5 Tips for Live Sketching

Sketching at a live event can be nerve-wracking when you’re a beginner. Here are 5 tips to make your experience more fun and stress-free!

    1. Research

    Don’t show up to an event with your iPad or sketchbook and expect it to go perfectly. Do some work ahead of time so you can walk in prepared.

    • Find out how many sessions there are and how long they run
    • Discover who the speakers are for each session
    • Get a schedule and orient yourself to room locations.
    • Be aware of where the emergency exits and bathrooms are

    2. Do Headers Early

    Once you’ve done your homework, you can do some work ahead of time! Try to do your headers before you even arrive.

    3. Dress for Flexibility

    Event spaces are very hit-or-miss when it comes to temperature. Sometimes they’re freezing cold and other times they’re hot and stuffy. The room environment can affect how well you pay attention and sketch, so dress in layers for flexibility. Use your best judgment on what dress is appropriate for the event! I like to wear loose trousers, a tank top and some kind of sweater or blazer over top. If I wear longer sleeves, I make sure I can roll them up easily. Sometimes I even have a spare shirt in my backpack just in case!

    4. Use Time Blocking & Layout Lines

    This method helps you plan your page according to a schedule. In pencil, divide your page into time increments and draw your layout line over the page. Once you’re done, erase! 

      5. Take Time to Refine

      There’s no rule saying you can’t make your sketch look better once the session is done! Even seasoned professionals don’t always finish right when the speaker finishes. Take a few minutes to refine your sketches: Add color, connectors, containers, drawings you didn’t have time for in the moment, shadows, quotes, etc. This helps take your sketch to the next level. Don’t forget to sign your work before sharing!