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Oi! Oi! Oi!

An Olympic-sized welcome to the month of August.

It’s winter—a perfect time to be glued to the television and become an armchair expert in sports you only hear about once every four years.

There’s something special about watching the skill, dedication and passion from athletes who have spent years training for this moment. They get this one shot at making their mark on the world stage. 

When you think about it, imagery and communication are at the heart of the Olympics. In fact, the Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius, is Latin for Faster, Higher, Braver—ideals that resonate both on and off the sporting field.

The designer of the iconic Olympic Rings, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, wanted to create a memorable image of celebration and collaboration. However, his idea was not just for the five rings to represent the five continents—his vision went further. 

"... the six colours [including the flag's white background] combined in this way reproduce the colours of every country, without exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri-colours of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan, and new China. Here is truly an international symbol."

There are skills that Olympic athletes have that we can all use in ordinary life, regardless of how sporty we may be:

  • complete focus on a singular goal
  • dedication and preparation to the cause, and
  • gathering a strong, skilled team around us that helps us reach our ultimate aim.

It all comes down to knowing what you want, working on what you've got, and never ever giving up.

C'mon Aussies!

Oh, and if you haven't checked out the remarkable video Channel 4 in the UK made for the Paralympics, We're the Superheroes, do yourself a favour!

Featured Video: The Brain Dialogue

It's been completely amazing working with Dr Rachel Nowak,  Director of The Brain Dialogue at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function to create a video showing off the brain. We're so thrilled with how it's turned out. It blows our mind. Have a look at it here.

We asked Rachel what the process was like for her.

Rachel, what made you think of a sketch video for your project?

We wanted to convince an incredibly diverse audience of an unfamiliar reality: that brain research has entered a new era that will transform the way we work, play and live, even what it means to be human. We wanted them to be so convinced that after watching the animation the non-scientists would seek out more information about brain research, and the brain researchers would find ways to share more of what they do with the outside world. An entertaining animation was the only way to go. We wanted to give our viewers 3 minutes of pleasure as we shared our message. It seemed the least we could do.

How was the process for you?

Superb. Sketch Videos, and in particular Matt, gave us all the guidance and help we needed where we needed it, acted as a sounding board for ideas, and were flexible and listened to our very distinct needs and incorporated them into the animation. It was the best type of collaboration -- all parties happily shared insights, misgivings, ideas and expertise. The artist Guy was great, as you can see.

What's your opinion of the finished video and what's been the response?

To be honest, I have watched it so many times, at so many different stages (I also wrote the script, which many people chose not to do), that I never want to see it again. However.... our viewers have emailed and tweeted "this is a beauty" , "excellent" , "awesome" and "I totally love the video: many congratulations" -- and that's just in the first 3 days. My Mum liked it on Facebook, which always feels good.


Could your organisation benefit from a similar video? We'd love to help you get your message out there. Get in touch!


Have you heard about our Winter Warming Special Offer?

Let Sketch Videos make you a personalised colouring book for products, your workers and your clients.

Your images—theirs to colour in.

It's the perfect way to warm up and spend time indoors.

And we're helping you get started with a ten free packs of colouring-in pencils with every order of a mini-book or hard-cover until the end of August.

Talk to us about how we can help colour your world.



Illustrating Diversity

We live in a world of different races, religions, shapes, sizes, sexes, identity, age and colour. There is no ‘one look’, ‘one family’ or ‘one person’ that can accurately represent everyone. Diversity is exciting and engaging and we want to make sure that what we’re drawing, is the reality of what we’re living.

At Sketch Videos we make a point of representing diversity wherever we can. We don’t assume a voice is male or female—we ask. We talk about who best can tell the story, and try to think outside the stereotype and cliché.

Our talented illustrator Robin Cave is especially good at drawing diverse groups of people so we asked him for some tips of his trade.

Lately I’ve been called on to do several projects with an emphasis on racial diversity.

I do find talking about racial stereotypes a pretty uncomfortable subject in these times of global racial tensions, and in my drawings I am really just striving for more inclusion. I think that most people are probably a mix of races and sometimes the drawings don’t end up being particularly one sort or another but that is OK because that’s life.

Singling out a few stereotypical features might seem a bit racist, but it does work to bring some diversity to your drawings.

I remember seeing a cabinet at the museum that had four sculpted heads in it from the 19th century, there was an African, Asian, White and South American (Mayan) represented. It was from a time when Phrenology was all the rage and lots of head measuring was being done (which we all now know is a bunch of baloney). It was at least useful in showing the very distinct differences in human head shapes.

It can be quite tricky to represent diversity when you are trying to use as few lines as possible in your drawing. I sometimes find it hard to draw a distinctly Asian character, especially in a business situation. I don’t want to end up with just a line for each eye, so it takes a bit of work to get the right balance.

Clothes are a good way to add diversity, for instance a Muslim woman wearing a Hijab is something that is easy to add to a group. Specific hair can also be an easy solution. Of course, a little shading in the right place can do a lot to help define a face or skin colour. I try to mainly keep it in three shades of grey rather than get into the rainbow of actual skin colours.

My general approach is to get onto google images and immerse myself in the required look, then draw a few heads and try and work out what specifics are important and maybe emphasize these a little more, kind of like a subtle racial caricature. It can be easy to go too far and end up with a completely racially stereotyped caricature so you might need to tone it back. It’s really just a case of getting the right balance.


Happy Birthday To Us!

At Sketch Videos we published our very first video on August 23rd 2012. 

And in that four years we’ve come a long, long way. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients: from government, not-for-profits, universities, hospitals and corporates—we’ve loved working with each and every one you, and look forward to making more magic in the future. 

I’d like to thank the Sketch Videos team—it’s a privilege to work with such passionate, professional and talented people who are always prepared to go above and beyond to please our clients and ensure we are doing our best work.

At Sketch Videos we pride ourselves on our innovation, and our ability to use technology and creativity to craft messages of meaning and substance. We look forward to challenging ourselves, to inspiring others and to delivering the very best product for the next four years and beyond.

And that’s some happy sketching.


Remember you can follow along for your sketch fix on Twitter or Facebook or just wait til next month.