David Litchfield is an illustrator. But he didn’t always think of himself as one. At TEDxBedford, he spoke of his project “A drawing a day” and explained how doing a drawing a day for a year gave him the confidence to finally call himself what he wanted to be his entire life: an illustrator.

From his talk:

I didn’t always know I was an illustrator. I didn’t know what I was. It took me a long time to work out…

There seems to be a notion at least of a cutoff point in life, whereas if you haven’t found out what you want to be doing, or who you are, then it’s too late and you’re too old to try and define yourself…which is nonsense, obviously.

But nonetheless, it was a notion that was with me, and I really started to panic [that] I wouldn’t figure out what it was I wanted to do for the next 75 years, or whatever I had got left…

I had always drawn — every day — for as long as I can remember. It has always been the thing I love doing the most. And that’s probably one of the reasons why I thought I’d never get a job in it — because it was just too enjoyable to call it a job. Just looking at my parents, a career wasn’t something that you enjoyed, it was something you survived. But then it did suddenly hit me that maybe I could be an illustrator. And when I said that, when I said, ‘I am an illustrator,’ it seemed to fit. 

So I set myself a challenge. I would draw a drawing a day, every day, for a year. I woke up an hour early and just drew — while I was still waking up … I drew and as soon as I finished, I put them on Facebook; I linked them to Twitter and Tumblr; and just waited for feedback…

People asked me during the project, ‘How do you find the time to do this?’ … ‘How do you find the time to do what you love?’ … And these are usually the same people that tell me that they’ve just watched a box set of Lost over an evening or they’ve watched some videos of cats playing pianos on YouTube for five hours a night.

You find time. If you’re passionate about something and if you’ve got a goal then you find time — and in many cases you have to almost kind of create time.

Watch David’s whole talk here, and check out more drawings from the project here.

(Above, drawings from David’s “A drawing a day” project)

At TEDxYouth@Bath — in the city of Bath, England — youth from all around the area gathered to celebrate TEDxYouthDay, TEDx’s initiative to inspire curiosity, ignite new ideas, and empower leaders in the youth of today.

TEDx’ers designed their own mini TEDx flags, drawing their visions for the event, and at a pop-up post office, attendees wrote postcards to themselves to be delivered 6 months after the event, describing to their future selves the things they wanted to remember from the day.

Postcards are arriving in the mail right now. Follow the #TEDxYouthBath hashtag on Twitter to see who has tweeted their postcards already.

Innovation spotlight: TEDxNottingham’s audience feedback boards give speakers live feedback

 From TEDxNottingham organizer, Iain Botteril:  TEDxNottingham was our first event and we were working under a very tight budget, as a result we had to maximise everything that we had.

Whilst we were planning, we thought that we had 100 people in the audience who wanted to be more involved and integrated with the event. So we began to see them not as statues to sit and take on information but rather as an active part of the event’s fabric.

Before the day, we put up 10 boards (one for each speaker) with pins on the side. Then, as part of our audience’s welcome pack, we put in 10 mini red cards and a pen. In between each speaker’s talk, we asked the audience to jot down a few thoughts from the talk on a red card and then stick them up accordingly at the break.

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TEDxNottingham by Flickr user, pcmcreative

This helped the audience to remain stimulated during the talks, and also was a great point of discussion and interaction at our breaks and intervals.

It also helped the speakers get a lot of feedback and helped boost the confidence of the other speakers as they saw what was happening with everyone else’s talks and feedback.

Next year, we hope to turn the feedback into gifts for our speakers. We want to purchase a frame for each speaker, and fill it with a selection of photos of their talk, as well as a selection of the red feedback cards. This would give each speaker a really unique and genuine gift for their time. We like the idea of involving the audience and creating genuine gifts.

State of the X: Stats on TEDxTalks in September

Last month 570 great new talks were added to our library. Below, more stats on TEDxTalks in September and of all time:

TEDxTalks by the numbers: September

570 new talks added to the TEDxTalks library
2.9 million views of the TEDxTalks YouTube channel and the TEDxTalks website
5 talks featured on TED.com
800,000 views of those TEDxTalks featured on TED.com in September

TEDxTalks by the numbers: All time

19,900 TEDxTalks
54.7 million views of the TEDxTalks on the YouTube channel and the TEDxTalks website
196 talks featured on TED.com
97 million views of the TEDxTalks featured on TED.com

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The huge number of talks in our library can be overwhelming, but if you focus on just a few, you can uncover surprising connections. Here are two that were featured on TED.com in September:

Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone
Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past — tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action. (Filmed at TEDxExeter.)


Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs?
Robots and algorithms are getting good at jobs like building cars, writing articles, translating — jobs that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee walks through recent labor data to say: We ain’t seen nothing yet. But then he steps back to look at big history, and comes up with a surprising and even thrilling view of what comes next. (Filmed at TEDxBoston.)