Perrin Ireland is an artist who does this – turning the words, sounds, sights and smells of the event into cartoons. A couple of weeks ago she attended the World Science Festival in New York, where she live-drew several sessions. Two of those visual summaries we have already published here at ScientificAmerican.com – All about Stories: How to Tell Them, How They're Changing, and What They Have to Do with Science and The Bezos Scholars Program at the World Science Festival.
Here is the third, on Scents and Sensibilities: The Invisible Language of Smell. If you prefer just text, you can read the summary of the session by Greg Boustead here and the choice quotes from the event here. But if you are more of a visual type, just scroll down slowly….
Once the lecture begins you'll want to begin your "circular breathing" of listening, synthesizing, and visualizing. It's important that you're able to take in what's being said while recording it, and not just stick your head down in your sketchbook. One of the most important assets is your "mental cache": the spot in your brain where you can store temporary ideas. With practice, you'll be able to store multiple quotes, thoughts, or ideas in a queue while you're sketchnoting. This "mental cache" also allows you to listen to multiple points and synthesize them down to what's important—before writing anything.
Inside of your sketchbook, you'll use a few key elements build your sketchnotes:
Text – Recording the verbal is quick, direct, and clear and is usually your primary sketchnoting tool. Capture the meaningful quotes and key points, and avoid trying to summarize everything. Typographic treatments can be used to give emphasis to major ideas, and can add interest to large blocks of text. Avoid making lists or outlines and use the spatial properties of the page to your advantage by "chunking" information. Some ways to force yourself to work spatially might be starting in the middle and working outwards or working in columns for a panel discussion.
Containers – Simply enclosing words in shapes brings emphasis and structure to an otherwise wild page. Some of the more common containers include (but are not limited to): quote bubbles, boxes, circles and thought clouds.
Connectors – Connect ideas and pieces of stories with arrows and lines. A basic chain of thoughts can scintillate around the page and still be clear if they are linked with a simple set of connectors.
(Thanks to Will Rice!)
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said he could explain the problems with the economy in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds—and he did it (with illustrations to boot).
Folks have been asking about production processes for these types of videos. I recently did one for the Ken Blanchard Companies, and for such a simple-looking product, it's actually a fairly complex process. Here's how this eight-minute video was created, and what it was like to do it.
More at: http://www.jeannelking.com/
Each student starts the program as a high school junior and, with mentoring by a science teacher and a scientist or engineer in the community, spends a year working on the project. At the end of the year, the students get to present their findings at the Festival and also get to meet the senior scientists, attend other events, all expenses paid by the Bezos Family.
The event, so far, has not been broadly advertised by the Festival probably to avoid having crowds in the thousands assembling to give the students stage fright. Still, the room was filled by dozens of local scientists, writers and educators and the students certainly did not disappoint.