Live art

Graphic recorder John Cooper making live art at an event.

Graphic recording is artwork created live during an event. It has other names like live scribing, live drawing and graphic facilitation.

Whatever the event, graphic recording makes it more engaging by having artwork created during talks and discussions. It's a great way to add more colour and energy to conferences.

Say for example you're putting on an event. It's a full day of talks and activities, your delegates leave with a goodie bag and a handful of their notes.
With graphic recording, the audience is encouraged to photo and video the art being made, for their reference notes and also to share across social networks. This increases the reach and impact of the event for days and weeks after it has taken place.

Putting smiles on faces

Often my illustrations use humour to get the message across, so you'll be putting smiles on faces too. Seeing live artwork being created helps others get in a creative mood too, so your audience is buzzing and energised.

Are you a visual learner? Live scribing is a great way to make your event have an impact on your audience. Opinions, stories and light bulb moments are captured and remembered for you and your attendees long after the event has passed.

On this page are examples from various live events around the UK both live virtually for hybrid events.

live art by John Cooper. Graphic recording created during an event.  John is a live artist for hire, based in Manchester

Live events, hybrid and online

Graphic recording / Live recording / Live drawing (it has many names).

Creating art at speed is a challenge and the goal is to find a balance of words and pictures to summarise the theme of the talk. As an artist, I have to be present and adapt quickly to the visuals I'm creating.

There's a graphic design shorthand at work. Connecting what speakers are saying with what images are commonly represented by the subject being spoken about. There's also humour, as I like to add appropriate humour to visuals. Just my opinion, though I think with more serious topics, using a little light humour can help with how people engage with difficult subjects, and some of my clients agree.

Clients include;

  • Liverpool Hilton
  • Manchester City Council
  • National Fire Chief's Council
  • Willmott Dixon Construction
  • NHS North West
  • Bureau Veritas

Hard to be objective about my own work, the responses are always was very positive. After a talk, people want to see what artwork was made and share it across their social media. Also, some speakers like to take the artwork created for their talk with them as a memento.
It's a great way for them to remember the event and what was covered but also increased the engagement and reach of the event as a whole.

Speed portraits

Speed portraits are just that, quick portraits. I've worked at festivals and awesome shindigs like Art Battle Manchester, We Invented the Weekend, Overdrawn and more.

Often it's for events agencies who want something a bit different, or to give attendees a permanent souvenir they can take away. Weddings, conferences, conventions, etc. I'm available by the hour, or full day. All materials are provided.

Sometimes folks can be a bit apprehensive about sitting for a portrait. I used comedy chops and a sense of humour to help ease any nerves. In my experience, once the first brave few have been drawn, others are quickly drawn to ...being drawn, and the tricky part is trying to leave at the end of the night to the tune of "Just one more, mate please?" 😀

Previous events include;

  • Manchester Art Battle
  • We Invented the Weekend festival
  • Overdrawn (monthly)
  • Manchester Day
  • Stockport Family festival (Grit studios)
  • Liverpool BID awards
people queuing up for speed portraits at Manchester Day

Big queues for portraits at Manchester day!

John Cooper
Comedian & Improv coach
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