Meet the Masher: Katie

Live illustration = being able to watch 90 minutes of an online conference in 90 seconds.” This is creative ingenuity mixed with straight shooting business logic…and it’s seriously cool.

From her rural base in North East England, Katie is a champion for freelance creatives, and works with some of the biggest names going including Facebook, Google and Apple to graphically record their conferences. “I love that it doesn’t matter where I am in the world – I’m hired for my quality of work.”– Say it a little louder for the people in the back? You’re speaking our language Katie, tell us more…

You clearly sold us already! But what’s the ‘penny drop’ moment for brands realising how beneficial live illustration is?

Zoom fatigue is real, attention spans are suffering, and now more than ever brands are realising having a visual recap is super valuable. 

Live illustration = being able to watch 90 minutes of an online conference in 90 seconds. 

That makes a HUGE difference in how many people will look, absorb, and remember that information. Getting eyeballs on the important bits is a game-changer, especially when it’s product launches, funding bids, and company projections.

People are 6 times more likely to remember stuff when visual notes are involved! I consider myself a spoon-feeder of boring information, haha. I make it palatable and interesting and bring people back from the ledge of ‘OMG NOT ANOTHER ZOOM’ despair.

Your two main focus areas are live illustration and graphic recordings- what’s the difference?

Yes! I use ‘live illustration’ as an umbrella term to cover everything I do, but really graphic recording and live illustrating are two different things.

 GRAPHIC RECORDING is taking visual sketch notes of meetings and online events. I record the key takeaways in visual form. At the end of the conference/event, you get a visual burst of information. A timelapse video is a part of my offering – brilliant for social media content repurposing – as well as the digital illustration files.

LIVE ILLUSTRATION is more of the in-person stuff that adds creative flair to events and launches. Pre-COVID I’d paint a window, or draw portraits in-store, or personalise products while customers enjoyed a launch event. It’s great for adding a buzz and getting your customers to share that buzz on social media.

From your seaside cottage in North-East England, to the world! Being rurally located hasn’t stopped you working with big brand names like Google and Facebook. How do you think working freelance and remotely has helped you?

Freelancing and working remotely has been great for me. I spend a lot of energy working on my search engine optimisation, and keeping my website updated so that new clients can find me. Google and Facebook are repeat clients, and I am about to do a project with Apple. All thanks to my website. I love that it doesn’t matter where I am in the world – I’m hired for my quality of work. I used to really think that the only way to ‘make it’ as a creative freelancer was to move to a big capital city but that’s really not been the case.

At MASH we’re all about empowering independent creative talent, and we love that you are too. Tell us about the work you do to support others in the industry?

I co-run The Good Ship Illustration with my illustrator pals Helen Stephens and Tania Willis. We create online courses to help creatives find their own creative voice and get out of creative block. We also run a free weekly art club on Instagram live every Friday evening (UK time). It’s been a highlight this year to draw online every week together and meet so many creatives – we’ve seen so many people have incredible career success, despite the current circumstances.

A lot of your work has a strong sustainability focus. What changes do you think are needed in the creative industries to support this?

We need to use our creative superpowers for good! 

As creatives in general, I like to think we all care deeply about the planet and protecting it. Making tiny tweaks to how you do business, the products you use, who you do business with… those tiny actions all add up. 

Has running this small business alongside your freelance work presented any challenges for you to overcome?

It’s all been smooth sailing 🙂 I wouldn’t call it a challenge, but this year I’ve really had to reevaluate how I spend my time. The good old Pareto 80/20 rule. 20% of your work will bring in 80% of your income… So figuring out what 20% of things are going to bring in the 80% of income makes a huge difference.

What would your dream MASH project look like?

I’d love to collaborate with a really great animator to make an AMAZIN’ explainer video. Clients are always asking me to do animation stuff and I’d love to give my illustrations to someone else to animate!

Katie Chappell Live Illustrator - Katie Chappell(1)
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