The Economist had me out to their Ideas Economy “Human Potential” conference in New York last week. I gave a talk on Newspaper Blackout and Steal Like An Artist, but I also did some drawings on my iPad during the other talks, and posted them to Twitter as I drew. (Still getting used to drawing live on the iPad — not sure I love it, but I thought I’d experiment.) I’ve cleaned them up a little and collected them here.

Jeff Weiner Nitin Nohria

Sherry Turkle Tony Schwartz

Rosanne Cash Rosanne Cash

Judy McGrath Martha Stewart

Lane Greene Louis Ferrante

Marc Cenedella 

Julie Bernstein 


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A while back I had the pleasure of talking to Richard Nash about his new startup, Cursor, and publishing venture, Red Lemonade. This doodle was something I sent him after we exchanged a few emails.

Aside from my art, this is the work I really love to do: help people tell their stories in pictures and words.

If you care about publishing and you don’t know Richard or his work, do yourself a favor and watch this excellent speech:

drawing of richard nash on the future of book publishing
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TEDMED illustrations

A few months ago I tag-teamed a sketchnotes illustration project with my friend Mike Rohde for Tribal DDB Worldwide, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer program, and TEDMED 2010. They’d seen our Viznotes booklet for SXSW 2010, and wanted to create something similar. (If you’re interested in reading more about the project, Mike posted a great writeup.)

Here are a few of my illustrations. See more of the work in Mike’s Flickr set →

TEDMED illustrations

TEDMED illustrations

And here are some drawings that weren’t used:

the drawing alphabet

how to draw faces

visual elements

unused drawings

unused drawings

unused drawings


The great folks who organized TEDxPennQuarter out at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. not only had me out to give a talk of my own (which I’ll post soon), they asked if I’d take some visual notes for them as well. So I did my best — I missed a few speakers, since I had to get into makeup and prepare for my own talk.

I decided to revisit the sticky notes, like I did for TEDxAustin. Here I am showing them off onstage:

Austin Kleon at TEDxPennQuarter
photo by Flickr user Sexy Fitsum

D.C., by the way, was a total blast. Thanks to my friends for showing me around their awesome town.

A few more notes below–you can see the whole set on Flickr.

TEDxPennQuarter David Armano

TEDxPennQuarter Chris McDougall

TEDxPennQuarter Chris Bernard

TEDxPennQuarter Derek Brown

You can see the rest in the full set on Flickr.


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Visual Note-Taking 101 from SXSW 2010

View more webinars from Austin Kleon.

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Back in March, my friends Mike RohdeSunni BrownDave Gray and I presented a panel to a packed house at the SXSW Interactive conference here in Austin, Texas. Last week, they posted a podcast of the session without visuals – so I spent some time syncing our slides to the audio.

Watch it above, or see the whole thing here: Visual Note-Taking 101 from SXSW 2010.

Watch a short YouTube video of my faces exercise:

And learn more about visual note-taking:

The coolest artifacts from the panel are the amazing Scout Books that Pinball Publishing had printed for us: read all about them.

I squirreled away a couple of them before we ran out — leave a comment below telling me why you want one okay those were making me feel too guilty that I only have four: how about a link to the coolest thing you’ve seen this week and I’ll pick four winners. Contest ends Monday, May 17th. (Be sure to include your e-mail — it won’t be published.)


[ Watch a high-quality HD version on Vimeo ]

I was invited to draw TEDxAustin this weekend. I was skeptical about an event that was so secretive about its contents beforehand, but it far exceeded my expectations. It was well-planned, well-executed, and had a stellar lineup of speakers. I bumped into lots of great people and had some good conversations. Kudos to the team, and thanks to my buddy Sunni Brown for the invite!

The theme of the day was “Play Big,” so I decided to do something special: I drew the background stage and the studio in my sketchbook, then drew the speakers on sticky notes. I wasn’t sure what I was going to with all the drawings, and then the idea of making a video popped into my head. The video was shot with my Aiptek HD camcorder and cobbled together in QuickTime Pro on my slow-as-molasses Mac Mini. Watch the results. (Be sure to click HD!)

Favorites? As someone who hates answering the question, “What do you do?,” Steven Tomlinson’s talk about keeping all your interests in play really hit home. I also loved Carrie Contey’s talk on the power of the pause. John Philip Santos had some terrific images in his talk on genealogical genetics. Both the musical acts, Ruby Jane and John Pointer, were really impressive.

If written notes are your thing, John Lebkowsky has some great ones.

Here’s a photo that Shane Guiter took of me during a break (annotations mine):

See scans of all the sticky note drawings after the jump or on Flickr.

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