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Stories that draw themselves

It’s not the nodes that matter, but the way the arcs twist and turn.

The more complex the idea, the more helpful it is to rely on simplicity to cement the fundamentals. A story structure makes a message memorable. If you want to compel someone to care enough to commit to action, you need to show something human and real to empathise with. You need a journey.

I doodle videos and diagrams for people who have something complex to say.

The software I most often use

Now, if you know anything at all about me, they you’ll know that I’ve got a Physics degree. This means my friendship group is a diverse set of people however it is dominated by scientists, mathematicians and computer engineers. There’s a predominant ‘Star Trek’ philosophy that’s seeped in to my mind-set  of sharing knowledge for the benefit of mankind rather than keeping secrets.

Wonderful, free, open-source software:

GIMP

For photo editing and beautiful drawings

Inkscape

For creating and editing vector graphics (SVGs)

Audacity

For editing audio tracks and converting music files when they’re the wrong type.

NotePad++

In terms of videos, I occasionally need to edit XML files (SVG picture as raw code) I also use NotePad++ for editing stuff for this website.

Not so free software:

VideoScribe

This is where I put together my whiteboard animations. It’s where the magic hand comes from that draws my pictures.

How my videos work

It starts with an idea, and then sketches. And then, sometimes, we take a detour into photography. You want a picture of a person seated at a table – I’m going to find a table and sit down with the camera on a timer, taking shot after shot. Then comes the amalgamation of the images, the setting of a scene. Ideas, sketches and photos bounce back and forth as your idea and my idea are knitted together in the same vision. I can start with your storyboard, or we can build a storyboard together. You can provide the audio or I can get one made up.

But when we’ve agreed on what we’re doing, then it’s time to draw.

I draw on paper, scan or photograph and then trace my sketches into Inkscape. This makes each line a vector. I could convert a picture you’d drawn too.

And then what we have is a scalable vector graphic, an SVG. A picture that can be expanded and shrunk without ill effect. A picture made of lines where the lines have beginnings and endings.

And then, using VideoScribe and a little magic, a video is constructed that makes it look like the images were drawn with ease, no mistakes or hesitation. The audio track is added; the story unfolds. We can adjust timings, play around to get it right, add a splash of colour to bring it alive.

But what we have is a drawing that comes alive to tell a story, your story.

The amusing story of how I began this work

The story of my first whiteboard animation (for the European Committee of Standardization)

And how they’re currently used for e-learning

Wake up your students with a whiteboard animation

Any questions…

Catherine’s animations form the visual backdrops and are key elements needed to fully engage the learner in our suite of eLearning courses and give that extra ‘wow’ factor.

Mike McDonald, Regulus (UK)

To find out if I could help you, send an email to kate@happenence.co.uk.