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Event illustration round-up: mental health, gambling and esports

This is the beginning of a regular series of blog posts called ’Event illustration round-up‘ in which I share a selection of recent events I have covered as a graphic recorder. Sometimes the smaller events I work at don’t quite stretch to a project page on their own so this is a way for me to show you the variety of different clients and topics I work with and share thoughts on the process, venues, clients and reveal some behind the scenes detail. 


In the summer of 2019 I ended up covering several events with one common factor: young people. I witnessed them learning and having conversations about gambling, mental health, leadership and e-sports. 

The Wales Youth Gambling Forum was an eye-opening event with stats, lived experience stories and young people discussing what messages about gambling should be told to media, government, families and children.  I captured this half-day event on a portable pin board that was set next to the stage and people had a chance to come and see the work during their well earned lunch. There’s a great video about the event here.

I have worked with the the NHS Wales CAMHS/ED services for over a year now on different events, newsletters and illustrations. They organised a conference on early help and enhanced support for mental health and as you can see it was a packed day of presentations and discussion. 

The live illustration gave an opportunity for participants to refresh what had been said in previous sessions and it sparked many conversations as people stood looking at the work. I love it when I hear people start chatting in exciting tones while I draw. The final visual was used widely afterwards on social media and in newsletters and it also planted a seed for a coproduced creative project later that year – more on that in a separate post!

And finally, the third event involving young people was the ’Value of Esports’, bringing together academics, researchers, professional players and others involved in the esport community. It was very interesting to hear different viewpoints about esports and how players can go “pro” at a young age. I learned that esports have commentators like any other sport and that everyone involved value the inclusive nature of the esports community. 

This event was not without some initial hiccups – when I arrived to set up my paper on the nice big wall that was promised, I was told I couldn’t use it after all as it had just been painted. Small panic! Luckily the venue had plenty of flip chart stands so I just cut the paper into parts and stitched them together digitally afterwards. The lesson learnt? Always have a plan B and be ready to improvise with what you have to hand.

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