Adding people to your meeting notes

 Adding Faces to your Meeting Notes

I was once sent to a meeting to represent an organization whose board I'm on. Sitting in a meeting with people I mostly didn't know, addressing a topic with which I was unfamiliar, I started to sketch their faces and surround them with the things they said. They were likenesses, not portraits as such, but recognizably (mostly) to the people whose faces they represented.cap referral dwg

People came up afterwards and wanted to take photos. It was a very different record of their meeting than the usual meeting notes. It was engaging. It was whimsical. And it caught the essence of their meeting in a way they all recognized. Most important, it helped me remember who had said what, and that gave me a greater connection with them to be able to work as a colleague.

James Lake has a great post here where he gives shortcuts on how to draw faces.

If you aren't confident in your drawing skills, try the art of the art-free caricature by Roy Blumenthal. Roy added this note to a comment:

In Scott McLoud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS, he offers a very powerful reason why my artless caricatures work...

The more REALISTIC a drawing is, the less universal it becomes. The more GENERALISED the drawing is, the more universal it becomes.

So, think of the most basic version of a smiley face... The circle with the big arc representing a mouth. That is almost universally recognised across multiple cultures, education levels, and class strata as a happy face.

As you add detail, so the recognition factor narrows. As an extreme example, consider a realistic picture of a man smiling broadly, showing his teeth, and his eyes clearly wide open and looking directly out of the page at the viewer.

In many Western cultures, this will be identifiable as happiness. But in many other cultures, it could be confused with arrogance, anger, deception, violence. The realism of the depiction makes it MORE AMBIGUOUS.

So back to my artless caricatures... They take the minimum recognizable trait of the person being depicted, and they abstract everything else. They lack any sense of realism. This makes it easy for viewers to identify them. And they aren't judged aesthetically.

I love this approach and I am working to make my faces more generalized.