It’s not just drawing, it’s SO MUCH MORE!

If you are in a world where your life revolves around drawing or graphic facilitation you may hear people say regularly “Oh you draw, I wish I just did that” or “Your job must be so easy”.

When I hear people say this, I politely giggle and agree and then think to myself ‘I wish it was so easy’.

There is so much to think about when preparing to graphic facilitate and because you are so used to it you just go with the flow, and it may come across as just 1. Pen, 2. Paper and 3. Person Drawing.

After attending Envision 2022 with Brandy Agerbeck I was reminded how much thought and process goes into a Graphic Facilitation project.

Brandy called it “Beaker Brains” and there are 12 different areas that need to be considered throughout the whole process.

1.  YOU

This is your focus and your confidence If these things inside you have not been addressed you are going to be fumbling or rushing to get ready for the project and more than likely you are going to make mistakes. Get yourself ready, get focused on the project and do whatever you need to do to be confident for the project ahead.

2. Environment and Content

You need to make sure that the environment that your going in to is just perfect for you and the graphic project that you are doing. Is the room too hot, too cold, too small, too big, where are you and your graphic boards going to be? Will everyone be able to see the image.

You also need to have a good idea on what the content on the day is going to be. Graphic Facilitators are not professionals in every subject so it is a good idea to get presentations and any prep work over way before the event so you can research and draft some ideas up.

Having the content will also help you set your paper up for the day.

3. Materials

Do you have the right paper and pens? Are they all filled up and ready to go? Have you forgotten to bring anything with you?

You should make a checklist and go through all your kit before leaving for the project. You will then be ready to face the day.

4. Listening

As a Graphic Facilitator your main role other than drawing is to listen. Listening to what is happening in the room, the conversations that are flowing. If you are not prepared and not focused you will struggle to hear the conversation.

On the Paper

5.Distiling (What to keep and what to throw)

When listening to the conversations you then need to decide what is a key piece of information and what isn’t. What you need to keep on the graphic and what you need to throw. Sometimes you may just stand and listen for a little moment until you hear the nuggets that need to be kept.

6. Placement

Where should things be placed on the graphic? Personally, I usually have a template set out for the day ahead (Granted there are always last minute changes)

7. Connections

Like placement you need to consider connections in information. Where on the graphic and how on the graphic are you going to represent a connection? Would it be colour? Where is it placed? The shape it is in?

8. Colours

Another thing to consider is the colours on the Graphic, are you going to use lots of colours or are you going to choose a set amount of complimenting colours?

I usually use 3 colours, either three that are complimentary of one another or one colour in three different shades.

Brandy also promotes the trio and says that too many colours remind her of “Clown Barf”.

“Using colour a lot Vs using a lot of colours”

9. Imagery

After then capturing the content, you need to then decide what images you are going to use, are you going to create a big image to represent the content as a whole or are you going to draw an image for each piece of content?

10. Size and Scale

How big or how small are you going to be drawing, you need to think of the people at the back of the room but also don’t want to take up all the space because you need the room for the rest of the events content.

11. Composition

With all the ingredients in a graphic how are you going to present it as a whole?

12. Flow and Direction

Which direction is the graphic going to flow in? Usually in writing it is from left to right, top to bottom but if you turn the page landscape you have so much more room for the flow of the conversation.


It is so much more…

Like I said before Graphic Facilitation is so much more than JUST drawing.

After a long day graphic facilitating, I know I have done so much more than just draw. I feel like my brain power comes to a standstill and doesn’t have much room for many other things. My whole body is tired from standing and kneeling all day too.

With hands covered in ink and pastel, I know that it is much more than just drawing.

Want to try graphic facilitation yourself?

Get in touch, we have upcoming courses in person available as well as our e-learning.

If you know a group of people who would like to train in Graphic Facilitation, we also do group bookings too.

Get in touch!