I had live sketched and used illustrated reportage to cover events before Pyeongchang (see archcomix.com for examples), but nothing with as tight a turnaround over such a sustained period. The main challenges I thought I would face going into it were sketching in the cold and trying to capture fast-paced live events without relying too heavily on photography. In the end the cold wasn't too bad (my winter sketching gloves with holes for the thumb and index finger served up to a point), and I managed to blend the live doodles from events like short track speedskating and ice hockey with burst photography for reference.
The main challenge was actually compressing so much information into a space the size of 2/3 of a US letter page, which I pushed to its maximum when I squeezed in four tiers as opposed to three. I tend to think of a standard US letter-sized comics page as three tiers (horizontal lines) comprised of three panels each, making a nine panel grid. For the Daily Draw, the designated width was slightly smaller (5.75 inches wide), so I shortened that to a three-tier layout with two panels per tier.
The aim of using comics was to freeze certain moments in time and provide a sort of illustrated commentary on them, such as the quad jump in figure skating or Red Gerard's epic snowboard slopestyle run. Not to mention to get around certain sanctions that we faced when it came to not showing video shot inside Olympic venues.
Hopefully the Daily Draw series has helped readers understand newfound aspects of some of the sports, as well as highlighting how comics don't have to be funny or focused solely on a younger audience. I also tried to give a sense of scale using my live drawings, such as the snowboard halfpipe, where I drew my point of view from the press pit and then superimposed Shaun White's gold-winning run over the top. Not to mention more hastily sketched impressions of the locations, such as the high speed train ride from Incheon to Pyeongchang that I started the Daily Draw series with.
I usually aimed to do the reporting the night before a story ran, so that I could spend the following day writing, editing and drawing it. The more live sketches I do at the scene the faster the turnaround. Inevitably, some days I would spend the morning at an event, then head to the main press center and start drawing around 2 p.m., which would mean a late finish around midnight or so. It usually takes me about nine or 10 hours to complete a page from start to finish. Though like all journalists here in Pyeongchang, I often found myself at the mercy of the bus schedules for moving between venues, which can play havoc with any attempts at scheduling.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive both in real life and on social, (my Instagram and Twitter is @archcomix) and I've had many people come up to me while I'm drawing and ask what I'm doing, which is always good for starting a conversation. This is a definite advantage of graphic journalism, as it means you can include some of the behind-the-scenes action that might not make it into print, such as the U.S. and Russian supporters sitting next to each other at the women's hockey, or letting the world have a glimps of the Kpop band EXO before the supertars' performance is shown on TV. I'm always interested in finding new ways to present stories in a different perspective, be it animations, gifs, comics or live sketches.