You speak, I draw: Graphic Facilitation and Visual Recording


WELCOME to the O’k Art-part of my CSA offerings!

Winter is coming..2020/21

Now taking reservations to assist you with my visual graphic recording and facilitation services and sharing information with you about what I’ve been doing for many years as a visual thinker and artist.

I like to draw out ideas, stories and pictures, and I am a visual/spatial thinker–which means drawing is my main language. I’m also an art and permaculture educator and I like to help people understand whole system design and how-to make meaning in a nature-mimicking, integrated, inclusive way. Through the language of lines I create charts, graphs and maps: a form of visual note-taking which is paired with a speaker or presenter, who may be more of an auditory/sequential thinker.

My very O’k drawing service provides:

  • Exercises for your brain! Which will improve understanding of what you wish to learn/design/implement—connecting verbal to visual material.
  • Helps you understand difficult terms/concepts better and filter out un-important details.
  • Directs and organizes the flow and relationships of shared discussions, new skills, and lessons you are trying to learn.
  • Visual note-taking and recording organizes thoughts, spots trends, illustrates patterns and allows you to see a natural picture of data you need to examine.

ABOVE: Two very quick realtime graphics from a virtual gathering with We The People Michigan, Summer 2020.
Detail of some of the organizational partners of the Bionutrient Food Association, depicted as carrots….from the Soil and Nutrition Conference 2018.
Below are samples of wall charts or maps of a 72 hour Permaculture Design Course, at the Blue Sky Farm 2018 Permaculture Design Course in Montague, Michigan. This was an exciting and challenging recording adventure for me, with a daily task (for 2 weeks) of synthesizing a LARGE amount of content for each lesson module.

FOR INFORMATION on bringing my drawing services and visual note-taking to your meeting, discussion or conference contact:

[email protected]


Permaculture with Children, an invitation for PDC students to share their regenerative education and design practice with children and youth.
Introduction of Permaculture chart….emphasizing obse(r)vation.
Cooperative Economics, Money and Financial Systems, w. Levi Meeuwenberg
Villages and Neighborhoods, The Hope and the Results
O’k Art: Visual Note-taking and Graphic Facilitation
November 2020—

Wow–I’ve been offering Visual Note-taking and GR for 11 years!

Graphic facilitation is the practice of using words and images to create a conceptual map of a conversation. A graphic facilitator is the visual, usually silent partner to the traditional, verbal facilitator, drawing a large scale image at the front (or side) of the room in real-time. In business terms, it is both process and product. In art-speak, I call it multi-functional art.

Watching the visual note-taker/graphic recorder (sometimes accompanied by a facilitator) create the map or illustration as the group speaks is highly experiential and immediate. It focuses the group as they work, aiding concentration by capturing and organizing their ideas. Everyone can watch their ideas take shape; the manifestation is most resonant with the visual, spatial and systematic thinkers in the group, but it’s a powerful tool of recognition for everyone.

After the event, the map or illustration becomes a document; evidence of the meeting’s progress and direction. This resulting conceptual map is an engaging and meaningful tool, because the audience watched its creation in relationship to their experience. Images being emotional and subjective, participants can interpret the image and recall their own “Aha!” moments.

Most graphic recording occurs around these kinds of questions-seeking-solution presentations: Where are we going and how are we going to get there? How can we see the big picture?

I worked with two others as a team of recorders at this 2.5 day conference; Matt Orley and Sarah Wood.
The Digerati Girls
How to Develop Computational Thinking
My background is fine-arts (painting) and illustration and design, with a brain that thinks in an ecologically-influenced, permaculture design process way.

I’ve used graphics to create grounding images or illustrations to begin gathering group-mind, to create a visual-planning synthesis, make connections, and to find patterns. My work as a free-lance artist and non-profit directress has been for 20 wonder-filled and adventurous years, a place of truth and passion. My graphic facilitation/recording is not 100% capture—it’s an illustration and mapping system with individual points being connected, integrated and illustrated, sometimes with words, sometimes with only images.

My style is more like a cartooned, conceptual map of ideas, conversations and presentations—many times based around conversations and complex problems. These are illustrations or maps of the convo/presentation created in real time—while listening and minds are digesting spoken wordage—with the end result being able to see what’s being said.


