Live graphic recording: going digital

Birgit Smit maakt live graphic recordings - visuele samenvattingen tijdens events.


Last year I graphically recorded 13 sessions over 2 days at Lexpo (.com, legal innovation event). I worked on my graphic wall, drawing on pre-cut sheets of 140x116 cm. These drawings were photographed, cleaned, printed (A3) and presented as a gift to each speaker.

This year I was again invited to draw at Lexpo 2019. But since last year was quite a race to get the print produced quickly, I was thinking: why not go digital?

I was already using a Wacom Cintiq for Videoscribing and other digital products, but I had never dared to bring it to a live drawing session. Because of fear that it could fail on me (paper never does) and also because I could not imagine that it would work for me, knowing I can change any line I draw (no option on paper, you just have to deal with it).

So I offered the option to the client and they said: great, let’s do it! So I did.

Some of my learnings:

Good preparation is crucial. I recorded 13 sessions varying from 30 min to 1 hour. I used Adobe Illustrator (since my drawings would not be projected).

What I did to prepare:

·        Create templates with a basic layout showing the logo, title, name and picture of the speaker.

·        Prepare swatches of color I intended to use as main and supporting colors.

·        Create custom brushes in different sizes to resemble the Neuland marker (wedge nib) and a nice swirly one, so I could switch between them easily.

·        Create layers of foreground, background, shadow and one extra (in case I messed up).

·        Rearrange the Illustrator workspace so it would only show the tools I really needed (layers, color, brushes, navigator).

·        Create the right action keys on the Cintiq so I would never have to use the laptop keyboard (undo, redo, shift, pan, zoom, delete).

I did 2 practice sessions with older videos from the same event, to see if anything was missing in my set-up. The practice sessions confirmed that the set-up was working fine, so that gave me some peace of mind..


Een live visuele samenvatting geeft een compacte weergave van de inhoud van een sessie tijdens een event.

It was a good experience. I really enjoyed being able to layer with colors, lines of different widths and invert letters.

Also it gave me the chance to make changes in hierarchy later on (impossible on paper), bringing elements to the foreground/ background when necessary.


What I needed to be mindful of was checking actively how big I was working. Sometimes being in the flow of the process I lost my sense of scale and zooming out I saw I was working way too small (which is easily fixed in Illustrator). So the next day I consciously chose a certain zoom level to stick to.

When working behind the screen all day, self-care is even more crucial than when working on paper. You have to take time to do some stretching, take a break, eat and drink well. And to have a good chair and mind your posture.


De visuele samenvatting is een fantastisch geschenk en mooi aandenken voor de spreker.


The client was happy with the results, because the drawings had a very ‘clean’ look and I was able to send them to the printer within a short time frame after the talks were finished. Speakers were delighted with their personal gift (I heard).


Ook een paneldiscussie leent zich goed voor een visuele samenvatting. Het geeft de kernpunten op een aantrekkelijke manier weer.


It surprised me how working live digitally was actually not that different compared to working on paper.

Both options have their pros and cons. In the end, it all depends on what the drawing is meant to achieve.

More information about the event: