My Very First Graphic Recording (Then and Now)

A photo of Ashton and the title 'The first graphic recording i ever did. Then and now.'

I’ve been using sketchnoting techniques for graphic recording and graphic facilitation since 2013, which, I recently realized, is almost a decade!

 It’s been A Journey. And today I’m going to show you where I started…and where I am now.

 By 2013, I’d been facilitating group sessions for a while, and I decided to check out a one-day sketchnoting workshop. I didn’t even really know what sketchnoting was, but I’m all for creative exploration and adding tools to my toolbox. It sounded interesting so I thought, “Why not?”

 I left that workshop feeling so inspired! I’ve always been creative, and even though I didn’t have a lot of drawing experience, it lit a fire inside of me.

 The next night I was facilitating a session and I just threw some paper up on the wall and did exactly what I’d learned in the workshop. And here’s the result:

Image of graphic recording, live illustration or sketchnoting

Looking at this now, of course, I see all kinds of ways it could be technically better. My use of space and flow needed work. My lettering could have been more consistent, and my visual vocabulary was limited, to put it mildly.

But the point of this post isn’t to show you an image and tear it apart. That’s not it at all! I’m showing you where I started so you can understand my current work in context and see how far I’ve come.

This is a recent graphic recording I did:

Graphic recording or live illustration from the Sans virtual event

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of this one.

Here’s the thing: when you’re just starting out and trying something new (be it sketchnoting or anything else) it can be easy to forget that you’re taking the first step of a journey.

 Without trying that first graphic recording, and without doing it again and again, literally hundreds of times, I wouldn’t have gotten to this point.

 If you’re interested in sketchnoting and you’re getting frustrated because you feel like your notes don’t look very good or aren’t coming out the way you want them to, I want you to know that it’s OK. You’ll get there. Developing any skill is a process, and you have to start somewhere in order to get anywhere.

 Just take that first step…and then another…and another. We’re all on this journey, just at different stages. If you’re consistent and you practice, you’ll see improvement.

 And one day you’ll look back and see all the ways you’ve grown.

If you want a helping hand as you start your sketchnoting journey, consider heading over to and grabbing my free PDF guide. It’s got all kinds of tips, tricks, and techniques to try and it’s a perfect way to get your feet wet.

 You don’t have to be “An Artist”—it’s fine if you feel like you can only draw stick figures! Sketchnoting is more about combining information in simple ways, and it works even if you think you can’t draw.

 Just download my free guide, take the first step, and see where the journey takes you. I did, and it changed my entire life.

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