things that might possibly go wrong) and for the Smashing team for taking the risk of trying out this new format. I heard from several attendees that they were slightly sceptical about what to expect before they arrived, but that they thoroughly enjoyed the different approach and the more direct and authentic glimpse into how other people in the industry practice their craft.

Thanks Vitaly and team for a smashing time in Canada!
A a special Thank You to Kristin Bolton-Keys for capturing this lovely sketchnote of my talk:

 instagram.com/p/BknsAyKDNXk

instagram.com/p/BknsAyKDNXk

My 'slides'

Here is my initial plan and the diagrams I drew live during my talk. As words and images are best friends, the sketches alone only tell half of the story and are not meant to be self-explanatory. I think the video of the talk will eventually be released.

 Timing for the talk

Timing for the talk

 Intro – When I think visually

Intro – When I think visually

 Three layers of communicating

Three layers of communicating

 Words and images are best friends with different strengths. Combined, these become super-powers.

Words and images are best friends with different strengths. Combined, these become super-powers.

 Different aspects of clarity that come with different challenges

Different aspects of clarity that come with different challenges

 The design process diamond: Diverging and converging – Exploring and shaping.

The design process diamond:
Diverging and converging – Exploring and shaping.

 My process for thinking things through visually.

My process for thinking things through visually.

If you have thoughts or questions about the material below, please leave a comment. I am interested to hear your thoughts and to develop the material further. 

Sketchnoting Nadine Roßa's Creative Morning talk

I finally managed to attend Creative Mornings Berlin for the first time this month (somehow I always seem to be travelling the day it’s on) and I couldn’t have wished for a better speaker for this debut than fellow sketchnoter and pen-lover Nadine Roßa.

Nadine talked about the power of drawing to remember things. She showed lots of examples from her own sketchbook as well as other people’s work (thank you, Nadine for including some of my travel-sketchnotes in your talk).

 Some of Nadine's pencil illustrations from the talk

Some of Nadine's pencil illustrations from the talk

Nadine is the (yet uncrowned) queen of illustrated pencil-puns and there are lots of lovely drawings of pencils-cum-all-kinds-of-objects in her talk. This alone is a good reason to watch the recorded video (embedded at the end of the post).

 Photo by Natalie Toczcek (https://www.flickr.com/photos/berlin_creativemornings/42035730794)

Photo by Natalie Toczcek (https://www.flickr.com/photos/berlin_creativemornings/42035730794)

I took some sketchnotes during Nadine’s presentation, trying to channel her style. I love trying to figure out which details make someone’s drawings feel like theirs and in her case two of the distinct features I associate with Nadine’s style are ...

channelin_nadine_details_faces.jpg

... the cute faces with their noses oriented to the side in profile but both eyes placed on the front of the face.

channelin_nadine_details_smiles.jpg

.. her ‘happy’ lettering style with the horizontal cross bars (of the H and the A) ‘smiling’ at you from the page.

Thank you Nadine and Creative Mornings for a happy start into my Friday. :)


Here are the full sketchnotes from the talk:

180609_CM_Berlin_nadine_rossa.jpg

And here's the video of Nadine's talk:

See more photos from the event (all taken by Natalie Toczcek).

How to visually document a Design & Innovation Workshop

00_intro_collage.jpg

Bringing together over 80 designers from different locations around the world for 3 days to meet face-2-face, exchange and work on a design challenge creating ideas for future innovation is an intense experience.

How can you document such an event, so that the ideas, conversations and results can live on beyond the event and be shared with the participants and spread within the wider organisation in an engaging way afterwards?

I recently got invited by HERE Technologies to help exactly with that, by creating digital sketchnotes during their 2018 Design Summit in Berlin. 

  Photo: HERE

Photo: HERE

HERE is a leading mobile location platform providing mapping and location data and services, enabling the development of innovative products in areas like navigation, transport & logistics, smart cities and infrastructure.

The topic of their design summit was the future of autonomous technology and it was divided into 3 days, each with a different format and focus.
 

Day 1 – Inspiration day

Day 1 was all about inspiration and exchange. 

Throughout the day, talks and demos were presented by different teams, showing the latest trends from their field and recent work and prototypes. The topics ranged from data collection, visualisation and mapping technology to current research, design and development practices.

  Photo: HERE

Photo: HERE

I captured the content of the talks live in digital sketchnotes. 

Digital sketchnotes are great, because they make it easy to edit and re-structure the content after the talk. Like that, the live captured material can be shaped into a well-rounded visual summary with just a small amount of extra work at the end.

I shared the summaries of all the talks with the organiser at the end of the day and they were ready to be used the next morning in the re-cap presentation of Day 1.


Another advantage of the digital format is that the different parts and individual thoughts can easily be extracted visual snippets and used separately in different formats, like internal communication or presentations on a particular topic.

The sketchnotes are vector based and can be exported as high-resolution files, so they can be used in any size, from small illustrations in a powerpoint deck to billboard-sized posters.

02_photo_ipad1.jpg

If you are interested in my actual set-up and the technical details of sketchnoting digitally during the event, please check back for part 2 of this article “Digital sketchnoting at the HERE Design Summit – behind the scenes”, which I'll publish here next week.
 

Day 2 – Workshop day

On day 2, everybody got to work.

The attendees got divided into groups, each with a different focus area, to work on ideas for the Smart City project in Dubai. Each group worked through a mini design-process, from brief and research input to ideation and development of a pitch for presentation the next day.

  Photo: HERE

Photo: HERE

My role during the day was to capture the process and document how people work together. 

I spent some time with each of the groups observing their process and eavesdropping on their conversations. I also did some short interviews with various attendees to get their thoughts on how they approach the design process. For that, the organisers and I had agreed beforehand on three questions to explore: 

  • How can we use our outside perspective to help the problem solving?
  • How do we empathise with users to solve the problem?
  • How do we get to the big picture from all the details?

To keep the interviews light and fun for people in-between the intense working phases, I sketched out each question on card, and treated the interview like a little game, turning over the cards one by one, asking people to give me their first thoughts on the topic.

I had a lot of really lovely little conversations and based on my notes, I summarised and visualised all the different perspectives by the end of the day. In addition to the actual results that were to be presented the next day, the interview sketchnotes were a nice way to also highlight design as a process and the difficulties and considerations that it contains.

Day 3 – Results day

On day 3 it was back to presentations and classic live sketchnoting of the concepts each group had developed and presented on stage. 

In addition to the slide decks and the videos that were filmed of each presentation, the  sketchnotes give a nice one page overview for each concept that can be consumed at a glance.

 The different groups that presented on day 3

The different groups that presented on day 3

Post-event wrap-up and feedback

After the event, I delivered a series of high-resolution sketchnotes to the client, one for each topic. It is always impressive to look back at the wealth of knowledge, ideas that can be produced in such a short amount of time. And being able to share and access this valuable content in a friendly and engaging format of visual notes helps to amplify the impact of an event like this – way beyond its duration and the group that was attending.

Or to say it with the words of J F Grossen, HERE's Global VP of Design:  “Our content and discussions covered a wide spectrum and tangled mesh of both consumer and expert systems technologies, processes and tools. Eva-Lotta was able to bring clarity and focus and a human interpretation. An amazing body of work that we will be referring to for some time to come.”
 

What about your event?

If you are interested in having your event documented with sketchnotes, you should get in touch so we can talk about your requirements.

 The complete set of sketchnotes produced during the 3 days

The complete set of sketchnotes produced during the 3 days