• SketchCamp San Diego: October 6, 2012

Sketchcamp SD is a one-day unconference in San Diego where UX professionals share and learn sketching techniques that can be applied to user experience design.

The Big Picture

Sketchcamp is about visual thinking. You knew how to sketch when you were a kid but somewhere along the way it was replaced with software and process. It turns out that sketching is valuable technique for ideation and visual problem solving, especially in the UX field.
Can’t draw? Don’t worry, neither can we. Sketching is not Drawing... anybody can do it and it is fine to be messy. Although we love our digital design tools, sketching is one of the quickest, most creatively focused ways to wireframe, storyboard, prototype, flowchart, layout, design or just generally get your idea across for the next big thing.

The Down Low

The Sketchcamp SD format is open, participatory talks and workshops where the content is provided by participants from the UX community. The talks and some of the workshops will be scheduled in advance but the remaining spots will be left open in the unconference style, where any attendee can lead a session. If you have a sketching topic you are passionate about, show up with a 45-minute preso or topic for an interactive conversation, mark your name in an open slot, and off you go.

The Backstory

We have big shoes to fill. The Sketchcamp initiative started in San Francisco and has since migrated to Chicagoland and SXSW. Sketchcamp SD originated as community feedback and direction from the San Diego user experience community group, UX Speakeasy. Sketchcamp SD is put on by community volunteers and functions as a not-for-profit event – all the money goes back into the event.

Want more events like Sketchcamp in San Diego? Get involved!


Saturday, October 6, 2012


4:30pm – 4:45


Welcome & Introduction
9:15 – 10:00
Opening Speaker | Jeannel King
What You Draw is Good Enough
10 – 10:45
Workshop 1 Upstairs: Bennett King
Drawing Out Users: Using Sketch Techniques for User Research

Workshop 2 Main Room: Jason Alderman
Practical Sketchnoting!Workshop 3 Back Room: (open for participant-led workshops)

10:45 – 11:00
11 – 11:45
Workshop 4 Upstairs: Amber Lundy
Humanizing the interface:  Bridging reality and interfaciallity to problem solve… aka sketching!

Workshop 5 Main Room: Sean Gilbert & John Strott
Sketchy At Best. Sketching to maximize efficiency in a lean environmentWorkshop 6 Back Room: (open for participant-led workshops)

Noon -1:30pm
On Your Own Lunch | See What’s Around
Speaker | Drew Wilson

Sketching by a Human 

2:30 – 3:15
Workshop 7 Upstairs: Christopher Konrad
5 Secret Ingredients

Workshop 8 Main Room: Phil McAndrew
Draw Like A Six Year OldWorkshop 9 Back Room: Jeff Axup
(Doodling > Digital) Design

3:15 – 3:30
3:30 – 4:30
Closing Speaker | Aaron Irizzary
A Sketch is Worth a Thousand Words: Using sketching as a communication and collaboration tool
Happy Hour/Networking next door | Bourbon Street Bar & Grill

More details to come on our big event! We’ll be filling out the schedule with some specific workshops, but will also hold some slots open so you can lead your own workshop in traditional unconference style.


More details on our speakers and planned workshop leaders are coming, but for now we’ve lined up these amazing folks to inform and inspire you:

Jason Alderman

On his way to becoming a software designer, Jason tracked asteroids, briefed fighter pilots, drew webcomics, and taught programming to artists. His Masters project at Georgia Tech involved generating comics to summarize wearable computer data, fusing together his nerdy passions for human-computer interaction and comics theory. Jason is currently a User Experience Lead at Cynergy, where he helps design and build apps that make people’s lives better.

Jeff Axup

Jeff Axup, Ph.D, is a user experience leader, designer, and theorist. His doctoral research, conducted in Brisbane Australia, focused on developing mobile device concepts and research methods for studying communities of backpackers. Jeff is the Director of User Experience at Websense, Inc. He keeps active in his spare time with three startups related to digitial business cards, iPad-based bilingual children’s books, and educational interactive toys. Jeff is passionate about the following topics: mobile social networks, e-learning, tablet computers, pro-social technologies, the social impact of design, and steampunk.

