Roy Blumenthal does a visual facilitation for top international speakers at the NSASA Convention 2008

Categories art, artrage, creative commons, creativity, life, visual facilitation

Welcome to Roy Blumenthal’s visual facilitation pictures made during the NSASA Convention 2008, at the Sibaya Convention Centre near Durban.

Roy Blumenthal is a Professional Member of the Johannesburg chapter of the National Speakers Association of Southern Africa. View his NSASA profile page at, and consider hiring him to create a memorable record of your next event.

After observing and being on the receiving end of Roy in action during the conference, Joe Sherren, President of the International Federation for Professional Speakers, sent this email to Roy:

“I just wanted to write and say what an amazing job you did at the NSASA Convention in Durban. Your artistic and creative talents are absolutely amazing. You added to the enjoyment of all the presentations and your work will leave a timeless memory for every attendee. I hope we can work together again in the future.”

Here are the pictures Roy made live during the event. He had his computer hooked up to a video projector. So every painting was screened to every member of the audience.

The National Speakers Association of Southern Africa has a convention every year. This year — 2008 — it was held at Sibaya Convention Centre near Durban, South Africa

The three-day programme was crammed with top-notch, high-level speakers. And that’s just the audience members!

On the podium were the cream of the crop of both local and international speakers.

Roy sat in the room with his trusty tablet pc attached to a video projector. Each session, he paid serious attention to what was being said, and painted his interpretation of the ideas being delivered.

His role is to supplement the speakers, not to overshadow them. He says, ‘I try to gauge the tenor of the speaker’s talk, and angle my pictures towards their particular personal style of delivery.’

Barry Holley, a South African training expert attending the convention, said, ‘Roy’s work is non-intrusive, non-distracting, supportive of the speaker’s message, and a good reminder.’ He added, ‘Roy makes it very easy for audience members to assimilate the material. And his pictures are a great memory jogger after the event.’

Roy is excited at the response to his work. ‘It’s making me very happy that people in the room appreciate what I’m doing,’ he said. ‘This is an unbelievably exacting audience to work for. Almost every single one of the people here speaks professionally for a living. And they’ve seen every trick in the book. When they tell me they love what I’m doing, and that they can see themselves working with me, that tells me that I’ve been doing something right.’

Something else suggests that his efforts were appreciated. ‘I brought about a thousand business cards with me, and I’ve got fewer than half left.’

But business cards don’t tell the whole story.

Britain’s media training specialist, Alan Stevens, had never worked in this way before. Initially, when Roy was introduced to him, he was reluctant to have Roy’s visuals on the screen behind him. ‘Oh, what the heck. I’ll give it a try,’ he said. When he came off the stage, he was beaming. He went over to Roy and said, ‘I’m a convert. I’m really glad you were doing that behind me, Roy. Thank you.’

Another British speaker, ‘Walking Tall‘ style-guru, Lesley Everett, said, ‘You really added to the event.’

Kristin Arnold, President of the USA and Canadian company, The Extraordinary Team, was another speaker at the conference. Roy and Kristin worked together to help emphasise specific points. ‘I have a background in advertising, and corporate communications. I’m also a trained crisis counsellor. This means that I’m very attuned to what people are trying to convey. So I can work pretty intuitively. When Kristin briefed me on what she wanted, I was able to grasp her objective quickly.’

Kristin, who traditionally doesn’t use Powerpoint in her presentations, said afterwards, ‘I’ve never worked with a visual facilitator live. Roy provides a way to seamlessly integrate visuals with a presentation.’ She said, ‘While I’m describing or explaining something, Roy is reinforcing my message.’

When asked to describe his offering in one paragraph, Roy said, ‘My visuals help speakers and trainers to bring their message alive in a rich, colourful, interactive way. The hero of the day is the message, and I’m there to support the speaker in delivering that brilliantly.’

Because Roy works digitally, using a tablet pc running specialised art-making software, the paintings he makes are instantly available for distribution to delegates. ‘One of my clients has printed A1 posters of my pictures,’ said Roy.

Ben Zander, speaker, co-author of THE ART OF POSSIBILITY, and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, has used Roy’s graphics on his website.

‘People can print them out as handouts, or use them as emails,’ Roy says.

All of the pictures here are available for free download, and may be used for whatever purposes you see fit, within the boundaries of the Creative Commons License Roy releases all of his work under.

Please take a look at the title deed: Creative Commons — Attribution, Share-Alike.

Roy says, ‘Thank you to everyone for allowing me to make a difference in the room.’

Book Roy today. Call him on +27 74 104 6386. Or email

A Note From Roy Blumenthal:

All of the paintings in this group are made live, on the fly, in the room, while the speaker is delivering his or her address. I currently use a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, running ArtRage 2.5 painting software.

I am a professional member of the National Speakers Association of Southern Africa. You can view my profile at–nsasa.

I am available for international gigs. Please email me on or call me on my mobile: +27 74 104 6386 to book me.