Secrets of Simple Graphics

Communicate with impact using the power of hand drawn visuals



A one day open course for trainers, facilitators and presenters

*New dates for 2019*

Graphic Faciliation Training, Open Course , Edinburgh

Are you :

  • looking for fresh, innovative ways to get your message across?
  • struggling to engage people at meetings and workshops?
  • finding it difficult to get buy in for your ideas?
  • fed up with the same old PowerPoint slides and boring flipcharts?
  • wanting to improve communication and engagement with those around you?

It’s time to end ‘death by Powerpoint’!

Hand drawn visuals are a unique and captivating way to transform how you communicate with others. Here are just some of the benefits:


  • Enhance engagement and participation in your meetings and workshopspushpiece
  • Boost learning for visual thinkers (over 80% of people)
  • Increase group memory
  • Bring colour, fun and energy into your work with groups
  • Liven up written documents and reports with custom illustrations
  • Stand out and get noticed for what you do
The course was fantastic – really inspiring and instilled confidence that you can use graphics in your own workplace – no matter what your intended audience.
Alison Marron

Solicitor, Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

Discover the secrets of simple graphics and learn…


  • The ‘building blocks’ of graphics – lettering, people, icons, text containers and more
  • How to draw quickly and easily (even if you currently find stick men challenging)
  • How to build your own icon library
  • The four main ways of working visuallyIMG_2488
  • The difference between graphic recording and graphic facilitation (and when to use each)
  • How to create a visual record
  • How to design a one page visual for presentations and murals
  • Different visual formats
  • How to create your own graphic templates
  • How to add a graphic twist to traditional icebreakers and energisers
  • Tons of ideas for your next presentation, workshop or training session
Thanks again for undoubtedly the most fun CPD course I have ever attended! I really appreciated: that you got us all involved right from the start by asking us how the workshop should operate; the opportunity to practise new skills as we learned them; and to work together and share so much with fellow coursemates. I will most definitely be ‘borrowing’ facilitation ideas for the future too. The graphics library, skills and confidence developed in just one day will be put to good use in my role as training officer for Scotland’s Urban Past and in my volunteering activities. In fact, I’m on duty this week as run director at Victoria parkrun Glasgow and have made an ‘infodoodle’ to help our volunteer recruitment on Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully the runners and volunteers will understand and like it! All the best and many thanks again for a top day – I have rediscovered my drawing mojo!
Dr Nicky Imrie

Training Officer, Scotland's Urban Past

Meet Your Trainer:

Green doodle curly whirly

emer1-cutoutwarm200xAn enthusiastic trainer and graphic facilitator, Emer is passionate about using visuals in all aspects of her work to draw out ideas, boost learning, and increase participation.

She believes that the power of visuals helps not only to create an engaging and creative learning environment, but also helps groups and organisations get their message across in a captivating and effective way.

This really isn’t about art!

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  • Absolutely anyone can build up the skills required to create graphics. It’s amazing how quickly confidence and ability increases once the foundations of good graphics are learned and practiced.
  • The training is inclusive, interactive and fun.
  • A safe and relaxed environment is created to support your learning and give you the opportunity to practice your new skills as you learn them.

No experience is required. If you haven’t drawn a stick man since you were in primary school that’s probably an advantage.

This workshop was fun, engaging and built confidence in my abilities to facilitate groups using graphics. I started the day convinced I couldn’t draw, but using the techniques, hint and tips Emer gave throughout the day I am now raring to go and run a session!
Fiona Dee

Organisational Development Business Partner, Midlothian Council

By the end of the course you will:

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  • Feel confident about creating your own graphics
  • Understand how to use graphics in a variety of contexts
  • Have loads of ideas for your next presentation, meeting or workshop
  • Be hooked on the joys of working visually

When and Where:

Friday, 26th April 2019 Edinburgh Conference and Training Venue, 16 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SU

Friday 27th September 2019 Edinburgh Conference and Training Venue, 16 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SU

The course runs from 10am – 4pm with 45 minutes for lunch. Your place includes a cooked breakfast of your choosing before the course starts plus a three course lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Vegan, vegetarian and other dietary options available.

Your investment:

£299 (Standard)

£259 (Early Bird)

*Bonus Gifts*

  1.  Brand new resource pack
  2. A set of Neuland refillable markers for each delegate
  3. 4 week online training follow up programme following the course (in association with Practify – online gamification training follow up tool!)

**New dates for 2019**

Friday 26th April - Early bird pricing £259 increases to £299 on 27th March 2019


Friday 27th September - Early bird pricing £259 increases to £299 on 26th August 2019



Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue, 16 St Mary's Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SU View Map

What people are saying:

This workshop was fun, engaging and built confidence in my abilities to facilitate groups using graphics. I started the day convinced I couldn’t draw, but using the techniques, hint and tips Emer gave throughout the day I am now raring to go and run a session!
Fiona Dee

Organisational Development Business Partner, Midlothian Council

Graphic Facilitation is a very engaging way to work with groups of people in a workshop or meeting setting. Emer O’Leary is a fantastic trainer who is very passionate about this. The pace of training over two days was just right, covering basic Graphic Facilitation techniques. If you are considering Graphic Facilitation as an option I’d definitely recommend Emer as a trainer
Kathleen McLoughlin

Programme Manager change & Development, The Improvement Service

Fun, energetic, well-paced, interactive with much supportive learning, Emer’s practical workshop has inspired me to unashamedly introduce graphics to my workshops.

