Tag Archives: image

Use sketchnotes and graphic recording to spread your speech’s message

A social speech has the power to extend your message’s reach beyond the audience in attendance. And one of the most powerful ways you can do that is by encapsulating that message in a self-contained, easily-shared piece of content: a social object.

Think of it as a spur to conversation: something that people will share and talk about online. (Jyri Engeström first coined the term, but cartoonist Hugh Macleod has done a lot to put it into practical terms.) For your speech, that social object could take many forms: A great clip of the key moment from your speech. An infographic illustrating and supporting your argument. A striking and relevant image, captioned with a text quotation from your speech.

Or it could take the form of graphic recording: an increasingly popular way of capturing the essence of speeches and conversations as illustrations, usually drawn live and in the moment.

Innovative workshop facilitators have been using graphic recording now for years. (Here’s Nancy White doing her marvellous graphic take on my Northern Voice talk from 2009.) And now it’s hitting the mainstream with everything from RSA’s now-famous whiteboard animations to sketchnotes at events like SXSW and (cough) the Nonprofit Technology Conference.

The folks at Duarte Design created a series of illustrations from last month’s TED 2013 talks – garnering more than 100,000 views on Slideshare. Here’s how one of them, capturing seven different talks, came together:

You don’t have to be nearly as ambitious in scope and scale, of course. But even a few simple sketches along with explanatory text can help your message spread – and inspire conversations that can lead to connection, action and impact.

And those sketches don’t require any special artistic training or cartooning skill. Books like The Sketchnote Handbook and The Back of the Napkin set out simple techniques you (or someone in your organization) can use to illustrate a message with clarity and power, even if you haven’t dared to doodle since grade school. And the Sketchnote Army website offers inspiration on demand, with tons of examples to learn from.

Add some identifying information — the speaker’s name, the event and date, an URL and a Twitter ID — and you’re ready to release your sketchnote into the wild as a social object. There are countless ways to do it:

  • post the image to your blog
  • post the image to Flickr
  • tweet it out after the speech
  • add it to the slide deck you post on Slideshare
  • turn it into a Prezi
  • animate it a little and post it to YouTube

Whichever way you share it (and any other social object you create), follow and join the conversations it triggers, and engage with the networks it helps you build.

P.S. – I’m convinced the current popularity of hand-drawn live notes owes no small debt to the impact of Common Craft‘s fantastic explanatory videos. So it’s no accident that I’ll also heartily recommend Lee LeFever’s The Art of Explanation, which is great on images and can help you add sound and video to the mix.

Doodlecasting: cartoons via RSS

I wanted to make my cartoons available via RSS, which I thought would be a fairly straightforward proposition… but not so, it turns out. Out of the box, there’s apparently no way to have WordPress make images automatically available as RSS enclosures – which is what many newsreaders rely on to display images.

But because someone has kindly stepped up and sent me a privately-created plug-in, you can now officially subscribe to what I’m calling my doodlecast. The feed is right here.

I’m waiting to hear if my benefactor has been able to convince the plug-in’s developer to release the code to the WordPress plug-in repository. As soon as I do, I’ll offer a fuller thank-you here. (In the meantime, let me just say: Christina, you rock!!!!!)

Photoshop, it’s not about you. It’s about me.

Believe me, Photoshop, you’re amazing. The things you can do with the Curves control, with channels, with compositing, with custom filters… you still take my breath away.

But lately we’ve been getting on each other’s nerves. Come on, admit it: you feel like I don’t appreciate you when I fire up the world’s most comprehensive image editing software just to crop some logo I found on the web. And I feel like you’re being too needy when you demand so much startup time, memory and processor overhead just to adjust the contrast on a photo.

Look, you need to know: there’s… there’s someone else.

Their name? Their name doesn’t matter. What matters is… okay, fine. It’s Snipshot. Are you happy?

Yes, they’re from Vancouver. But that’s not why I’ve been using them.

It’s because Snipshot lets me do the kind of simple, nimble image manipulation I so often need… and do it without opening anything but my browser. Yeah – it’s a web application, and it’s free.

You know what? I can install a little bookmarklet in my browser bar, and any time I’m on a web page with a graphic I want to use, I click on the bookmarklet, select the image and start editing. It’s fast and easy, and free.

Imagine combining that with Flickr. Do you know how liberating that is? Do you know how young and alive that makes me feel?

I’m sorry, that was cruel.

Listen, Snipshot isn’t perfect. For instance, I’d love an easier way of taking screenshots of entire web pages, and while I can use Snipshot with a service like Browsershots, it would be a lot cooler if there was something that could automatically grab whatever was on my clipboard and edit it.

And Snipshot is fast and easy, but nowhere near as smart and sophisticated as you are. I’m not even talking about your filters, type handling, layers, channels and effects – you handle far bigger pictures, with far more file formats, with far more precision than Snipshot could ever hope to. This year, anyways.

So this isn’t goodbye, Photoshop. It’s au revoir. I’ll still be bringing you out for the big and medium-sized jobs all the time. It’s just the little stuff where I’ll be using Snipshot… although granted, it’s little stuff that comes up a whole lot. And that kind of mundane work is beneath a piece of software as big and powerful as you are.

No, I’m not being patronizing. I mean it. We can still be friends, right? Good.

What, right now? Um, actually, now isn’t good for me. I have this little GIF that needs cropping, so I thought I’d, uh, use Snipshot and…

Photoshop? Hello?