TED07 Sketchblog

I’m back at the wonderful TED conference in Monterey. This year I decided to leave the digital camera behind, and sketchblog it.

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

Each speaker talks for only 18 minutes, much less than my usual 3 hour pose.

I’ve been watching the speakers on TV in the “Simulcast Room,” so it’s a challenge to get a strong likeness down quickly. You’re totally dependent on a constantly changing camera angle. Patience is a virtue.

If you would like more details on the speakers, I recommend:
the official TEDblog, or the somewhat less offical list of TEDBloggers.

12 Responses to “TED07 Sketchblog”

  1. Lunch over IP Says:

    TED2007: Sketchblogging the conference

    Lorna Herf is an illustrator and designer from Los Angeles attending TED and she’s been blogging on lornamatic in a pretty original and compelling way – she’s sketchblogging the conference. Check out her blog. Here are her notes from four

  2. catnapping Says:

    I especially like your sketch of Murray Gell-Mann. Beautiful work.


  3. Steve Says:

    Very interesting – is this pencil on paper and then scanned or are you using digital technology to create the illustrations to post?

  4. Greg Bunch Says:

    Love your sketchblogging. Put an example on my blog http://masterplan.typepad.com/. Maybe you could do something like Jessica Hagy http://indexed.blogspot.com/

  5. lorna Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Cat. Murray Gell-Mann was particularly inspiring to hear.

    The sketches were all done in one medium-sized Moleskine notebook (the reporter-style ones that open the long way).

    Steve, I don’t use much digital technology when drawing. I have an Epson 4180 scanner at home, which I use to scan in materials for digital use. These are all shot on a Canon 20d. Mike and I took the photos each night in our hotel room during the conference. The lighting was awful, so they’re in black and white with some very basic levels adjustment.

    The drawings were done with a bic mechanical pencil and a kneaded eraser to smudge and push around the graphite. I started with a very soft layer of graphite to get down the basic head shape and shadows, sort of like a very light, blurred version of the final picture, and once that layer was complete you could usually start to see a resemblance. From there, I added edges and facial details, and softened with the eraser.

    For drawing, I normally use a 7B pencil, which contains more charcoal than a regular 2B pencil and smears beautifully. It seemed like carrying around a pencil sharpener at TED would be a pain, so the mechanical pencil it was.

    I’ve heard that spritzing water over pencil drawings works as a decent fixative, to prevent any unwanted smudges, but I didn’t try it with the book. I’ll probably spray it all with an acrylic fixative.

    Greg, thanks so much. That’s a great quote you picked from Jamie Lerner.

    I love Jessica Hagy’s work. It would have been awesome to post one at a time in that format. I had pretty limited internet access from the conference (I didn’t bring a laptop and was watching and listening while sketching). The picture-posting process still isn’t perfect, I guess.

  6. t h e e i g h t f o l d » Inspiration from TED Part 1: Role of Marketing in the 21st Century Says:

    […] So we didn’t make it to the TED conference last week but have been reading about it . Along with Lorna Herf’s beautiful sketchblog (see picture at right), we were struck with the focus on empathy and humanity during day three: Daniel Goleman made a wonderful connection between emotional intelligence and the empathy which will be required — by all of us — to make more informed, broader-scope consumption and action decisions in the future. Later in the day Eames Demetrios, grandson of Charles Eames (and a true design thinker in his own right) made the same point in a different way — humanity has got the information now; we just need to start making better choices. […]

  7. Hemal Vasavada Gill Says:


    I didn’t have the fortune of attending TED but felt like your sketches really tapped into the inspiring moments in such a unique way.

    The Daniel Goleman sketch made me critically think about if marketing can play a bigger role in noticing and being compassionate. I’ve posted that sketch and some thoughts on my site theeightfold.com.

    Thanks so much for documenting everything the way you did.

    It’s really beautiful.


  8. lorna Says:

    Hemal thank you so much. I love what you have to say about marketing’s power to inspire.

    It’s another very strange time now, while our society transitions to the role of technology in our lives and homes. Every moment is duly recorded and digitally collected in a fraction of a second, and I’m not sure what shape that leaves us in for making good decisions and actually experiencing the here and now. Sometimes (usually when I find myself mindlessly reaching for my blackberry) I start to worry that we’re all in danger of disconnecting from ourselves and our own thoughts. Putting down the technology for a few days was really refreshing and restorative.

    Technology can be distracting but it’s also our best tool. You say, “If we are going to survive (the Earth will go on without us), we will need to become more empathetic, more connected, more aware of how our actions impact the actions of others. ”

    In that spirit, you might especially appreciate Jonathan Harris’ project, we feel fine, which pulls data from all over the net to provide a real-time visualization of, well, how people are feeling. There’s also the Universe which shows interconnected concepts. Be careful, you can lose an entire afternoon here!

  9. domelhor.net Says:

    Esboos da TED 2007

    Um blogue muito curioso onde as sesses da TED 2007 so apresentadas como uma srie de esboos, com algumas notas sobre cada sesso.

  10. A person Says:

    Coming up of the TC session I could’ve and should’ve helped you guys out with that guard… was thinking about something else that was on fire… but looking
    back at it, I can’t recall what that was, but I am left the memory of not helping you out when I should’ve. Will make up for this next time!

  11. lorna Says:

    That is sweet – thank you, but I hope you don’t feel badly about it. Everything turned out fine – like all things in life, there is usually more than one way to get what you need. Eventually I figured out that rather than arguing with that silly guard, I could go around to the back entrance, where I just walked right in.

    I completely understand the need for extra security this year, but I think the private security detail maybe had their badges fastened a little too tightly. ;)

  12. Monica Says:

    hello, I was thinking you may found useful to share this video about the basics of pencil drawing

    and thanks you too for share your information with all of us!

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