Artist Terry LaBan live-cartooned the hell out of these #PTW17 events - Philly


May 15, 2017 9:56 am

Artist Terry LaBan live-cartooned the hell out of these #PTW17 events

A reporter's salute to artful event recaps.

Cartoonist Terry LaBan adds details to his "graphic recording" of FailFest.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

Recapping an event — and doing it well — can be a tricky endeavor.

It requires a mix of sharp attention to details across all five senses, general knowledge of basically everything in the world and being OK with the fact that attendees can fact-check you if you mishear a quote.

As we frequently confess in our #reporters-only Slack channel, event recaps are not easy. Mostly because the heat is also on the recapper to harvest the most valuable lessons from what can often be hours of dialogue.

That’s why, when cartoonist Terry LaBan managed to accurately illustrate the gist of two complex events like our Mayoral Tech Town Hall and #FailFest (part of Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast), I couldn’t help but be very impressed.

LaBan is mad focused. As he sketched Jake Stein’s chat, I tried to tell him that Stein had founded RJMetrics, and not “Virgin Metrics” as LaBan initially penned. He very politely asked that I not disturb his process until he noticed my nametag. He then took my suggestion and swiftly amended the minor error.

“I’m sorry, I thought you were an audience member,” LaBan later said. “People sometimes try to talk to me and I can’t focus like that.” Given the level of detail he was able to nab from both events, I totally get it.

The visual event recap is a style also adopted by the tech world when it comes to other types of tech conferences. You’ll often spot event attendees tweeting photos of their drawings.

Here’s LaBan’s graphic recording of our mayoral tech town hall, which was followed by a multi-speaker economic development panel (look at the lil Comcast Tower):

(Graphic recording by Terry LaBan)

(Graphic recording by Terry LaBan)

And here’s his graphic recording of FailFest (we like the lil unicorn):


(Graphic recording by Terry LaBan)

(Graphic recording by Terry LaBan)

For more info on LaBan, here’s his website.

Roberto Torres

Roberto Torres became Lead Philly Reporter in May 2016. Prior, he was a freelance contributor to and Al Dia News. The native Venezuelan moved to Philadelphia in 2015 after reporting on research at his alma mater, the University of Zulia. Whenever he's not fencing deadlines, he can be found standing in line at Overbrook Pizza in West Philly, running Netflix/Hulu marathons with his wife or reading news from Venezuela.


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