Sean Gilbert

Sean has been with StockTwits since its inception, creating the branding and user interfaces for StockTwits’ range of products. He specializes in user interface design for web and mobile.
Sean’s work has been featured on Yahoo!, CNBC, NASDAQ, Bloomberg and other financial sites and web applications.
Past experience includes: Co-Founder/Creative Director at Pilotage Inc., a web design company in Yarmouth, MA; Digital Media Manager at Fox Glen Corporation in Burlington, VT.

Aaron Irizzary

Aaron is an experience designer for Hewlett-Packard and also does some designery things with the nGen Works team. Perhaps you heard him talk recently at IA Summit, WebVisions, or as the host of the UX SpeakEasy conference. You can learn more about Aaron on the twitters @aaroni and on his sites thisisaaronslife.com and discussingdesign.com

Bennett King

Bennett started his career working on farms in California’s Central Valley where he quickly realized that he should probably get a better job. Since then he has designed kiosks for banks, created software for submarines, had a web designer’s front row seat to the rise and fall of the dot.com, prototyped telematics systems, and crafted interfaces, interactions and apps for mobile devices. These days he is a Principal User Experience Researcher leading a small but determined UX team for Qualcomm R&D. Sometimes he wishes he was back on the farm.

Jeannel King

Jeannel King is a Graphic Facilitator and Stick Figure Strategist based in San Diego, and the President of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. Her company, Big Picture Solutions, is a management consulting firm specializing in leveraging visual thinking for massive business results. She loves good coffee and vintage comic strips. To learn more, follow @jeannelking on Twitter or visit her website: www.jeannelking.com.

Christopher Konrad

Christopher started KONRAD, the company, on April fool’s day in 2011. He wasn’t taken seriously, even by himself. He runs the business, leads projects, designs, and delivers the goods. Christopher has designed software while working at Microsoft, Intuit, and Artefact. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master of Science in Engineering Psychology. He enjoys high kicks.

Amber Lundy

Amber Lundy is a UX designer who studied internationally, with a background in industrial design and communication studies. Currently pursuing a computing in the arts MFA with a particular passion for working with specialist in diverse disciplines.

Phil McAndrew

Phil McAndrew draws pictures and writes stories and jokes. He has created comics and illustrations for MAD Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, King Magazine, BOOM! Studios, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Cosmic Pictures, Righteous Babe Records, Ramen Music, Broken Pencil Magazine, Boston’s Weekly Dig, New Reliable Press and many, many others. Phil is currently illustrating a book for Workman Publishing, finishing up a book-length collection of short comics for Grimalkin Press and has a project “in development” with Cartoon Network. Originally from upstate New York, he currently lives and draws in San Diego.

John Strott

John’s work focuses on user-centered design for web and mobile products. He is a Senior Designer for User Experience at StockTwits.

John has designed user interfaces implemented by Yahoo!, CNBC, social networks and e-commerce companies. His past experiences include Creative Director/User Experience Lead at HomeSublime (Blindsgalore.com); Senior Designer at AutoAnything; Co-Founder of AppleKrisper, Inc. and West Coast Sunsets, Inc. and he also provides design leadership at jlanedesign.com.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson’s Twitter bio sums it up: “I make stuff.” To name a few things with his fingerprints on them, Drew has created Valiocon (a designer/developer conference), Pictos (one of the world’s most-used icon sets), Dialoggs (group, curated & private discussions made easy & social), Screeny (a Mac screen-capture app), co-hosts The Industry podcast, is a founding member of Advise.me, and created the Quixly digital file delivery & payment service.


Workshop 1 Upstairs

Bennett King – Drawing Out Users: Using Sketch Techniques for User Research

Sketching provides a unique way to collect user research data. Research participants are less guarded when communicating using sketches or drawings than when they are communicating verbally. They often provide valuable insights into wants, needs and issues without even knowing it. In this interactive workshop we will examine simple (and rapid) sketching techniques that can be employed while conducting user research to improve your product.


Workshop 2 Main Room

Jason Alderman – Practical Sketchnoting!

Sketchnotes are just what they sound like: notes taken to capture live events in a fluid combination of words and pictures. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll get coaching to create your own sketchnotes, from advice on what and why to sketchnote, tips on tools and approach, and practice working your way from lettering up to drawing with layout in mind. By the end of the workshop, you’ll even have sketchnoted a talk within this talk (meta!).


