In the TED spotlight

Some thoughts on a little talk, and a big idea

Hey friends, it’s me, Wendy. 

So, a little news: I had the honor of giving a TED talk on the main stage a few weeks back. I stood on that famous red dot and got to share my thoughts about why drawing is essential: how it slows us down, helps us pay attention, look closely and connect with one another. And of course I talked about DrawTogether. 

I worked super hard on the talk, and had a lot of help from very smart colleagues and friends. And I was still terribly nervous. It was a big leap for me: to boil everything down into a single presentation, to memorize ten minutes (no notes allowed on stage!) and then to perform it in front of a crowd of fancy strangers…it was intimidating to say the least. Plus, all this during a pandemic. There were some tough moments when I almost quit. But I didn’t. I kept going.

And here’s what I learned:

1. There’s never just one person on the stage. It’s always a village, a community. 

2. There’s no such thing as perfect. The talk looks pretty seamless. But don’t let the editing fool you. It wasn't. I lost my way. And as I stammered for my words, the audience began clapping in support. It was incredibly moving - I think I said something like, “Wow, you’re all so nice.” I took a deep breath, picked up where I left off, and kept going. By the end, I got a standing ovation. Which leads me to lesson three:

3. As my pal Austin Kleon says, “Keep Going.” So much of making art and being an artist is simply sticking with it - through all the ups and downs. Focusing on the process instead of the product. And being open to the unexpected experiences that unfold. Like meeting the DrawTogether kids below.  

The talk is 13 minutes long and suitable for classrooms (though probably a little bit of a reach for the younger kids). It also involves a short drawing exercise that most DT’ers will be familiar with. So grab a paper and pencil, maybe a friend, and press play on the talk above. And after you’ve watched it, leave a comment and let me know what you think. 

Finally (and this is pretty fun to say this for real): thanks for coming to my TED talk. 

More soon!