The power of drawing BIG!

I first learnt about graphic facilitation when I did a course on Person Centred Planning back in 2002. The trainers had enormous pieces of paper on the wall and they were really working those markers.

‘Wow’, I thought, ‘That looks…terrifying!’

I loved art as a child and always kept my drawings small and neat. I would only reveal them to my teachers and classmates when they were ‘finished’.

The thought of standing up by a wall and drawing BIG as other people looked on filled me with dread.

Some years later when Kate asked me to co-deliver a course on Person Centred Planning with her I said ‘Absolutely. But there’s no way I’m doing the drawing bit!’

I’m happy to say I overcame my fear of drawing big and now embrace it at every opportunity.

In fact I recently created a ‘studio’ in my flat, where one wall in my living room is covered in enormous paper for the sheer pleasure of drawing big when the mood takes me (i.e. every day).

So what are the benefits of drawing BIG? Why do I love it so much? Here are my top three reasons:

1. It works as a very powerful visioning tool. Have you ever written out your goals on a piece of paper, put the piece of paper in a drawer and never took it out again? When you draw your vision BIG it becomes more real. I see this often with my own visions, and also when I am doing visioning work with coaching clients or groups. It really does feel different when visions are drawn big, and particularly if they are left up on the wall as a constant reminder.

2. Drawing big also helps us to think big. With all that space our mind starts to expand, to find new solutions to problems, to be creative.

3. It’s ‘not allowed’. I don’t know about you but when I was growing up I wasn’t allowed to draw on the walls. Drawing on walls was a ‘bad thing’! It’s perhaps for that reason that drawing (on paper) on the walls feels incredibly liberating.

And did I mention it’s tremendous fun?
Give it a go yourself. Don’t wait until you have the ‘right’ size wall or the ‘right’ paper. A piece of flip chart on the back of a door is a good start.

And if you’re keen to explore the power of drawing big in a fun, safe environment do join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics on September 5th. Book now >>

To your success,


What a difference a doodle makes

‘Oh, oh, oh it’s a cloud with legs!’ Everyone in the room collapsed with laughter. It was the inaugural graphics open course and I was beginning to remember why I love this work so much.

Humour isn’t the only great thing about hand drawn graphics and cartoons. The playful
element also plays a key role in how we process and absorb information. Far from being silly or childish there are strong benefits to working with people using visuals. These include…

  • First and foremost over 80% of us are visual thinkers. This means we find it much easier to absorb information from pictures than from words alone. If you are in the business of conveying, sharing or imparting information then the experience will undoubtedly be enhanced by the use of visuals.
  • Visuals (especially hand drawn graphics) are low tech. Oh, how wonderful in this tech saturated world! You can use them anytime, any place, anywhere. Cavemen drew pictures on the insides of their caves; we can use similar tools and processes today to convey meaning in an effective and powerful way.
  • Visuals are memorable. I will never forget that cloud with legs (sheep).
  • As the name of our course suggests you can use visuals to draw out ideas, to capture key themes and concepts. Training courses, events, planning sessions and coaching conversations all benefit enormously from the use of visuals.
  • Visuals are engaging and lively. They spark creativity, increase participation and act as a basis for discussion.
  • Visuals can be used to express complex ideas simply. They can tell a story far more effectively than powerpoint slides or dense blocks of text.

One of the best things about creating visual information is that you neither have to be a graphic designer nor have a degree in art. Creating hand drawn visuals is a skill that can be learnt.

And as I stated at the beginning of this piece it is also enormous fun. As a trainer I often see how fun and laughter has a positive impact on the learning experience, raising energy levels and creating an experience worth sharing. What is there to lose?!

Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics on September 5th 2017 to find out for yourself!