Training new Graphic Facilitators from Vancouver to Inuvik

This October was all about training new visual facilitators! From Vancouver BC to Inuvik in the Arctic Circle, we helped new visual practitioners to blossom, uncover their gifts, bring their whole selves into graphic facilitation training – and help transform meetings one room at a time. 

Art is a way into healing and connection. Time and time again we know – and we feel – how graphic recording visuals help understanding, have capacity to hold emotion, enable people to feel heard. As practitioners, with this art, we can help bring more wholeness into our meetings. We are helpers. From a systems perspective, we are inseparable from what we change and heal. We too are changed.

graphic facilitation and graphic recording training workshop - someone drawing at the wall vancouver bc

Here’s a recap of some of our activities at our recent workshops! 

Visual Vocabulary

graphic facilitation training vancouver canada drawing decolonizing
Participants choose words draw – Inuvik workshop

We start with building a visual vocabulary – simple icons to make impact. So many people arrive believing they “can’t draw” – and then they leave with the tools to create clear, beautiful icons and graphic recordings. It doesn’t take a perfect drawing to share your thinking – and make your ideas visible. We can ALL do this. 

psychological safety visual brainstorm


Hands on Practice

graphic recording and graphic facilitation workshop vancouver bc Then after a few more lessons about structuring the page, layouts, and other building blocks of graphic recording, we shift into hands-on practice.  The type of teaching I do best is to demonstrate something small, then enable the conditions where people feel safe to try and learn. We try, debrief, iterate, and try again. 

Dez Loreen

Culture of Appreciation

Do you recognize that tiny voice of Compar-itis, or the voice of Not Good Enough, when you try something new? At Drawing Change trainings, instead of inviting perfectionism, we practice appreciation and gratitude towards ourselves and others. We write zillions of post-it notes of appreciation on each other’s first graphic recordings, to notice what works. 

graphic recording training workshop vancouver sam bradd

Listening might be even more important than drawing. To layer in this new skill, we scaffold success. We practice graphic recording in a variety of ways. One of the things that helps is setting an intention for ourselves, too. 

Jennie Vandermeer

Tools for Visual Facilitation

On Day 2, we shift into visual tools for visual facilitation. This is about designing the right visual processes for strategic planning, coaching, or curriculum development, etc. For example, we build templates for individual, group work, and graphic facilitation. 

Then, do you remember the feeling of a great meeting? We brainstorm ways to improve our meetings – by adding visuals in new ways. 

what works for meetings brainstorm


Lettering is always a hit – to bring your flip charts and visuals to the next level. We do at least five kinds of lettering styles, to build up chart clarity, readability, and creativity. 

There’s also lots of opportunity for co-developing the agenda, learning new resources and trends in the field, digital tools, and business skills (within an organization or as a consultant). In Vancouver, we also had a panel of practicing graphic recorders share their insights.

Reflection and Harvesting our Insights

We regularly pause for quick mini-harvests about how our learning is going so far. We also pause to adapt the agenda so people maximize their learning as much as possible.

Cultural Safety and Visuals 

Our Vancouver workshop invites Indigenous ways of knowing as much as possible, and holds conversations about working visually with cultural safety.

Elder Lillian Howard

Thank you Elder Lillian R. Howard for teachings and holding space for us in a circle to support a conversation about cultural safety and visuals.

Gratitude to fellow settlers and artists Adriana Contreras and Carina Nilsson for modelling why growing our capacity to locate ourselves, and talk about anti-Indigenous racism, is one of the most important conversations to have on unceded land right now.

In Inuvik, I heard from Indigenous folks how visual facilitation is a methodology for decolonizing/re-Indigenizing and working in a wide range of unique cultural contexts. It’s exciting to see how a new network of Northern visual practitioners emerging! 

change your perspective!

Keeping the Inspiration Going ….

One of the best parts about teaching is receiving spontaneous sketchnotes from students afterwards! Tamara Patton sent me this great summary.

We’re building new ways of being together.  Together, we are all drawing change. 

Want to join us? Our next public workshop will be October 5-7, 2020.

Join the mailing list to sign up early – or email me and I’ll email you personally when registration is open. 

Watch out world, there are some changemakers with markers out there now!

Adriana Contreras Graphic recorder Vancouver BC
Adriana has a Bikablo book – great resource

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