Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Live Illustration for Curious Agenda by Esther Springett

Live Illustration for Curious Agenda by Esther Springett

Live illustration and graphic facilitation with Esther Springett

Esther Springett, live illustrator, graphic facilitator and filmmaker, talks to Jude Montague about her practice.

Jude Montague: How would you describe the work you do with image and text? How can it help interpret the world around us?

Esther Springett: I combine drawing and advocacy to create meaningful and memorable tools for change. Over 65% of the general population are visual thinkers. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. I harness the power of visuals to help people communicate their needs, wishes and share their message through visual maps, storyboards and rich picture design. This looks like graphic recording alongside meetings, talks and conferences and running graphic facilitated workshops with individuals and teams.

Esther Springett - Pathway workshop

Esther Springett – Pathway workshop

JM:  You often draw ideas, dreams and schemes, helping people organise thought and plan for the future. How do diagrams and imagings help do this?

ES: I’ve worked for over a decade in socially engaged art practice and while doing this I trained as an advocate for people with learning disabilities, neurodivergent individuals and their circles of support. This is when I started exploring using visual aids to support communication.

I run Vision and Pathway workshops to help people plan for the future. These workshops are underpinned by an inclusive planning approach using visualisation techniques, gentle questioning and drawing in real-time. Taking a long view of our lives and thinking about what we truly want can be really daunting. Having a visual plan breaks down your dreams and aspirations and presents an easily digestible visual journey to get there.

Also I read somewhere that people who commit their dreams to paper are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who don’t!

JM: Is there a lot of listening – how important is the skill of listening to others?

ES: Growing up, I learned firsthand the power and importance of connecting beyond words, largely influenced by growing up alongside my sister who has profound learning disabilities and uses non-verbal communication. In a world where verbal communication often takes precedence, relating through other means becomes not just important, but essential.

So for me listening is also about reading non-verbal clues such as body language. It’s also important to draw a distinction between genuine listening and listening to reply. Genuine listening validates the speaker’s perspective, fostering trust and connection.

Reflecting this back in a drawing, is extremely validating for people sharing their story. When you’re just listening to reply, you’re concerned with jumping in with your own thoughts instead of really getting where the other person is coming from. And that can totally mess with the flow of the conversation!

JM: Do you have any dream jobs that you would like to do?

ES: I’d love to create an immersive live-illustration experience. This would lend itself really nicely to performance and stage productions which encourage audience participation.

My dream clients to live illustrate for are Action for Happiness and Social Care Futures.

Esther Springett - live illustration

Esther Springett – live illustration

JM: I’m doing a graphic novel and I wondered if you had any thoughts about this art form, whether it has any relevance to your work.

ES: Firstly, I can’t wait to read your graphic novel. I was a big Manga fan growing up and I’m an avid sketchbook-keeper so perhaps this is something I’ll do in the future. I’m also a filmmaker and I find my drawing practice and facilitation goes hand in hand with this. I’m ultimately interested in the lived-experience of others, the complexities of our lives and building connections.

JM: What’s in store for 2024 in Hastings?

ES: I’m looking forward to screening my documentary film about two sisters and their autistic brother, KIN, in Hastings at some point. I’m part of a community choir, the SHE choir in Hastings, which is a great example of inclusive community action which brings so much joy. So I’m looking forward to more singing and I have some more workshop offers in the pipeline.


If you’d like to explore a project or book a workshop with Esther Springett you can find her here:


Curating For Change - Museum Partners

Curating For Change – Museum Partners – Esther Springett


If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link. Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 17:36 Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 In: Community Arts

Also in: Community Arts

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us


    Get our regular digest emails

  • Subscribe to HOT