What exactly do you do?
At the heart of all my work is listening and drawing. Drawing to make complex information clear, simple, and fun. I go to meetings, events, and conferences and draw out what people are saying in large-scale illustrated visual notes, right there in real-time, where everyone can see. I also create visuals from print, audio, or video files. I create hand-drawn animations, too. And sometimes, I teach about visual thinking and creativity. And, yes, this is my real, full-time job!
How'd you get into this kind of work?
I've been drawing my whole life and have always enjoyed art. I have an undergrad degree in art, with a double emphasis in studio art and graphic design. I am also a credentialed teacher and spent many years teaching pre-school—8th grade art. In my Masters of Science program in Creativity, Innovation, & Change Leadership, I discovered that visual notes are a "thing" and ended up doing my masters project on visual thinking. About a year after graduation, I launched One Squiggly Line and now draw for the most amazing people! Check out this short interview and the About Melinda page to learn more.
Who actually hires you?
I am beyond grateful for the amazing clients I've had the pleasure of working with! I frequently work with senior level leaders of major corporations, event planners, and social media managers. I have also worked with non-profits, government, educational organizations, start-ups, and individuals. I have been pulled into teams to draw out presentations to potential multi-billion dollar clients, created live illustrated visual notes for big name keynote speakers, and visually captured wedding advice for a soon-to-be bride and groom. My clients are all over the map, both geographically and in terms of content. Check out my partial client list for some specific names.
What’s the cost?
I charge by the project, never by the hour, so it really depends. For live work, I charge by the day. For studio work, I charge by the project, never by the hour. That way, we both know the total cost up front and it’s easier and fair for both of us. Also, please keep in mind I have a lifetime of experience behind me, which allows me to work much faster than a beginner! Time spent on a project and the value/quality of the outcome are not directly related. Email me with some information about your event or project and I will gladly give you an estimate or quote.
What if I just need you for an hour or two?
We’d need to talk about that…most times, that hour or two quickly turns into a full day!
Do you travel?
Yes, I love to! I do not charge for travel time within the USA. Extended travel expenses are in addition to my regular rates.
How far in advance do I need to schedule time with you?
My schedule varies a lot. I may get ten offers for one day and nothing for the following day. The farther in advance you contact me, the more likely I am to be available for live work. Need me tomorrow? It never hurts to ask! For studio work, I’ll let you know what my schedule is like, as I’m almost always working on studio projects in between live work.
Will we need to train you on our industry or topic first?
No! As crazy as it sounds, I don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of your industry or topic. I just need be able to follow the discussion. If there will be a lot of internal jargon, acronyms, or product names, it’s helpful to let me know those ahead of time or clarify right on the spot. Because if I hear, “In order to increase our ABC, we need to send Project ICU to the wizard.”, I will draw a happy wizard working his magic on your glowing Project ICU. Little will I know it’s really Project Eye See You and “the wizard” is really code for the garbage!
Can you do a dress rehearsal, so we're sure you're comfortable with the content?
Occasionally, I will do a dress rehearsal with clients who have brought me into their presentation team in hopes of winning a multi-million or multi-billion dollar account. In those cases, my visual notes help them to further refine their message and a rehearsal is well worth it. Most of the time, a rehearsal isn't necessary. I do many jobs with only a very basic agenda handed to me once I arrive on site and no prep at all. Remember, I spent many years teaching (including a few years substitute teaching), so I'm quite comfortable just jumping right in. Also keep in mind, what people plan to say and what they actually say can be two different things! Conversations can take unexpected turns. Even the most well planned meetings and events have surprises. If I know your goals before we start, I then know how to adapt to best meet your goals when those surprises do pop up.
Will you be comfortable working with the CEO and other senior executives?
Sure! I frequently work with the C-Suite and top level leaders and really enjoy it. Visuals have a way of leveling the playing field while respecting everyone’s role and the value they bring to their work and the team as a whole.
Thousands of people will be at our event. Will it make you nervous to be on stage?
No, not at all! I frequently draw in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people and it doesn't effect me at all.
What if you make a mistake? Or the speaker says something he later regrets?
Just let me know and I’ll fix it. While I do draw with permanent marker, I have my ways of fixing the original drawing. If you notice it after I’ve left the event, I may still be able to fix it for the digital file.
Will you draw caricatures of the speakers?
I will gladly draw caricatures when requested and generally do not otherwise. Some people do not like to have their picture drawn and I do not want to offend anyone. My focus is primarily on capturing content in a way that's meaningful and engaging for people and I do not want to do anything to detract from that. Also, there are times when the speaker may be sharing an opinion or something personal and may prefer to remain anonymous to those outside the room.
We'd like to have more than one person working live. Is that possible?
Sure! We can go over your agenda, goals, logistics, and cost of having multiple people working live. However, it is much more challenging to pull together a team at the last minute, so please keep that in mind when planning your event. Check out the Team of Artists page to see who else may join me.
How do I hire you?
A quick email like, "I'd love to hire you for a conference in New York City November 10-12. Available?" That's all it takes to get things going! I'll let you know if it sounds like I'm a good fit for you and whether or not I'm available. Then we can either set up a short call or continue to iron out the details through email. You can also send me a direct message on Twitter or Instagram, or even text me for a faster response. Once we determine we’re a good fit, I’ll send you a short work agreement and sign any required paperwork on your end. Then we can schedule an optional planning call, if desired.
What's the best way to reach you?
Email is generally the best way to reach me, as my days are very long and busy when working live. While I do return voice mail as soon as possible, it may well be the following week or more before I can call you during business hours. If you'd like a faster response, you can send me a direct message on Twitter or Instagram or text me at 650-690-2738.