Drawing out ideas, large-scale and in real-time

For Graphic Recording

Resources For Graphic Recording

Jeannel King in the process of creating a graphic recording


Want to pick up the pen, but you’re not feeling all that confident?  Here are some great books to bolster your confidence (because you can totally DO it!):

Beyond Words: A Guide to Drawing Out Ideas, by Milly Sonneman.  (I love this book!)

If you want a practical-yet-definitive guide to how graphic facilitation is done in the real world, or if you simply want to look inside the brain of a graphic facilitation rock star to build your skills, then THIS is the book you must get:

The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide:  How to use your listening, thinking and drawing skills to make meaning, by Brandy “The Draw” Agerbeck

It may say “graphic facilitator” in the title, but this book is really walking you through the process of creating a graphic recording.  It’s a great resource, and Brandy knows her stuff!

What You Draw Is Good Enough, a FREE eBook by Jeannel King.  (Hey, that’s me!)

If you’d like to pick up the pen but think that you can’t draw, then this is the place to start.  One part inspiration, one part motivation, and one part helpful hints, this short eBook is not about showing you how to draw… as much as it’s about showing you why what you can already draw is good enough!



Ready to try your hand at the big paper, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on stuff?  Go to your local art or office supply store and pick up the following items:



Feeling like you’re ready to drop some cash to upgrade your tools?  Time for you to go to your local art supply store!

(Tools are a personal thing.  I’ll share some of the ones I enjoy, but really you’ll need to play with different supplies and see which ones work best for you!)

My bag of tricks usually includes a variety of:

  • Neuland markers in a rainbow of colors, and variety of sizes (my hands-down favorites… non-toxic and refillable)
  • Pan Pastels, just to get jiggy and have more fun with color!  They are easy to apply, very low dust, and have lots of vivid-yet-blendable colors.

When I can’t wait for my order to arrive from overseas, I turn to these pens:

  • Tombow dual brush pens for shadows and accents
  • Copic sketch and wide markers (they provide a wider array of colors, and are also refillable.  However, because they are permanent they do have fumes… lots of fumes.  Plus they bleed through, so be careful!)
  • Charters markers (non-toxic, but extremely limited colors)
  • Sharpie Flip Chart Markers (okay, those are really for others to use during an event!)  They tend not to bleed through your paper, and they’re generally available at your local office supply shop.

Plus, always be sure to have these on-hand:

  • White address labels.  It’s the graphic facilitator’s “white-out!”  (Hint – there are two different kinds of white address labels… those with a white backing and those with a gray/silver backing.  The gray/silver backing actually blocks out anything that may have been written underneath the label… important if you are going to be re-covering that area with a lighter color!)



If you want to try your hand at digital graphic recordings via tablet, here are some great resources for you to check out:

  • Visual Notes on the iPad, by Rachel Smith.  Rachel was one of the first people to use digital tablets for visual notes and graphic recordings.  She’s the one who inspired me to pick up the iPad and go digital.
  • Sketchbook Pro App for iPad.  Yes, I’m a Mac user.  I LIVE on this app!  It provides the ability to work with layers, plus the color kit includes a Copic palate selection… which nicely compliment work done with my  my Copic markers.



The book, How To Make Meetings Work, by Doyle and Strauss, is one of the first business books to recommend including a dedicated “recorder” for effective meetings.  However, their suggestion was to have this person work on flip-chart-sized paper.  It took others in the 1980’s, like David Sibbet, to see the potential of going big as a graphic recorder.  Sibbet was one of the first to utilize HUGE paper (like the 48″ rolls of paper we use today) to visualize ideas and conversations in real time.

For a terrific – and comprehensive – history of the evolution of graphic recording, I’d recommend reading Christina Merkeley’s article, The History and Evolution of the Graphic Facilitation/Recording Field.


In this line of work, wall space is critical.  So is protecting your client’s walls.  Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get creative and make your own wall space on which to graphically record and facilitate.

– Foam core boards

– Insulation sheets

– table backs

– glass walls

– windows

– plexiglass

– etc.

The thing to keep in mind is the size of your recording, and your ability to reach the recording space.  For example, a room may have a 4′ x 8′ space on the wall for hanging your graphic recording, but it may have a giant bar or counter in front of it, making it hard to reach.


GIMP – The GNU Image Manipulation Program. This open source software is the only photo-editing program I really use.  It has much of the same functionality as PhotoShop, and it’s free.

DropBox.com.  This cloud-based program allows me to set up files for each project and drop the digital graphic recording images there for sharing with my clients.


International Forum of Visual Practitioners: The IFVP is THE professional member organization for graphic recorders and visual meeting facilitators.  If you’re looking for your Tribe, this is the group to join.  (And I’m not just the president… I’m also a member!)

There are lots of other tools and resources out there, of course.  If you’ve got a specific question, or would like to do a deeper dive into resources for graphic recording, feel free to contact me!