What is Graphic Recording?
Graphic recording is the skill of listening, synthesizing and transforming the spoken word into a visual language in real-time. They are rich, visual notes created from a blending of handwriting, drawings, hand-rendered display type, shapes, and visual elements to help capture the essence of a speech, presentation or performance. The goal is to take a complex narrative and break it down to its essential elements and create a memorable, easy-to-understand low-tech summary on paper large or small.
Other labels commonly referred to this art form: visual thinking, visual notes, graphic notes, sketch notes, graphic scribe, and creative meeting notes.
Basic requirements of graphic recording:
- It helps if you can listen carefully while sketching 30 seconds behind
- It helps if you can write legibly
- It helps if you focus only on key points that are interesting to you
(as opposed to trying to write everything that is said-- you are not a stenographer)
- Whenever possible, replace words with pictures
- Utilize icons, metaphors, and visual puns when you can
- Drawing quickly and from memory is a must.
Practice drawing random, everyday objects will help build up your visual vocabulary
And this is how urban sketching come into play:
Urban sketching: careful observation
Graphic recording: careful listening and drawing from memory
Urban sketching: loose sketching
Graphic recording: loose writing/drawing
Urban sketching: you don't have to draw everything you see
Graphic recording: you don't have to write down everything you hear
Urban sketching: everyday objects sketched from observation
Graphic recording: everyday objects, shapes and forms from memory
Urban sketching: break down scene to most important element
Graphic recording: break down summary to most important points/visuals
Urban sketching: sketch real time on location
Shape-triangles: arrows, pentagon, bow tie, Forward or Rewind, wedge
USK equivalents: rooftops, tents, umbrellas, milk carton, caps on building, caps on banisters, yield sign, caution sign, school crossing sign, porch roof, bike frame, navigational/directional signs, FedEx tubes, windows, railroad crossing
Shape-circles: balls, domes, ellipse, ovals, lightbulb, tear drop, clouds
USK equivalents: wheels, coins, manhole cover, tokens, street lights, wrong way sign, donuts, bagels, cupcakes, pizza, plates, porthole window, the sun/moon, coasters, capital building, arches
Shape-squares: rectangle, bars, square dot pattern, grid
USK equivalents: buildings, homes, windows, doors, tile, bricks, flooring, vases, pillars, caution sign (diamond shape), buses, trains, cargo ships, bridges