Everything starts with a sketch


Through this blog I will give you some insights to my sketchbook and upcoming projects. 

Types of Visual Story Tellers: The Ninja

There are many ways a visual story teller can help you and your business or organisation, so we will start with live drawing events. I have decided to split these also into two categories: passive and engaged. But because passive sounds, well…boring, I decided to pump up that name and call them Ninja Visual Story Tellers. And here is why. 

A good ninja uses the shadows as her cover but is aware of everything that is happening and can anticipate the moves of her targets. And when she finally attacks, the masterpiece is revealed!


This is pretty similar to visual recordings in meetings also called live drawing. VST take a seat in a corner or stand at a side and pretty much start working their magic. Listening to the presentation or workshop and taking that information that stands out. By using text and drawings, the VST can take advantage of each mediums strength. Written language which through word combinations can communicate the abstract of complicated concepts, while the visuals support the text and are easier to read and create a flow. 

The reason why it’s a ninja action is mainly because the VST goes to deliver a specific product and works mainly together with the organiser of the event. While the engaged VST adds their ‘outsider’ view to enhance certain types of events (we will get to this next week). 

Ninja Examples

Here are some other examples of Ninja VST activities which I have been part of:

From notes to visuals: where the participants hand over their notes with the facts they “see” as key.  These are made into small drawings or icons that can be placed as an overview. Some examples of when to use this activity: team building,  SWOT analysis, challenges vs opportunities. 

Ideas Overview: sounds similar as the example above, but by “ideas” I mean new concepts or products. Mainly for creative brainstorm sessions, where these new ideas can be compared, moved around and voted on. 

The illustrated A3 posters came in later - but due to privacy, I can't share those. 

The illustrated A3 posters came in later - but due to privacy, I can't share those. 

Quick Thoughts Visuals: this specific activity was a survey done for the Amsterdam municipality. It was used as a way to promote out-of-the-box thinking. A quick drawing on the spot was made of the answers given by the public.  



So what are the perks of these services? 

  • The work is visible to everyone 
  • People can see their own contributions which in turn also boosts the collective morale. 
  • The documentation of the event serves as group memory.
  • It can be shared with others as a framework or a guide. 
  • It adds a creative and fun dimension to your event. 

So are you a Ninja or are you in need of one? Leave a comment behind! 
I hope you enjoyed this weeks post! 

Next week on VISUAL WEDNESDAY:  The Engaged VST!

Aafke MertensComment