Live sketching @ OnlyJustMedia Summit 2018 – Belfast

A day of live sketching at OnlyJustMedia Summit 2018 in Belfast

On September 30th in the stunning setting of the Titanic Hotel in Belfast was held the OnlyJustMedia Summit 2018, a day of meetings and talks dedicated to social media. During the event several local and international speakers spoke on the leitmotif of the correct communication on new media, with an amount of advice, case histories and strategies. It was a one-of-a-kind event in Belfast, because the Northern Irish city, which is closed between London and Dublin, often remains in the background when talking about digital communication.

The idea and the organization are by Lucy McMullan (@onlyjustlucy) of OnlyJustMedia, who planned the event step by step during the last three years: from the choice of the location – the luxury hotel on the sea that boasts a view on the Titanic Museum in Belfast – and of the local and international speakers, to the countless sponsors that helped making the event magic.

I was there to refresh my social skills, but also to do the final rehearsal of the live sketching that I will do next week at the Camogli Festival of Communication (yep, I’ll be there and I have a fantastic press pass to portray the event).

Live sketching: a delicate issue…

Live sketching is a delicate issue: despite being used to drawing in public, answering to those who ask for information, remaining calm if someone stops to peek for a while, it’s never, never, never easy. I admit that more than once I went to events with the intention of drawing, but then I decided otherwise. This time wasn’t an easy matter as well: I was by myself, I did not know anyone and even if I speak English pretty well, it is not my first language. Nonetheless, I rolled up my sleeves, pulled out brushes and colors and enjoyed myself.

…that gives great satisfaction

It was worth it: I was sitting in the second row and without my realizing it I had a small audience behind, looking at what I was doing. Many stopped me during the pauses: I received wonderful compliments and I had the opportunity to chat with new people. Strange but true, drawing seems to be a great topic to start a conversation.

Drawing and social media talks

The day was full of guests and I drew almost uninterruptedly. Despite the high number of talks the organization was impeccable, with an alternation of experiential and lighter moments to strategic and inspirational speech, and of course the refreshment breaks in which I had the possibility to taste some local delicacies, among others: my first donut (yes, I never had donut before), the delicious Irish Black Butter recovered from Irish medieval recipe books, the famous Morelli ice cream.

To capture images and words

While the speakers were talking I tried to capture them and the concepts they wanted to convey: doing this on the spot and in a non-native language was a great challenge, but I’m happy with the result.

Be a creator

Among my favorites, the speech by Gavan Wall about the value of the content we create; this inspired me a lot:


Care and be honest

Another speech that I will certainly make a very good use of is the one by Finn Thormeier, who gave us some practical examples to stand out on social media using the less traveled paths:

Actually all the talks have been interesting; unfortunately I did not have the time (and the energy) to sketch them completely and therefore a little something is missing, for example the Girl Boss Talk (sorry!).

Below you can find the gallery with all the sketches, the complete work will also be on my Instagram channel @maettina. Enjoy 🙂

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All the drawings you see in the pictures have been made this way: the portraits were sketched and the notes written on the spot with a Japanese ink marker, a tank brush and watercolours; the vivid watercolour spots were added and general rearrangement made digitally later at home.

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