Experiment: Draw something fast and wonder if it’s good

I recently saw the work of another graphic recorder…and had to wonder about a particular visual they had created. It was a sketch of a laptop. Only a bit on the sloppy side. As I learned more about the project’s timeline the more I wondered why their sketches were so sloppy. -Clearly they had skills. But maybe it was an off day for them, or there were other stressers, -who knows. It really doesn’t take much in the creative field to throw your game completely off. So…it’s not fair to judge. Instead this made me reflect on my own set of skills. How fast could I do the same visual? I really had no idea. So I felt it was really time to” well, calibrate my perception. This other illustrator had drawn a laptop with no hint of thickness, an empty rectangle for a screen, and these L-shapes to suggest the presence of keys. As for time, they had 5 minutes or more. I guess it was mine turn. With Sharpie in-hand I did this…
I kept my eyes on the paper while doing this, as it wasn’t a race, and simply hit “stop” on the timer when I felt it was done. My definition of “done” being the pace necessary to illustrate in real-time during a meeting. <Clearing throat> uhm, quick. So. One minute and 35 seconds and elapsed. Fine.
Later I did the same experiment. Only this time I was very tired, it was late, I was sitting awkward on my bed, and using a Sharpie chisel tip.
Again. Roughly the same. One the second looks a bit’ ,well, tired.
Next, I’m going to ask a few fellow illustrators to do the same. -Or try it yourself. Keep in mind it can feel really easy at first. It’s a laptop, right? A tangible object we’re all familiar with. It’s the intangible that can really tax your mind (e.g. “show how our company communicates with its vendors, the frequency in which it does, plus the impact on their sales.”). This, coupled with long hours, can, just maybe, cause an illustrator to produce a sloppy laptop illustration.

© 2020 Umami Design Studio