  • I need to talk to the facilitator/presenter/speaker and know the objectives and agenda—ideally maybe a short, (maybe 20-30 minutes) context setting conversation, covering the objectives.
  • Illustrations, Maps, charts, recordings drawn on 3-4′ X 8′ white paper.
  • Drawn it in black marker, sketch notes, color applied afterwards.
  • Set up the room so that the most people can see me drawing, left or right of the speaker.
  • Being on a side-wall is fine too, but it cuts me off from more of the room, and to an extent the goal of visual facilitation.
  • If the presenter or speaker is worried about me being a distraction, remember: my aim is to be transparent and what I’m drawing is in service to the group and their content.
  • If at all, I only kindly draw caricatures and NO cheap jokes at the speaker’s expense.
  • If the speaker is showing a presentation (power-point), that’s when I may be a distraction. However, I know how to wear an invisible cloak and still do a great job.
  • I do need to be close enough to the presenter/facilitator to hear them clearly.
  • I may use a small recording device to tape the presentation.
  • In large groups/rooms it may be helpful to have a videographer and a screen, or me on a platform.
  • Sometimes I invite people to join me in the coloring in of large-scale illustrations. People can also check out the drawings during breaks and after the event.

General Q/A, info and what-fors about me:

  • Travel?
    Yes. I would like to arrive the day before to start set-up and last minute meetings if need be.
  • International travel?
    Yes. My day-rate is 50% higher and I’m only fluent in English and line-language (drawing).
  • Charge for travel time?
    No, unless it is across the country and I’m peddling my bike and pulling my cart. However, if there is a time change involved, I need time to adjust to that and be focused and clear-headed for the event.
  • Last minute requests, as in TOMORROW:
    I may be able to accommodate last minute requests. Contact me and I’ll respond if I’m available. I would prep a contract and deposit invoice and get it to you ASAP. As long as I have a signed contract and the deposit before the event, I’ll be ready to draw.
  • Contracting and services charged:
    I charge a day-rate, plus expenses. At this point I don’t charge for travel time. If I’m traveling great distances—over 150 miles, I’ll need to negotiate that. You can contact me to discuss needs and my rates.
  • Typical expenses:
    Travel, hotel, meals and materials. Materials can run between $50 to $500 for a one or two day event depending on your needs.  Truly, I can do a whole lot for $50 w.  paper, tape, markers, paint. A variable cost is having a flat wall—with no sconces, thermostats, wains-coating, etc… It needs to be big enough to tape up a 4′ X 8″ piece of paper.

Re-cap of what-fors:

I need a deposit and signed contract to show up and do my work. I don’t do pro-bono, or have a non-profit rate.

Generally, when offering this type of service, I work full days. I’ve learned that shorter meetings often turn into grueling nonstop marathons, more exhausting than full-days which have time to ebb and flow. Finish work after a presentation, can take up to or equal to another half-day of work. If I’m working a full conference day, I need a lunch break to take a breath and mentally switch gears.

I’m happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement, although I assume that my work is internal, confidential, and may have sensitive content. I don’t reproduce or publish event images without the client’s permission.

Review of what you get:

  1. My real-time graphic facilitation/recording skills
  2. The experience that comes with: a life-time of drawing and line-language (50+ years) and 5+ years of various, focused-modes of graphic recording/facilitation experience.
  3. All of the original drawings from the event/session.
  4. Potential for large-resolution JPEG versions of the drawings (contingent on the onsite lighting and availability of equipment).

Depending on the finished art and detail of the maps, at the end of the event (or within 48 hours, depending on need for finish work) I’ll hand you the drawings, labeled and ready to go, and send you the JPEGs. I recommend that you share the digital images with every participant as soon as possible.

PLEASE, remember the charts are great working documents for the people who particpated in the event, to explain what they’ve accomplished with others. Using the maps to guide others through the process is great, but they likely won’t work as a stand-alone document. A big part of the image is the experience of being there and watching it being built, while being a part of the conversation and presentation. They are experiential and don’t have the same meaning to those who were not in the room.

What I’m not: a whiteboard videographer, a stenographer, a courtroom artist, or a product concept illustrator.

I also have experience in: painting, design, caricature, graphic noveling, cartooning, and storyboarding. So you will see some of these styles in my graphic recording and facilitation techniques.

Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost Company
MORE on my background:

Very influenced in childhood by Captain Kangaroo’s Magic Drawing Board, I began my “line-language” journey as an artist in kindergarten. In addition to mentorships and apprenticing opportunities as a self-learner, I went to LCC in Lansing, Michigan and have four years of training in Fine Art-painting, and Illustration and Design. I also have been trained as a Permaculture Design Consultant and certified as a Permaculture Teacher/Mentor.

Many of my colleagues come from art, environmental education, consulting and organizational and whole-system development, and the permaculture network spreading throughout the planet. I’m an artist that enjoys creating ecological, paradigm-shifting, designed systems on paper through mapping and pattern recognition—helping people navigate the confusing, complex world around us.

Contact info:
Penny O’Krebiehl
[email protected]