Draw it Out is an online class that will show you how to create compelling visual notes with ease.

You’re great at what you do – working with clients or teams to make changes that matter. 

But – when you step up to the flip chart or whiteboard – your confidence wanes. You know that visual notes are a powerful tool to help with group process, but you're afraid your messy “chicken scratch” will detract from the session rather than support it.

You wonder, "How should I sort these ideas I’m hearing? What colors are best to use? How do I draw that model? And geez, can anyone read my handwriting?” And, you might hear your inner critic telling you, “Get real…you’re no artist!”

Ugh! That feels awful, and facilitating a session is hard enough without an inner dialogue pulling you out of the "zone." But wouldn’t it be great to stay in your sweet spot of deep listening and engagement while seamlessly capturing the group’s ideas? 

Watch Intro Video

What’s this online course about?

Here’s the Scoop!

It's totally doable!  I’ve taken my 20 years of experience as a professional note-taker (aka graphic facilitator) and distilled it down to the basic, most useful lessons to guide you in building rock solid skills.

This course is not about drawing lots of icons and scattering them on a page— it’s about the getting the foundational skills nailed so you can step up and become a visual meeting superstar! It’s time to defy that inner critic. Yes you can draw, and you can use that skill in service of making your meetings better!

Watch Intro Video

Got three minutes?

Take this free lesson on drawing circles!

What You’ll Learn in this course:

In this course you’ll learn how to draw shapes and lettering, so you can build these 3 most useful formats: the List, the Cluster Map and the Mind Map. To further guide you, I'll share the principles of design and color, so you'll never have to waste time again wondering what looks good!

We'll dive into:

— How to set up your workspace to practice, whether you’re working on large format paper, a flip chart, or small paper.

— Strategies to befriend your inner critic

— How to wrangle large format paper! (cutting, stacking, rolling) and how to manage tape like a pro

— The geeky secrets of a “body based” way to draw, so you can more accurately and confidently draw out:

  • Large and small format circles
  • Large and small format horizontal and vertical lines
  • Dotted lines, swoop lines, arches and banners
  • Basic shapes (boxes, clouds, circles) as “containers” for text

— How to write cleanly and quickly, understanding the secrets of the chisel tip marker

— Three simple ways to make chart titles, and how to give them presence on the page

— How to create the List, the Cluster Diagram, and the Mind Map (my three go-to formats), and when to use each format – depending on the type of conversation

— The Principle of Three & Elements of Design, useful for every chart you draw

— Rules to follow for picking color palettes that clarify, instead of confuse!

— How to draw common models such as SWOT, Venn, Target, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Iceberg, etc.

Ready to dive in?

With my guidance and a little practice, you’ll crush this!

Plus, I’ve made a bunch of worksheets and cheat sheets for you!

-Lettering Trace Sheet
-Pangrams for Lettering Practice
-Marker Insights
-Basic Shapes and Text Containers
-Step by Step: the Arch, Swoop and Banner
-Three Title Techniques
-Make Your Titles Pop! 
-Inner Critic Workbook

-The List Format: Step by Step + Examples
-The Cluster Format: Step by Step + Examples 
-The Mind Map Format: Step by Step + Examples  
-Rules of Color 
-Design Principles
-Sample Color Palettes to Copy
-Resource Guide to Supplies


Make a difference to the groups you lead!

Draw notes with confidence and clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are any of these segments live? Or is this 100% asynchronous?

This course is 100% asynchronous. You can learn at your own pace, and watch the videos wherever and whenever suits your schedule. Once you buy the course, you'll have access to the learning content for a full year.

We’re in this time of COVID. Everything is about digital connection! How are learning these “analog” skills even relevant now?

The COVID pandemic has of course forced us to discontinue our in person meetings. But the analog drawing skills I teach in this class can still be used to connect with others, or to clarify your own thoughts. Here's how:

1) All the principles I teach about the “how-tos” of drawing, the principles of design, proportion and color ––– equally apply whether you’re working on paper or taking notes on a Zoom whiteboard, or drawing on your iPad. 

