Live-drawing TED2012 with Nat Al-Tahhan: A Q&A, a sketch, and wow, the final product

Posted by: Rachel Tobias

Initial sketch above: Click to pop this image to FULL SIZE!

And see the final image below or here.

Nat Al-Tahhan is a graphic designer and illustrator based in the UK, with a wide background in creative endeavors, including the design of video games, podcast illustration, and live drawing, among other things. We were lucky enough to have Nat join us in Long Beach this year to do some live-drawing of the TED2012 sessions. And really, what a masterpiece it has become.

For the past four days, Nat has barely moved from the same chair in the Creativity Lab simulcast space as she sketches out clever doodles and quotes from our mainstage speakers. She’s drawn quite a bit of attention, and many TEDsters have found it just as interesting to watch her draw the talks as it is to listen to speakers themselves.

Read Nat’s blog about her week at TED2012 >>

We encourage you to take a close look at the Full Spectrum sketch above and the amazing full-color finished version below. See more of Nat’s work here and follow her on Twitter @NatAltDesign for other artistic insights.

What about this particular art form inspires you?

We’re all familiar with methods of capturing and documenting experiences; photography, film, written notes. I really enjoy embedding my experiences through diagrams and illustrations, there and then, and it turns out other people enjoy it too: both to look over my shoulder and to refer to it afterwards. 

What has your process been for live drawing at TED this year?

The idea is to end up with one long piece, with indistinct divisions so you’ve got this epic, almost overwhelming mass of information in front of you and you can dive in wherever you want to relive that memory.

What has your favorite TED moment been so far?

I have a new favourite moment every five minutes! The 12-year-old boy in me squealed in delight at the musical cockroach amputation. I’ve also really enjoyed the Design Studio session today, as it’s always great when great designers invite us into their minds.

Comments (2)

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  • Teddia Ted commented on Mar 4 2012

    I don’t know why but here’s something might be a bit off that I want to share: the difference between doing the drawings and doing the photographs – in shootings you can’t do 2 things all at once in 2 spots even if it’s in your mind and in the same location, it’s much confined however doing drawings doesn’t have the same confinement. Your imagination can go beyond the location, you are in control, your mind is liberated. I don’t mean the kind of freedom like a talk show host can do both talk and tweet at the same time in front of their audience. ;)