Mark Korsak recently contacted me to tell me that Scott McCloud would be in town for an event, courtesy of Maga Design. The International Forum of Visual Practioners is having it's annual meeting in DC. It's not open to the general public, but you can register to attend. Several local cartoonists such as Kevin Rechin, Joe Sutliff, Teresa Logan and especially Joe Azar have done jobs in this emerging field. Mark's quite happy with his new career, noting that he gets to travel around and was just in India for three days.
MR: What is graphic recording?
MK: Graphic Recording is one of a few terms used to describe someone who uses hand done static visual media to capture and document information, communicate ideas and foster development and creative thinking in real time. Most Graphic Recorders are hired for a presentation or development meeting. They go in to the event, tape a 4 x 8 foot sheet of paper up on a wall, and draw/write what everyone in the room is saying while they're saying it. Live. Improvisationally. They do this because it engages people in a way that talking alone, or a powerpoint presentation, can't. The audience becomes more absorbed in the subject. They retain information better and participate in the experience. Afterwards there is a unique visual record or the experience that can be referenced. Over all there is a much deeper impact.
There are 2 camps in the field. One would be Graphic Recorders, like me, who draw/write what is happening. The second camp is Graphic Facilitators. They tend to have much less drawing experience, but have psychology and management degrees. They know how to get a room full of people to think/work together and use the drawing more as a tool to build consensus. I am often paired with a facilitator on an assignment. They do the talking, I do the drawing.
Do the drawings tell a story?
Absolutely. For the people in the room, drawing is magic. It leaves a much deeper impression and ends up standing as an inspiration.
How did you get involved in the field? Are you a cartoonist?
I'm an illustrator/designer. I moved to DC from New York a few years ago. In an effort to connect with the local design community. I attended a cocktail party at Maga Design, a consulting firm here in DC that engages all their clients with Graphic Recording (and host of the cocktail party). I met Jim Nuttle and Greg Gersch at that party. Both of them are illustrator/designers that have become highly sought after Graphic Recorders. They introduced me to the Graphic Recording industry (along with Joe Azar) and I have since taken up the mantle.
Why do cartoonists make good practitioners? Or don't they?
artists make excellent Graphic Recorders because they are, foremost, keen observers. Listening skills are paramount when capturing a sessions. Secondary advantages are knowledge of how to design a page, tell a story visually, an extensive visual vocabulary, knowledge of what works or doesn't work on a page, familiarity with type and different fonts, color theory, and general comfort with drawing/filling a page, just about all the skills a visual artist has.
Why did you invite Scott McCloud to come to DC to speak to your group?
There are many fantastic books out there that talk about visual thinking and facilitating, but Scott McCloud's book "Understanding Comics" has become a must read for the Graphic Recording industry as it delves so deeply into the nuts and bolts of why/how images/drawings work. Scott is finishing up his tour for "The Sculptor" and starting to research his next book, which will be more along the lines of "Understanding Comics" (or so he tells me). Not only will his lecture be informative to the attendees of the conference, but he will also be conducting interviews himself and researching his next book.To give you an idea of what Graphic Recording looks like here are the finish files from the capture I did recently. In an effort to learn more about the needs of the DC and Suburban Maryland community Kaiser Permanente gathered together a variety of community leaders and medical professionals for a day of dialogue and discussion. Both these panels are 4 x 8 ft. At the end of the day, the client keeps them. They usually hang them up in their office for a time as inspiration.