Jimmy patch
Creative Thinking and Storytelling




Well what is it? Graphic facilitation, graphic recording or scribing? Really, it's all the same thing. The aim of graphic facilitation is to put a live conversation, presentation or concept into visual form, so I should probably start by showing you a visual example..

This is a live graphical capture from a presentation on dyslexia by Learnersaurus.

This is a live graphical capture from a presentation on dyslexia by Learnersaurus.

The Breakdown

To break it down easily, it's all in the title; Graphic Facilitation. Let's start with the graphics. The graphic facilitator is required to have a mental bank of images that is constantly upgraded and developed based on their own inspiration and the inspiration that surrounds them. What these images and icons do is tie in with the words to help present an idea. How often an artists uses drawings to communicate the message in their work is at their own discretion. On one hand, a graphic facilitator can build out an entire drawing based graphic that is completely tied into an over arching theme, using the words to help clarify the message. On the other hand they can use fonts and a higher level of word content to take the stage, using a small amount of graphics to assist.

This work uses wording to create an over arching theme.

This work uses wording to create an over arching theme.

One big part of the process, not surprisingly, is graphical skill. A graphic facilitator needs a high level of drawing ability, this is not only to ensure the quality of images, but also the speed of delivery. This comes down to practise, constant skill development, research and general talent. Live graphic facilitation happens fast. Really fast. And a graphic facilitator has to gather as much content as they can and present it in a clear, neat and engaging way. In real time. Once this skill has been mastered, it becomes a fluid process for the artist and helps to deliver an effective product for the client and audience.

Now the facilitation part. This is where words and concepts become an engaging visual. A graphic facilitator delves deeper than just the the images, their goal is to take the information provided and present it back through their unique view. As a third party to the content discussed or presented, a graphic facilitator takes the information and presents it in there own way, providing a new perspective and opportunity to see things in a new light. The concept of 'explain it to your grandmother', is constantly in mind, a method that provides a higher perspective that can be communicated easily. It assists those involved in creating the concept, to re-evaluate what they are trying to say and trim the fat.

A graphic facilitator works with the client in the lead up to understand the objectives of the session, the running times of the session, who is presenting and what the capture expectations are. With all of this preparation, the pressure and workload truely lies on the live capture as that will provide the final outcome.

The Process

The logistics of how a graphic facilitator operates come down to the requirements of the session, how the artist prefers to work and budget. Some graphic artists prefer to record their capture digitally, some prefer to work on whiteboards and some prefer butcher's paper or something similar. Advances in digital art and technology have provided incredible opportunities in the graphic recording world. From Wacom technology right through to mobile options like the iPad Pro and apps like Procreate and Astropad have opened up a new world in digital, hand drawn capture. My preference today is using Procreate on an iPad Pro for both live capture and video output scribes.

The standard 'in the room' process order in graphic recording generally goes:

  1. Draw and capture the live conversation/presentation (digitally or whiteboard)
  2. Capture the graphic at the end of the conversation/presentation (using a high quality camera/save if digital)
  3. Clean using Adobe Suite (mostly Photoshop and Illustrator)
  4. Colour (this is done digitally using photoshop)
  5. Present to client for use in mail outs, presentations and large scale printing

This process takes an idea or concept and turns it into a high quality, high resolution image that a team can connect with for future reflection of the event. These ideas can be developed further into a rich picture or incorporated into an executive document. 

A digital option doesn't require the photograph capture element and colouring can generally be done in real time. This option also presents amazing opportunities in remote live streaming Graphic Recording.

This graphic was created during a creative arts event held in Brisbane.

This graphic was created during a creative arts event held in Brisbane.

In summary, graphic facilitation provides a live audience, a visual representation of what has been discussed. It provides an artefact of an event, a mark in time that others can connect with and share in the ideas of what happened at that time. The graphics engage a wide audience and aids those who might struggle to understand a concept.