I recently signed an agreement with Saxton Speakers to have them represent me as my agent in speaking and sketching engagements. Having an agent means that the work that my team and I do can be promoted to a wider audience—and it opens up opportunities that may not have come about otherwise.
Our first engagement was the launch of Saxton Live at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) conference: a three-day extravaganza showcasing the best of the events industry—speakers, entertainers, and more. Being part of the event also meant I had the good fortune to meet (and sketch) some incredibly inspiring speakers, including Australian rock royalty, Kate Ceberano!
The presentations were all 10 minutes each, and were delivered back to back with no downtime. I've sketched TEDx events in the past, so I'm familiar with capturing this fast-paced format of talk, and did some preparation in advance so that I was ready to "drink from the firehose."
I'm honoured to be on the Saxton books with such a high calibre collection of speakers and performers. If you're organising an event (including a virtual conference) and looking for a professional speaker, definitely take a look through the impressive Saxton roster.
The second annual Australian conference for visual practitioners, VizConf 2019, hosted by Sketch Group and Visual Friends, was a huge success.
Over three days in October, we delivered 5 full-day workshops, two inspiring keynote presenters, and over 30 informative open space sessions covering a range of diverse topics.
Our opening keynote presenter, Melbourne-based graphic recorder Sarah Firth, challenged us to consider the ethics and obligations of the work that we do. And US-based lettering guru, Heather Martinez concluded the day by encouraging us to design our life through the lens of hand-drawn lettering. All in all, it was a thoroughly exhilarating day.
Matt and Marcel, hosts of VizConf, welcome attendees and introduce the opening speaker.
The Graphic Gear pop-up shop was wildly popular, and we sold out of a number of items (including copies of the book that I co-authored, The World of Visual Facilitation).
Shelley, Jo-Ann and Julie respond to the demand for markers, books and accessories at the Graphic Gear pop-up store.
The fact that we had more attendees this year than at last year's inaugural event reflects the growing field of visual practice in Australia.
If you missed out on attending the conference, you're in luck—there are video recordings of both keynotes available online, for free:
Sarah Firth: Our impact and responsibility as graphic recorders (50 mins)
Heather Martinez: Know the future and your place in it (25 mins)
Even if you don't work as a visual practitioner, these two presentations cover a lot of ground—ethics, personal development, and how to respond to challenging situtations—that are very human and resonate with just about everyone.
A huge thank-you to everyone who attended, volunteered, and contributed to VizConf 2019. It's wonderful to see this community rally together to co-create an experience like no other, and we're very grateful to be a part of it.
Last month I fulfilled a lifelong career goal—to sketch a TED event.
TED presentations have become the default bar for public speaking: a great idea delivered succinctly, by a polished presenter, in a short period of time. It's a surefire recipe for high quality, informative entertainment.
Matt poses with Sixth Dan Taekwondo Black Belt and Biggest Loser trainer Tiffiny Hall.
Graphically recording a TED talk is challenging though—there are a lot of ideas crammed into a 10-12 minute presentation, so there's very little "fluff". Luckily, when the team from TEDxDocklands engaged me to capture the presentations from their 2019 event, I came prepared.
Below are videos of all presenters from the day, along with the sketch that I created in real time (which was gifted to the presenter afterwards). Click each image to see a larger version.
It just so happened that the event coincided with my birthday—and I couldn't think of a more rewarding way to spend it. However, recording 12 presentations back-to-back is exhausting--I almost fell asleep at the table while eating my birthday dinner!
If you're anything like me, when the end of the year rolls around, you probably start to think "I should donate to a charity or something".
Perhaps, like me, you randomly select a cause or two that you feel good about supporting, come up with an arbitrary amount to donate, and jump online to make the transaction. Then you're done with it and your conscience can rest easy.
Which is perfectly OK! But at Sketch Group, we wanted a more structured approach to giving. We wanted it embedded into our business. So we signed up for B1G1 (Buy 1, Give 1), a platform that makes it easy for organisations to link everyday activities with charitable projects. We liked this approach because:
As a bonus, what it means for our clients is that they also can also feel good about the fact that every time they work with us, they're also helping to literally change the world.
Below is a snapshot of the impacts we've made to a range of projects we've hand-picked to align with the sustainable development goals. We're so grateful to all of the clients we worked with in November who helped us make this impact.
You can read more about our attempt to embed a culture of giving into our business on the new Giving Back page on the Sketch Group website. You can also visit our B1G1 profile page.
Interested in working with us to help make a difference? Get in touch.
At Sketch Group, we don't just make sketch videos—we make motion graphic videos as well. We're super pleased to be able to share this one with you.