Workshop 3 Back Room – (open for participant-led workshops)

11 – 11:45

Workshop 4 Upstairs

Amber Lundy – Humanizing the interface:  Bridging reality and interfaciallity to problem solve… aka sketching!

People communicate and network through language, emotion and the manipulation of their environment or objects.  Designers, like people giving a speech are the first users of that object, interface or statement.  Think about how many times you have said something and immediately reacted to it in a startling way.  You may wish you could have done a few iterations on that statement before belting it out right?  This is precisely the moment that we can capture and explore with sketching.  That stage of willing self criticism allows us to be playfully creative while testing, improving and inserting human emotion into the process.  Sketching easily allows community involvement so your sketches become an argument that allows you and your team to distill good design from the conversation.  Design that is thoughtful, human, and full of emotion.  The session will round out with some simple ways to insert user emotion into your ideation sketches, the only 3 tools you ever really need, and the habits that will make you a pro fast.



Workshop 5 Main Room

Sean & John – Sketchy At Best. Sketching to maximize efficiency in a lean environment

New product ideas are commonly born of instinct, hunches and past experience; an adventure into the unknown. Early requirements are therefore often imperfect lists of nice-to-haves, can-we-do-this, grand vision items that may not always be practical or feasible in a lean startup. In this talk we’ll introduce sketching as an early collaborative step in the process of facilitating buy-in and evolving ideas into a map for a minimum viable product.


Workshop 6 Back Room – (open for participant-led workshops)

2:30pm -3:15

Workshop 7 Upstairs

Christopher Konrad – 5 Secret Ingredients

Learn how to sketch one idea on a piece of paper.  Your sketch will make it obvious how your idea improves customer’s experiences if you include 5 secret ingredients.  Come learn and practice mixing those ingredients.


Workshop 8 Main Room

Phil McAndrew – Draw Like A Six Year Old

As kids, we’re totally fearless when drawing. We scribble and doodle without reservations or inhibitions. Sketching and doodling can (and should) be incredibly fun, and yet somewhere along the way most people seem to lose that fearlessness, replacing it with self-doubt and a reluctance to explore. Tap into the creative fearlessness of your six-year-old self and learn some new sketching tricks with this talk and drawing process demonstration from a professional illustrator and cartoonist.

Workshop 9 Back Room

Jeff Axup – (Doodling > Digital) Design

Many designers jump into using digital tools too early. Sketching is a fast, flexible and productive way to explore initial design concepts before you start being limited by digital constraints. A good way to get used to drawing UIs is to expand on the doodling that you did in the margins of your college notepad. The same principles apply to rapidly explaining design ideas to co-workers on whiteboards, notepads or the occasional napkin. Once you get comfortable with your UI doodles, learn to easily expand them into storyboards to demonstrate use cases which are a central component of design excellence.



SketchCamp San Diego is being hosted by 3rdSpace, an incredible co-working space located centrally in the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego. 3rdspace is a dynamic hub of creativity and connectivity, where the co-working experience is complimented by ongoing events, workshops, and discussions. Not your home, not your work. Your 3rdspace.

4610 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92116‎ (map)

(Located by the University Heights sign. Take the stairs up from the street to the venue inside).


Thanks to our initial sponsors who are already supporting SketchCamp:

Gigabyte Sponsors


Megabyte Sponsors


Kilobyte Sponsors




This list will be updated frequently as more sponsors join us.

Our goal is to keep the cost of Sketchcamp SD low and to do that we look for help from partners in the San Diego community. We have three tiers of sponsorship along with direct items that can be sponsored like badges, or lanyards. Contact us if you would like more information.


We know SketchCamp is going to be a special event, and because we want to keep it small, intimate and affordable, we’re limiting ticket sales to 60 people.

UPDATE: Sketchcamp has SOLD OUT!

But if you sign up for the wait list, we will contact you as spots open up.

SignUpWait List Sign Up for SketchCamp San Diego



You can get in touch with us several ways.
We’re on Twitter: @SketchCampSD

Chad Martin, Conference Lead
Principal & Founder
Pivotal Action
twitter: @chadQmartin
Bennett King, Sponsor Chair
Principal UX Researcher
twitter: twitter: @skunkwUrX


General questions?

Want to be a speaker?