How to Graffiti Walls at Work…Legitimately

A few years ago I went to course on how to draw.

Yep, how to make really pretty pictures…. For my job.

I am forever doodling, always drawing out concepts at work. Give me a whiteboard or a sketch pad and I would eagerly draw you up a concept rather than write words. Previously, I would be in meetings and I would draw things while my colleagues would be writing beautifully neat lists of words, actions and following the lines in the book capturing the brief in all its details. I would usually cover up my pictures, feeling a bit embarrassed. I am supposed to be a serious professional, with work ethic and discipline – but my notepads were much more kindred to a kid’s art book. I felt this way until I stumbled across a whole industry that takes doodling seriously!


step drawing

When I went to this course I was filled with mixed emotions – firstly self-doubt “I really don’t know how to draw” but the facilitator was awesome – she created images, neat and laid out beautifully. It was amazing to watch! She was able to break down the imagery into simple shapes and it started to come easier for me. I can draw a triangle, a square, a circle. In combination, you can make a clock, an arrow, a cloud and a tree. It felt pretty good afterwards!

I tried to embed this in my practice, but I started to get carried away with life – busy at work and then my son came along and I started to lose my interest in just plain doodling…

Drawing on notebookThen I was invited back by one of my dear clients Kate Peardon (shameless promotion of you Kate..) from Wiley & Co. Gush moment – this company is all about innovation, people and culture at its finest and is a very generous business. Kate offered me to sit in on a workshop for a full day to learn the art of graphic facilitation. It was great experience and revitalised my passion for drawing! Now I really have a shared goal with my son (now 2 years old) of drawing and doodling!

I seized the opportunity to work with my team to bring this back into Left Field in a serious way and I am happy to report we have done a few things:

1. Group Coaching sessions at QSuper – I used my sketch drawings as a way to introduce complex issues of leadership in a graphic facilitations way.


2. Team Sessions at the University of Queensland – we used the team sessions to sketch out what the team wants for their future and create a road map for success.

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From my recent experiences in the workplace this is what I know about hand-drawn images and how powerful it is in the workplace:

1. Go old-school: by going “analogue" people are more likely to engage and connect with the content. Hands up anyone who feels slightly over seeing PowerPoints?! Yep, everyone…!  Flip charts, coloured pens are coming back stronger than ever.



Ladies and Gents2. Pictures plus words work: a great picture coupled with strong words is meaningful and it really resonates in our brains. We can recall it better – think of trying to find the bathroom – it is powerful seeing the image of Woman or Man with the words below. We instinctively know what it means – not matter what country we are in. Images do not work on their own and words alone can be too draining for our brain to capture. Therefore, we need both.



journey pathway drawing

3. Hand drawn: Left Field is a bit of a victim of this – we are in an icon-boom, think of all the info-graphics at the moment. And at work we have a whole glossary of them, but an icon that we drew personally creates a connection and authenticity to our audience. People seem to like it and more importantly, learn from it – creating a deeper connection.

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Talk to us about how we use Graphic Facilitation in our workshops and training!



- Kelly Maniatis -

Managing Director