Graphic Recording

(Graphic Recording is also known as ‘Live Scribing’ or ‘Visual Note Taking’)

What is it?

Graphic recording is the ability to listen to and draw a conversation as it happens. The conversation could be from one person speaking or from many. The graphic recorder listens intently to the conversation and transfers what they hear visually onto large posters using illustration, colour and words.


Why use it?

Conversations and ideas drive business. Graphic recording helps you capture them, whether it’s during a large scale event or a smaller workshop or meeting. With most people’s preference for visual learning, graphic recording helps drive reflection, engagement, memory and allows content to live on after the conversation has taken place. It is regularly used in sales, marketing, leadership, strategy, change, learning and communication settings.

Capturing student ideas at Flinders University Law Open Days

Getting the drawing zone ready for the start of the Open Day

University Open Days are a great way for future students to learn more about potential courses and get a good feel for a university. I recently graphic recorded the insights and ideas of future students at a Flinders University Law Open Day. Based at the Law Faculty stand, my role was to work with a facilitator and capture what was going through the student minds in relation to studying Law as they circled past. Lots of students came up to proactively share their story and many more were curious about what I was doing which helped drive traffic to the stand. It was fast, furious and enjoyable work to draw out the many and varied conversations and reasons why students were interested in law. Over two super days, I created two large graphic recorded posters (each 5-6 m in length!) that will be used by the Law Faculty in future as engaging communication tools.

The final 5-6 metre poster full of student stories and ideas.

Detail of one section of my poster shows the student micro-stories, ideas and insights.

It’s quiet now… the view at the end of the day.

Graphic recording powerful stories at Future of Leadership 2018

Future of Leadership - MathewsThis year I was invited to support Australia’s premier leadership conference, the Future of Leadership series, as the event’s official graphic recorder at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. This was a super event to graphic record at as the conference series attracts top speakers and more than 2000 delegates annually, bringing together members of corporate, education, government, NFP and small business sectors. The Future of Leadership series provides excellent opportunities to rub shoulders with the most motivated and influential thought leaders within key industries spanning the Australian and international business community. Each speaker had 25 minutes to share their story, ideas and insights with the audience.Future of Leadership - HillDuring the full day event, I worked furiously to graphic record straight onto large paper posters attached to a whiteboard. In parallel, I also captured visual notes in a sketch pad to transfer onto the posters when I finalised the posters the next day. Adding the finishing touches poster included building in illustration detail, colour and shading so each graphic recording poster became even more eye-catching.Future of Leadership - MastersGraphic recording back-to-back speakers at a conference can be intense work as the information comes thick and fast and you need to listen intently. But it is also incredibly rewarding as I help personal, powerful and meaningful stories live on beyond the event as a creative memory tool for delegates.Future of Leadership - ScammellWhatever your work, whatever your position, this one-day conference series equip attendees with tools and insights to make them a better leader both personally and professionally. To check out the full line-up of top-notch business and leadership speakers that I graphic recorded, click here: And above all, by attending Future of Leadership, delegates were learning but also helping an event that supports at risk Thai children and communities through the charity partner Hands Across The Water.Future of Leadership - McCrindle

ICC AuditoriumThe FOL2018 venue: the amazing ICC Sydney just before doors opened!

Drawing out key ideas and insights at #ItsuptoYOUth

In NSW, there are approximately 2.4 million children and young people. Engaging with, listening to and letting this important group in society have their voices heard was recently a key focus at “#ItsuptoYOUth Youth Health Policy Consultation” workshop for young people of Greater Western Sydney aged between 14-24 years old. As the graphic recorder at the event, held in the beautiful old Parramatta Town Hall, my role was to capture and draw out the content from a series of fast paced and wide ranging group conversations on key issues across the youth health and services spectrum. The energy in the room was great and it was a privilege to take the visual notes on some of the ideas, insights and issues that matter to children and young people today.

Graphic recording at the CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference

CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference
I was recently invited to graphic record the ‘CSIRO SMiSposium 2016: Partnering for the Future’ conference in Sydney at Doltone House. This CSIRO Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program (SMiS) event was aimed at sparking important conversation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Australia. As the event’s graphic recorder, my role was to draw creative and relevant visual notes of the key presentations given by a range of experts from education, STEM, government, industry and academia backgrounds. The presentations, conversations, insights and ideas were fantastic content for graphic recording and live scribing. Here are some posters of my work as well as a great shot of the bustling conference room with my graphic recording boards in the background.
CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference
CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference

Listening and doodling can be powerful learning tools in business

Mojo Radio Show A3 visual notes
Podcasts are a great way to be entertained and learn about new things, anywhere and anytime. I recently had a conversation with the crew at The Mojo Radio Show who were keen to get my view on how drawing and using visuals can enhance learning, recall and knowledge transfer in a business setting. Check it out by clicking here.

Straight after the interview, I used the audio file from The Mojo Radio Show crew to go through the same process I take when graphic recording to create visual notes of the show (see the image above). The visual notes capture the key ideas, themes and interesting parts of the conversation and taking this same approach (either ‘live’ in the room or retrospectively) can be a great way to create an engaging communication and memory tool in a business setting. I also created a unique cartoon about podcasts in business which you can see right here on my dedicated cartoon site

The Mojo Radio Show is a regular podcast designed to bring listeners useable, practical and up to date insights, techniques and tools to get their ‘mojo working’ in and out of work. To listen to more of their interviews, go to:
Thanks to Gary and Robbo for inviting me on the show.