2) Drawing on paper is STILL something we can do. You could capture notes on paper while you’re in a Zoom meeting, and afterwards send it out to your team by snapping a digital photo of it, or by using a scanning app (set for full color) on your phone. The imperfect, hand-drawn nature of your notes on paper will serve as a refreshing contrast to the overabundance of clip art and PowerPoint documents that  otherwise fill our screens.

3) Finally, you could think of this as a good time to practice, and step away from all that screen time. If you build your skills now, when you finally do get back in front of a group, you’ll be ready! You’ll be able to offer them more of your human presence, and support their conversations, because your drawing skills will be more automatic and integrated.

Why aren’t you including how to draw people and icons? Isn’t that what visual thinking is all about?

Icons are definitely an engaging and fun part of visual thinking, but they come later. (They’re the spice!) More fundamental is accurate, fast and clean capture of the group discussion that’s easy to read, has a hierarchy and an artistic flair. In this class, I’ll be teaching you the foundational skills of lettering, drawing and design that are 80% of what I use when I’m doing graphic facilitation for my clients.

The great news is the techniques you’ll learn in this class will be 100% applicable and will set you up for success wherever your visual practice takes you! How? Because every icon you’ll ever draw is composed of shapes and lines, and that’s what we’ll practice together. Even drawing your lettering will develop the hand/eye coordination that will make learning icons a snap! (and a lot less frustrating). And –– when you’re done with this class you’ll have some dang good looking charts to put those icons on!

I’m not a consultant. I’m a teacher / internal team lead / coach / sketchnoter …. Would this class still be relevant to me?

Yes, absolutely! Everything you’d learn in this class is completely transferable to the setting of a classroom, an office whiteboard or even working on your own in a sketchnote journal. The principles of clear lettering, good design, and using color to clarify are all the same no matter what your “content” is.

I don’t have a lot of time. How long will it take me to get through this course?

This is definitely a course where you can work at your own pace. There’s nearly 3 hours of video content in this class (2 hours, 40 minutes and 16 seconds to be exact!) broken into 35 individual lessons. The average video is just under 5 minutes long. So you can make progress even by watching and practicing 15 minutes per day!

I don’t have an artistic bone in my whole body...How would this course work for me?

No problem! You definitely don’t need to be an artist to be able to learn to draw these basic charts. These skills are about hand / eye coordination, and are completely teachable. They just take a bit of guidance, and some practice. If you can can sign your name, or write a grocery list, you’re artist enough! My favorite thing is to teach people the geeky secrets of how to draw.

There are lots of “body-based” techniques that I’ve successfully taught to many people who proclaimed “I can’t draw!” at the start of a workshop, and who ended the day saying, “Hey, I can draw!”

What if I decide this class was not the right purchase for me?

My commitment to you is a risk-free guarantee. I really believe in this course. If you try it out and find out that it doesn’t work for you, just let us know within thirty days and we’ll refund your money. Yep!

Are there options for groups?

I offer custom pricing for groups, non-profits and corporations. Please contact me for more details. 

Meet Your Online Course Instructor

As the founder and CEO of The Graphic Distillery, I've been a professional illustrator and graphic facilitator for twenty years. Before that, I was a graphic designer, and I'm passionate about making ideas clear and organized, so that groups can get their work done visually, together! I've taught these methods to hundreds of folks. 

This course is based on the many in-person workshops I've taught to people including consultants, mediators, teachers, government employees, software and UX designers and business school students.


I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in drawing for visual thinking either on their own or with their clients. Thanks to Emily, my inner creativity has been boosted! I learned how to skillfully draw lines, circles, and lettering, and how to arrange those into organized, clear flip charts! And, her positive energy makes this class a breeze…

-Olga A., Bay Area Coach / Mediator / Consultant


Emily is a great trainer and very enthusiastic about her topic. I loved how she made the process so accessible and fun! I got great new ideas and am inspired to use drawing as a tool to communicate ideas in a way that keeps my clients interested. I highly recommend her!
-Barbara L., Director of Organizational Effectiveness and Community Programs at a Community Resolution Center


Emily is a charismatic and engaging instructor. She breaks the art of drawing down into elements anyone can learn! And, she helps learners shake off hang-ups that prevent them from trying and improving their skills. I’d definitely recommend learning from her!
-Caroline F., Project Lead at a Human Centered Design Firm