Tag Archives: graphic recording

Welcome home!

In May, Anne Lehmann and I worked for the German development organization AGEH at a conference with the charity Brot für die Welt.

Our mission was to visualize stories told by development workers who had recently returned to Germany from abroad. While most of these stories originated in places like rural Kenya or Colombia, they inevitably dealt with the changes in perspective experienced by the development workers when they returned home, and their struggles to reconcile their views with those who had stayed behind.

I found some of those stories deeply moving, some where funny, and some were quite sad – but in all cases I was impressed by the narrators’ dedication to make the world a better place. I hope, we also made a small contribution to that goal by our graphic recordings.

AGEH Markt der Möglichkeiten Julian Kücklich

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Water is life

In March, I worked at the Federal Ministry for Education and Research‘s booth at Wasser Berlin International for four days. My task was to collect and visualize the visitors’ visions for the future of water management. The minister, Johanna Wanka, stopped by to talk to students from Albert-Einstein-Gymnasium (Ulm). You can see me do my thing in some of the pictures:

Johanna Wanka Julian Kücklich Messe Wasser Berlin 2 Johanna Wanka Julian Kücklich Messe Wasser Berlin 1All images Copyright © 2015 Messe Berlin GmbH


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Welcome to Germany! (2)

In January, I cooperated with seven other graphic recorders (Anne Lehmann, Ka Schmitz, Susanne Asheuer, Imke Schmidt, Magdalena Wiegner, Tobias Solcher, and Jonas Möhring) on a project focused on bringing young people from other European countries to Germany for vocational training.

The project, called MobiProEU, or more to the point, The Job of My Life, is supported by a large number of German training organizations. Each of these organizations presented their contribution at a conference in Berlin, which was attended by illustrious guests such as the German Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Andrea Nahles, and the Spanish Ambassador to Germany, Juan Pablo Garcià-Berdoy Ceresco.

Our task was to visualize each of the 150+ project contributions within about an hour and a half, so the pictures could be scanned, framed, and given to the attendees as a souvenir. I am happy to report that the images have popped up in many different places, so the concept seems to have worked.

MobiPro EU Julian Kücklich


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Working together, pt. 2

A while ago I wrote about collaborating with other graphic recorders, but I couldn’t post the pictures because it was a corporate event, yaddah yaddah yaddah.

Anyway, I recently had the pleasure to work with another team of extraordinarily talented graphic recorders: Gabriele Heinzel, Magdalena Wiegner, Sven Kröger, and Anne Lehmann.

Each of us visualized a workshop at the German Federal Government’s CSR Award, which is “ is awarded to exemplary and innovative companies that systematically and continuously integrate social, environmental and economic sustainability into their business operations.”

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The visionary kiosk

Recently, I was asked to harvest some ideas for the future of a cultural centre in Berlin, Acud. While planning the event with the organizers, we came up with the idea of setting up a ‘visionary kiosk’ (Visionenkiosk). It consisted of four wooden panels connected by hinges, which roughly resembles the shape of the building in which Acud is situated. I immediately liked the idea very much.

Acud macht neu

A few weeks later, the kiosk was set up in Acud’s courtyard, and despite intermittent rain, a few dozen people came to talk to me, and I painted their ideas on the kiosk’s walls. It was especially popular with the kids who requested things like “a lion”, “an elephant” and “a ninja with flaming swords. Here’s a shot taken by one of the organizers, which shows me surrounded by a bunch of children:

VisionenkioskNeedless to say, I had a great time!

Flickr set

More images from the event


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0.5 seconds of fame

In June I did an amazing graphic recording gig for Oracle in Madrid. It was my biggest graphic recording gig yet, with a crowd of 800 people watching what I did on stage. Fortunately, I was supported by a fantastic live band,
Rockaoke (aka The Applications), who kept everyone happy with their musical interludes.

I also had a videographer who kept his camera on what I was drawing. However, only 0.5 seconds of this material made it into the final two-and-a-half minute clip about the event. Here’s my half second of fame in an animated gif …

Graphic Recording for Oracle in Madrid

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Coding da Vinci

Coding da Vinci was a 10-week long hackathon organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation, Wikimedia Germany, Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek and Servicestelle Digitalisierung. I was present for the opening on April 26 / 27 as well as for the presentation of the final results and award ceremony in the Jewish Museum Berlin on July 6.

Coding da Vinci Graphic Recording 26 / 27 April

(click to see the image in original size)

While I wasn’t able to record all projects (28 were submitted to the project page), I could at least capture all 17 finalists, and the award winners. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the end, especially to Kati and Tomi and their Cyber Beetle (my favorite project).


At the end of the day, it was a very challenging but also very rewarding experience. Everyone I met was friendly and genuinely appreciative of what I did. And I think the results speak for themselves!

The entire set of images can be found here.

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Cleaning Up

My work doesn’t end when I drop my pen at the end of a day of graphic recording, as I did recently at the Groundbreaking Journalism conference. After I’m done, I take high-resolution photographs of the drawings, which is not always easy, considering that many conference rooms have bad lighting, walls aren’t always plane surfaces, and holding a camera still is difficult with GR adrenaline pumping in your veins. However, even under perfect circumstances, images need post-production. So after getting a good night’s sleep, I fire up photoshop and start the tedious, yet rewarding task of stitching the photos together, straightening the edges, removing stray pieces of masking tape and smudges, fixing errors, increasing the contrast, and most importantly, getting a nice, clean background. Here’s a time-lapse video I made, which shows some of the work required (although the result is still far from perfect): Thankfully, there are some really good tutorials for cleaning graphic recordings, such as this one by Rachel S. Smith (The Grove Consultants). If you don’t have Photoshop or don’t want to pay for it, there’s also a tutorial for doing the same thing with some free apps on an iPad. Of course, you could also use the open-source graphics suite GIMP. And if you don’t like Rachel’s method of adjusting levels incrementally, you could also try experimenting with the High Pass filter, and the dodge and burn tools (as I did in the video above). Eventually, your cleaning process will end up being as idiosyncratic as your drawings, and you will probably add methods of your own. For example, in processing the image below, I used Rachel’s tutorial as a starting point, but I copied and pasted some of the blue elements from the original image to preserve the color. I also used Hue/Saturation on the yellows, because it gives me more fine grained control than Levels. The important thing is to keep experimenting and don’t forget to have fun!


In case you are looking for the full set of graphic recordings from Groundbreaking Journalism, they’re on my flickr page.

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Thinking visually

Last month I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural meeting of vizthink Berlin, a spin-off of the Hamburg-based group of visual thinkers, graphic recorders and graphic facilitators. The meetup was organized by social entrepreneur Wiebke Koch, and moderated by Zackes Brustik and graphic artist Naho Iguchi. Naho also provided a brief overview of the history of graphic recording, which I captured in the image below …Graphic Recording: A Brief History

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