Graphic recording at the C&K Annual Conference

Graphic Recording

Graphic recording at large scale conferences is always rewarding as the content I get to graphic record and capture visually can be varied and fascinating. I recently worked at the The Creche & Kindergarten Association (C&K) Early Education and Care Annual Conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. C&K is Queensland’s largest provider of early childhood education. The conference was filled with interesting internal and external speakers, including the MC and keynote, Alison Hill. You can see a detail of the graphic recording poster I created from Alison’s keynote presentation called ‘Leading the future’. Alison is a psychologist and expert in organisational motivation and strategy.

Graphic Recording

Conference Venue

Alison Hill Keynote

Graphic Recording Boards

Australian Financial Review – BOSS Magazine

“The Secrets of Innovation”

Guys Downes,  graphic recorder and illustrator, captured the essence of the roundtable discussion in pictures.

Guys Downes, graphic recorder and illustrator, captured the essence of the roundtable discussion in pictures.

Australian Financial Review BOSS featured Guy’s graphic recording and follow-up illustration work from a roundtable discussion and subsequent article on “The Secrets of Innovation” in 2013. Speakers included thought-leaders from ARUP, Jumptank, Aegis, SBS, Cap Gemini, UTS, Australian Design Centre and GE. Guy captured the essence of the discussion in pictures on a large poster and then worked with the editor of AFR BOSS, Joanne Gray, to distil the best points from Guy’s graphic recording poster into an illustration for inclusion in the article.

Day of Inspiration 2014

Tour De Cure’s Day of Inspiration “Secrets of Achievement”


Guy has been involved as the graphic recorder at the Tour De Cure’s Day of Inspiration “Secrets of Achievement” for three years now and the event and the speakers seem to get better and better. With inspirational speeches from some of Australia’s best speakers, the one day event helps raise much needed money, awareness and support in the fight against cancer. Guy graphic recorded absolutely ‘knock out’ speeches from the likes of Paul de Gelder (Navy diver/shark attack survivor), Dr Charlie Teo (world famous neurosurgeon) and Cosentino (the grand illusionist) among others.

The graphic recording posters which were all about 4ft x 3ft in size and covered speeches that lasted 20-30 minutes. To see more detail, they can also be downloaded in full at the Day of Inspiration website – just go to the Mind Map sections at the bottom left of the main page.

Microsoft Joined Up Innovation Roundtable 2014

Graphic Recording a ‘live’ roundtable discussion

One of the most interesting conversations I graphic recorded last year was at Microsoft’s Joined Up Innovation Roundtable. The roundtable discussion between a group of innovation experts brought together by Microsoft in early 2014 frames a Microsoft discussion paper launched at the same time titled Joined-Up Innovation: Making the right connections across Australia’s innovation ecosystem to support our future growth and international competitiveness. My role was to graphic record the conversation and you can see some great discussion highlights in the video links below where I also feature in the background listening intently and drawing:

The CEO Institute Summit 2014

Drawing out CEO insights


Guy spent the day graphic recording key insights shared by some of Australia’s top CEOs and business leaders. The CEO Institute Summit 2014 was held with well over 300 CEOs to experience a day of leading and thought provoking topics centered around the theme of Disruptive Agility.

The graphic recording poster shown above shares some key insights from Kevin Panozza (Evangelist, LivePerson), Rebecca Martin (Owner Remy & Co and The Duck Inn), Karen Stocks (MD, Twitter Australia) and some thoughts from the Q&A.

To download the complete set of graphic recording posters from the event, please visit the ‘download’ section of the CEO summit website.

The Future of Leadership 2014

Mastering Successful Leadership

One of the graphic recording posters from the CEO Summit 2014

One of the graphic recording posters from the CEO Summit 2014

Mastering successful leadership is a massive ongoing focus and learning journey for many people and organisations. Guy recently graphic recorded some great leadership insights shared by a selection of senior business leaders and savvy thinkers at The Future of Leadership in Brisbane.

This was an engaging full day with over 400 attendees designed to help the audience stay one step ahead and look at what’s next in leadership. Guy graphic recorded speeches by Darren Hill, Peter Baines, Will Dayble and Jen Jackson.

You can view and download the full set on Alison Hill’s website (who was the MC on the day). 100% of all funds raised from the day went to a great cause: Hands Across the Water.


Datarati StopKeepStart 2014 – Visual Scribe Artist Timelapse video from TEN ALPHAS on Vimeo.

Datarati StopKeepStart 2014 - Discussion, ideas and insights - Graphic recording poster

Datarati StopKeepStart 2014 – Discussion, ideas and insights – Graphic recording poster

Graphic recording at the Museum of Contemporary Art overlooking Sydney Harbour is a great way to start the day. And graphic recording a marketing event with a unique twist and stand out format made it even more interesting.

Marketing automation company, Datarati, invited over 80 clients for a workshop breakfast to discuss what they were going to Stop, Keep and Start doing in 2014 around four pillars of marketing. The findings were then presented for an hour to the room and to a live webcast audience.

Guy’s role was to graphic record the findings presentation and panel discussion. It was fast paced, reflected in the ‘insight loaded’ graphic recording poster. The video of the findings and my final graphic recording poster can be seen at Thanks to production company Ten Alphas for inviting me to graphic record the session.

HP Software Forum

Insight 2014

The graphic recording poster from the HP Software Canberra Forum plenary.

The graphic recording poster from the HP Software Canberra Forum plenary.

Guy graphic recorded three HP Software Forums called “Insight 2014”. Held in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, the HP events provided the latest information for HP Software customers. As the graphic recorder, Guy’s role was to visually capture the key points and themes from the main presentation on “Connected Intelligence: the New Style of IT”.

The posters were shared on the HP Software online forum so that attendees had a visual and engaging memory tool from the event that could trigger memories, help them remember key insights but also spark new thinking. The photo below is of the venue room with Guy’s graphic recording work station in the left hand corner.