Gallery: Watercolor sketchnotes from TEDSalon Berlin

TED-Salon-Berlin dromedary

The animal you see in this watercolor-washed illustration is not a camel. This is, technically, a dromedary. Anja Kantowsky, a communications consultant who lives in Germany, created this image at the TEDSalon Berlin in June as she watched a talk from nine-time TED speaker Hans Rosling and his son Ola Rosling that used the differences between the two animals to make a point.

“A camel has two humps, and a dromedary just one,” explains Kantowksy. “Hans and Ola used the two to paint a picture of how wealth is distributed across the population. In a camel-hump-shaped world, there are many poor, no middle class and some rich; in a dromedary-hump-shaped economy, the majority of people are in the middle with few very poor and very rich. I was interested to hear that the world’s wealth is distributed in dromedary-hump pattern right now. I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

Kantowsky sought to capture this point, and others made by the pair in their talk (which will appear on in the fall) in her sketch above. It’s one of 12 that she drew freehand during the TEDSalon Berlin, using the app Paper. “It has a watercolor pencil—it’s their killer feature,” says Kantowsky. “If you have a look at #madewithpaper on Twitter, you’ll realize that it’s kind of like a popular Instagram filter. You see a lot created with it.”

In her work, Kantowsky often uses drawing as a tool, and she recently took a workshop that got her especially interested in sketchnoting. So she was excited to sketch talks in the TEDSalon Berlin. “Having watched only single talks before, the salon experience was new to me,” says Kantowsky. “All the talks came together to form the theme ‘Bits of Knowledge.’ It brought together narratives on data, networks and their disruptive power.”

But the Roslings’ talk was by far and away Kantowsky’s favorite. “I admired their technique—a quiz—to teach us that we have false assumptions about how the world works,” she says. “They were very effective in showing me that I have to re-assess my view of the world. They would be great communications consultants!”

See all of Kantowsky’s sketches below: