We are happy to host a new Sketchnoter's Story by Elvia Vasconcelos .
What sketchnoting has done for me
I’ll start by giving the plot away by telling you that the coolest thing that has happened to me because of sketchnoting was meeting 🎤 Roisin Murphy 🎤 on her birthday last year.
If you don’t know who Roisin is, well… that’s what google is for. Now, go and dance it away. No wait, read this first.
👸 Barbies and cheating - how it all started
“I am a 💪 feminist but” (queue to listen to the guilty 💪 feminist podcast), when I was a child I loved barbies so much I once gave a touching performance at a mall begging people to buy ‘her’ clothes because the winter was coming, she didn’t have anything to wear and she would frieze to death. And I sobbed dramatically 😭 . My mother, mortified 😳, explained to the outraged people that I was talking about my doll, that btw had plenty of clothes to wear 😅.
I was such a fan that I had a subscription to the ‘Barbie Club’ 🙅 #NoRegretsThough. One month, there was a competition: send a drawing and you can win a doll.
I want a doll.
I need a doll.
I am going to win this.
The only problem was that at 6 I was rubbish at drawing. But, my sister Laura (the prodigy child 🙄 ) was incredible at it. So I convinced her to make a drawing for me. I had to persuade her that this was cheating for a good cause ---> my happiness and dire need 😜. She made an A3 drawing (show off 🙄 ) and * we * won.
I was disappointed when I opened the post and received a ken instead of a barbie but as my other ken had a broken leg (oops) this was good news in the end. A month later this one had a broken leg too 👀 . Mmmm.
This was the first time I can remember thinking ‘this drawing thing is cool!’
Cigarettes, lipstick and crying - my visual practice
Fast forward to university, I found myself enduring 9 hours of life drawing a week. 👎 This would have been torture enough had it not been made worse by the drawing teacher, whose reputation preceded her as being very rigid 👿 with her students . We got off on the wrong foot.
There was I, trying my best to draw the naked person in front of me, the teacher looking over my shoulder puffing silently until I hear a *No, No, No this is all wrong!* followed by taking the charcoal out of my hand to show me all the ways my drawing was a humongous piece of 💩.. T9 hours a week.
I was reduced to tears many times, though only once in front of the whole class #CryingInMyCar. After a year of humiliation, I had to retake this class again 😧 which was part of a 2 year long course = 3 years of this.
After those very intense 3 years, Maria Helena Redondo 👩🎨 has by far been the most important, inspiring and life changing teacher I have ever had in my life. Through her teachings I was able to find myself in drawing and this has been at the core of my creative practice ever since. Thank you Helena 😘 .
To this day we keep in touch.
Having a voice - UX community
After I graduated and started working 👩💻 in digital, I became interested in the world 🌍 of UX. I attended all the afterwork local events, and got particularly engaged with the UXPA UK (User Experience Professional Association). They are a volunteer run association so I put myself forward to help.
When I went to meet Raj, who was leading the volunteer programme at the time, he suggested I did sketchnoting. ‘Yes, I can do that👌’ I said. On my way out I googled ‘sketchnoting examples’ 😅. My first ever ✏️ sketchnote✍️ took me ages⏰.
I continued to develop my practice by attending all the UXPA and other Design related events I found interesting. I was surprised with the positive feedback coming from people both in person and on social media. I found that I could go to an event, not even speak to anyone and still be part of the conversation. Obviously the goal was to have real life conversations, but I felt that the sketchnoting was my way into conversations. It forced me to have a point of view and be vocal about it. It allowed me to be an active part of the UX community I followed.
As I grew more confident I started to be invited to attend conferences:
I approached Be Kaler about sketchnoting UCD2013. A last minute drop out in the speakers prompted Be to invite me to give my first ever conference talk and so I did, knees shaking + big smile. Thanks Be 🤗 After this I iterated that talk to an introductory course on sketchnotes, which I have delivered in both my workplaces ever since.
Soon my practice extended to scribing and filming my sketchnotes.
Meeting Roisin Murphy - the greatest thing ever
I was sitting down in the kitchen lamenting to my flatmates that Roisin Murphy was giving a talk in Soho but it was obviously sold out - everything in this city has to be booked with 6 months notice bla bla bla. They suggested I put myself forward to sketchnote it 🤔. The next day I tweeted a little teaser to Soho House offering my sketchnoting services. And then Roisin retweeted me.
And some celebratory dancing:
And so I went, to sketchnote Roisin💁♀️ on her birthday🎂. The evening was about 💪feminism💪 and Pop Music. #DiedAndGoneToHeaven #ItWasInAChapel #NotReligiousButFromPortugal
Sketchnoting has brought me good things, I am grateful. I am looking forward to future (collaborations and) opportunities to publish my sketchnotes and to use them as an excuse to meet awesome people.
Ps: Follow me on Sketchnotes_are_awesome
This is super-awesome!
I enjoyed so much your story, Elvia!
Thank you for sharing with us.