What Does a Graphic Recorder Do?

A Day in the Shoes of a Graphic Recorder

A Day In The Shoes of a Graphic Recorder

It’s game day. 

No, your favorite team isn’t playing their rivals on national television.

Today’s the day that a thought-leader with a major following is giving the keynote talk at a business conference, a 40-minute talk that will be recorded live by a TruScribe artist.

Who’s the artist? You, of course.

Have you ever wondered what a graphic recording event is like for one of TruScribe’s artists? Well, now’s your chance to find out. Put on the VR goggles of your imagination and step into the shoes of a TruScribe graphic recorder. 

Pre-Game Preparation

So, back to game day.

Luckily, you’re prepared. As an artist at TruScribe, preparedness is your middle name. Sort of a weird middle name, but it fits. You’ve done your research, which includes reading up on the subject matter, listening to other talks the thought-leader has given, and planned out potential imagery and icons to use.

You arrive at the conference center an hour and a half before the keynote talk. The first thing you do is find your point of contact, and introduce yourself if you haven’t yet met in person.

Next, it’s time to set up: two easels, high-grade professional drawing paper, and large foam-core boards; just like that, your graphic recording canvas is ready to go. You run through your supply list, and make sure all your markers are in tip-top shape. You strap on your Graphic Recorder belt, a holster for all your markers and other tools. 

When the keynote speaker arrives, you shake her hand with a genuine smile on your face. After all, not every job brings you in contact with well known thought-leaders. 

Then it’s count down time. Twenty minutes to blast off. You take your position at the Big Board, which is situated prominently but unobtrusively to the side of the stage. You watch as the conference hall fills up with attendees, including several C-level executives from elite players in the field. The excitement in the room is palpable. 

It’s Game Time

The organizer of the event takes the stage and introduces the keynote speaker.

“She’s written three books, founded and sold two companies, and her Ted Talk has been viewed more than three million times.”

No pressure, you think, ready for the challenge. 

Is your heart beating fast? Perhaps it is. After all, you’re about to perform live drawing in front of a crowd as large as eight hundred. Visual artists don’t often perform in front of crowds. But for you, the pressure and public performance aspect of it make it special. 

A big round of applause accompanies the thought-leader as she takes the stage. And she begins to speak.

You uncap your marker. You turn and face the big blank canvas, as white and empty as the arctic must have appeared to the intrepid explorers of the eighteenth century.

Okay, maybe that’s overdoing it a little bit. But it is a little epic.

As the thought-leader gives her talk, your TruScribe expertise switches into high gear. You’re listening to her talk, while drawing at the same time. You achieve the mental state of flow as you capture the speaker’s ideas in metaphorical images, concise diagrams, and illustrative text.

For the next forty minutes, as the thought-leader covers the expected topics, takes detours into unexpected anecdotes, and inspires the audience with cutting edge practices in the field, you are a conduit for her ideas, making them visible to the entire audience.

Post-Game Glory

When the talk is over, the previously empty Big Board is now a large-scale mural.

Attendees flock over with their cell phones out. Naturally, the conference’s hashtags and branding essentials are featured prominently on the big board, so every picture taken and shared (whether it’s to LinkedIn, or a Slack channel at their company) is an advertisement for the conference.

You stand off to the side, shaking hands and answering questions. People are amazed, intrigued, and delighted.

The Big Board will stay up for the rest of the day after being moved to a place with heavy traffic so that it remains a centerpiece for the conference attendees.

The thought-leader comes over and is delighted to see her words and ideas succinctly represented in such a novel way. She snaps a selfie with several attendees of the conference with the Big Board as a backdrop, and soon the conference is trending on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. 

At the end of the day, you take down the Big Board, and roll up the paper so you can get it scanned. Every attendee of the conference will get a digital image of the graphic recording, a kind of memory of all the useful takeaways from the inspiration-packed keynote.

As you head home from the conference, you can relax with the feeling of a job well done and a client not just satisfied, but thrilled.

All in a day’s work for a visual artist at TruScribe.