Live drawing at OWN IT 2018

Occasionally I will be asked to do "live drawings" at events. Live drawings are not quite caricatures, not quite full-fleshed cartoons, and the person who asks you to do them usually never has any specific ideas for what they should be. It's like saying, "hey artist! Do your thing!"  Liberating, but can also be overwhelming if you don't plan it right. 

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of drawing at the 2018 OWN IT summit at Georgetown University, which featured a panoply of inspiring women speakers. Here are a few notes and examples of my takeaways: 

The right spiral bound notebook

Spiral bound notebooks are the easiest, since you don't have to worry about awkwardly keeping a book open when you draw. To the OWN IT summit I brought an 8x8 incher, which I think is the perfect size, save the fact that it didn't fit in my purse. 

Sketches of  Symone Sanders . 

Sketches of Symone Sanders



I've been weaning myself off Microns for the past few years and onto speedball nibs. When you are drawing at places other than a desk such tools are impractical, of course, so I like to use Tombows and the Kuretake No 8 brush pen. If you are drawing women, the brush pen also gives you nice lines for wavy hair.



The hardest part of live drawing at big overwhelming events is figuring out what to focus on. I like to fill up a few pages with boxes like this:


I'm not necessarily going to create a whole comic in these panels, but it's good way to carve out a small spaces to narrow your options. Here is something I drew while tabling at the Short Run Seattle:


When it comes to drawing and talks and conferences, sketches of people on a panel is not very interesting. 

Hey look, it's some folks sitting in chairs.

Hey look, it's some folks sitting in chairs.

Panel with  Amy Brittain ,  Tammy Cho  and Mattie Larson. 

Panel with Amy Brittain, Tammy Cho and Mattie Larson. 

Or maybe I should say I'm not the sort of artist who can make that interesting. I'm sure plenty of artists could. My own sweet spot is capturing the person and what they have to say, which allows me to give the face and hand-lettering equal weight: 

Didn't manage to get a quote here, but I still like how this came out. 

Didn't manage to get a quote here, but I still like how this came out. 

Some vendors at the OWN IT Marketplace. 

Some vendors at the OWN IT Marketplace.