The One Thing You Need To Practice To Be A Great Graphic Recorder

As graphic recorders, our work involves listening in on conversations, workshops, conferences, and other events, thinking about the information we hear, and capturing them through illustrations, whether on large-scale murals or on digital canvases. That means there’s not a lot of time and opportunity to doubt yourself, or be distracted by what you’ll have for dinner when you get home at day’s end.

Instead, it requires us to be laser-focused and zoom in on what’s most important, to be fully open-minded and present in the moment. Easier said than done, of course! But what we’ve found is that a few minutes of mindfulness practice every day, even a few seconds before we start a graphic recording engagement, can make all the difference.

Mindfulness involves paying purposeful attention to our experiences, so that we can be 100% in the moment.

No second-guessing, no distractions. It can help us focus on what’s truly important. It can help us improve performance and productivity. It can help us listen, lead, respond. Best of all, it can be as long as a full 90-minute yoga session, it can be as short as one breath.

Below, we adapted a Huffington Post article by jolly good fellow and chairman of the Search Inside Yourself Institute Chade-Meng Tan.


As graphic recorders, we create our mindful moments by closing our eyes just before we begin our session for the day. Deep breath, in, out. We focus on our breathing, tuning out the flurry of activity going on around us. We turn our attention inward, to our bodies, from head to toe, trying to relax all the muscles, unknot all the tension. We then turn our attention slowly outward, first with the smells in the room, then the sounds, then the sights. We take one final breath…
And then we begin.

Footnote: If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, and how it can help you in your wok and life, whether you’re a graphic recorder or not, the Kindle edition of Chade-Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) is on sale at Amazon til end of March for just $1.99. It is worth every penny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.