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  • Writer's pictureEllen O'Neill

How I Became a Graphic Recorder

Updated: Jul 23, 2018

Graphic Recording for Virtual Conference
Collaboration with Graphic Recorder Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink

Graphic Recorder is a job title many people I speak to have never heard before. As I start to describe what it is, I always think of Brandy Agerbeck (a leader in the field) and how she describes the work. She starts off by saying "I have a very strange job".

It IS a bit of a strange job. I show up to events with easels, a huge foam board, large rolls of paper and handfuls of colorful markers. It might look like I am headed to set up craft time for young children! Instead, I am there to help speakers and presenters spread knowledge and understanding about a wide variety of subjects. You can read more about what Graphic Recording is here.

Once I describe the work, the next question I am usually asked is "How did you get into doing this?". I first heard about the field from Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink. She was telling me about the work she was doing and showed me around her studio in Toronto. I was intrigued so she started handing me some resources to look through. Once I flipped through The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde I was completely hooked. Looking at the informational drawings by Mike and the other contributors to the book, I felt as if I had found my people!

Over the years, I have worked in many different fields, ranging from finance to construction work to healthcare. The wide variety of interests that I have made it hard to settle on any one field for long. Since childhood, I have loved lettering and drawing. I dabbled in calligraphy and silly cartoon drawings for friends and family.

I realized that making visual maps like sketchnotes and graphic recording combined my interests in drawing and being involved in conversations about many different subjects.

Patricia became my mentor and encouraged me every step of the way. At first, I began by sketching memory sketchnotes of my travels as well as podcasts as I listened to them.

Travel Sketchnote
Travel sketchnote of a trip to Ecuador

In my experience, the people I have met in the graphic recording field are pretty darn amazing! They are just as supportive and informative personally as they are professionally. Besides Patricia, Karina Mullen Branson of Conversketch has also been an incredible resource. These ladies, along with the other professionals in the field, are doing important work with people all over the world. I am so excited to have the opportunity to do this work alongside of them.

Graphic Recording for Virtual Conference
Collaboration with Patrica Kambitsch

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