Loan Dolphin is a free online auction platform for home loans. Where banks and brokers fight for your business. It's colourful and disruptive and modern....so we made a video that styled with that. A really clear step by step guide to how their process works and what you need to do to get onboard.
The client had a great eye for detail and supplied lots of reference material so we could make a video that perfectly suited their brand. Not like a fish out of water.
At Sketch Group we say no!
We've done a lot of work with VELCRO® Brand this year—sketch videos, motion graphics ... We've used some physical props to make a sketch video three dimensional. And of course, we've incorporated some of their fabulous products on screen.
This latest video is part of a series of five videos created to explain VELCRO® Brand products—the uses, the specifications, some commonly asked questions ... and of course: the correct answers to these questions.
Each video had three distinct parts:
It's a perfect example of how to show off the technical elements of the VELCRO® Brand Ties and Wraps.
You could say, we're wrapped with it.
It's been a dream come true to be able to work with the National Museum of Australia to create this series of videos celebrating some of the moments that made us who we are as a nation.
Defining Moments is a curated collection of some key moments and events in Australian history, and we got to bring some to life.
We were thrilled to be able to create videos based on the very funny scripts by Australian author and historian David Hunt.
Historical accuracy was important - so was humour. It's a fabulous way of getting students of all ages to embrace learning.
Our very own Lucinda Gifford created the brilliant illustrations and we're just overjoyed with how they all came together.
There are videos on the Gold Rush, Eureka Stockade, Female Suffrage, The Castle Hill Rebellion and the Secret Ballot
Recently the first video we made with CPA about Blockchain won the Mumbrella Publish award for Best Use of Short-Form Video (yay), and now we're sharing the next in the series.
This one is about private versus public blockchains - and it's a perfect example of how effective sketch videos are at simplifying the complex. Our talented illustrator Serena continued the graphic style created in the original 'What is Blockchain?' video to explore the pros and cons of each.
Block out some time and check it out.
Representatives from Sketch Group and CPA Australia accept the award
On Thursday night the Sketch Group team attended the Mumbrella: Publish awards, as the video we made for our lovely client CPA Australia had been nominated for an award, in the "best use of short-form video" category.
The video aimed to explain blockchain to a non-technical audience. Watch the video
I'll be honest, we don't pay a lot of attention to awards at Sketch Group. It was an honour to be nominated, but the whole team was so busy last week working on videos, posters, and live events for clients that we nearly decided not to go to the award night. In fact, it was only a few days before the awards ceremony that I realised the event was not being held in Melbourne, and had to book some last-minute flights and accommodation!
As it turns out, I'm glad we attended, as our video won! The judges said they were impressed with how we simplified a complex topic and made it easy to understand.
Which doesn't surprise me to hear, as simplifying the complex is what we do at Sketch Group. But it is nice to have it validated every now and then!
Congratulations to everyone on the Sketch Group team that worked on this video, including producer Kerstin Norburn, illustrator Serena Geddes, and videographer Simon Casamento. And a huge thank you to our wonderful client CPA Australia for giving us the opportunity to continue to tell important stories.
At Sketch Group, we're delighted to be part of the organising team behind VizConf 2018, Australia's first large-scale conference for visual practitioners, which is happening in Melbourne on October 13, 2018. The theme for VizConf 2018 is Think Global, Draw Local.
There have been many conversations in the past about running a conference like this in Australia, so for many this has been a long time coming. We believe it will be worth the wait. In the tradition of large, international conferences such as IFVP and EUViz, VizConf will be a day of learning, connecting, and being inspired by other visual facilitators, graphic recorders, and visual thinkers.
I know many folks are excited about our two amazing keynote speakers Sunni Brown (author of Gamestorming and The Doodle Revolution) and Jessamy Gee from Think in Colour. But the Open Space sessions between these talks, hosted by veteran facilitator Michelle Walker are bound to be just as inspiring, as are the connections attendees will make on the day.
This event is a must for anyone interested in visual thinking. Here are the details:
If you're interested in taking your learning to the next level, we are running a handful of pre-conference workshops in the week leading up to the day. Sign up when you purchase your VizConf 2018 ticket to learn more about graphic recording, visual storytelling, and more.
Tickets are $330, but only 100 tickets will be available. So if this is something that sounds up your alley, get in quick as we are expecting to sell out.
See you there. Oh, and please share this exciting news with anyone you think might be interested in coming along!
Matt is Chief Doodler at Sketch Group. He has contributed to several books on visual thinking, most recently The World of Visual Facilitation.