Emer gently challenged and cajoled the lively group to try it out for ourselves and experiment with drawing and colouring techniques.  I also enjoyed taking away the Mindful Focus on Palm exercise which I have used with delegates since Emer’s workshop.

I felt Emer was very inclusive with the group and dealt with the more vocal delegates calmly, encouraging the quieter delegates to feel included and listened to.  I loved the simplicity of pen on paper and have noticed how effective that is becoming for me.

All in all, I recommend this workshop to inspire creative training; note taking and to challenge people to stretch out with those self-defined comfort zones!

Eimear Stassin

Training Consultant, Standard Life

Emer is great to work with. She has been delivering [Secrets of Simple Graphics] training for PBB Transformation since September 2015. This training involves the use of hand drawn graphics for facilitation and presentation purposes. We had identified a strong need to equip team members with new and innovative ways of communicating and presenting their work. Emer designed a course to perfectly meet these requirements. We get consistent positive feedback from delegates who enjoy both Emer’s facilitation style and the course content. Delegates get an opportunity to plan how to use graphics in their day to day communication. This has worked well in terms future planning and embedding the learning in the workplace. I would not hesitate to recommend Emer’s services for organisations seeking to explore visual ways of working.

Andrea Mosey

Capability Manager, Transformation, PBB Services , Royal Bank of Scotland

Emer’s training is really good and has inspired staff to look at things differently in meetings and development sessions. We are using graphic facilitation with schools and nurseries to engage staff and parents in improvement planning and when developing visions and aims.

The graphic displays help to make it accessible to parents and young people and provides opportunities for the work to be added to in the future to record progress.

It has helped us to move on from a ‘death by Powerpoint’ culture!

Jane Mason

Early Years Learning Officer, Early Years Team, Fife Council

Thanks so much for a fantastic workshop – never has time flown so much on a training course before from having so much fun! All the exercises were really enjoyable and were a great way to try out using graphics and cartoons. I came away from the day with a lot more confidence for doing graphic facilitation and I am looking forward to putting my new skills into practice in the workplace.

Sarah Taylor

Learning and Development Adviser, City of Edinburgh Council

Thank you for a really fun course, packed with tips. It was really well structured to enable participants of varying confidence to start or develop their visual practice. Now I’m using graphics much more fluently and frequently; on notes to myself, training materials, and everything in between.

Jenni Inglis


The most fun I have had at a training event in as long as I can remember.  Not only that, I took away skills and activities that I could actively introduce into my presentations and group work with both young and older people.  Highly recommended for anyone looking to make their flip charts that bit more exciting!

Ryan MacKay

Old's Cool Development Worker, Citadel Youth Centre

This is a very interactive course that stands alone in anything I have seen available in the world of graphics for the workplace.  For anyone looking to challenge typical meetings and the standard approach to recording information, this is for you!
James Mair

Talent Development Consultant, Scottish Government

A great course!  Despite my initial trepidation, I now feel more confident about using graphics with my clients.  Emer’s patience and pragmatism meant that all of us on the course learned a lot, were able to practice in a safe environment and now have the tools and techniques to apply our learning back in the “real world”.

Rachel Letby

Crail Consulting

I really enjoyed this training day. I had hoped that it would educate me about how graphics could be used in my work, particularly with reference to illustrating reports and explaining data to mixed audiences and I was not disappointed. I left the course feeling more confident about how I could incorporate drawing and graphics into my work in different ways.

Helen Rice


I really enjoyed the session: the creative activities, the facilitation style and the innovative and safe environment were just perfect! I also learned a lot of new techniques and loved the group exercises! The right balance between theory and practice!

Giulia Lucchini

Learning and Development Adviser, City of Edinburgh Council

I really enjoyed the course – it was fun, safe and inspiring.  I always enjoy exploring different facilitation techniques which can help me respond to and support people appropriately in new and interesting ways.  This course definitely added to my repertoire and it was wonderful to use a different bit of my brain! I have recommended the course to my colleagues and we might be looking for some in-house input one day.

Martha Lester-Cribb

Evaluation Support Manager, Evaluation Support Scotland

Thank you for a valuable, fun filled and entertaining day. I have learned so much and will use my new found skills on a daily basis at work.  I am already thinking in pictures.  I would love to have spent longer with you and the group and I think you have a lot more to share.

Lynne Brown

Revalidation Administrator, Learning Centre, Forth Valley Royal Hospital

Was a great day of experiencing the joy and fun of incorporating graphics into my workaday environment. A breath of fresh air in a very word oriented world!

Tony Young

Voices Scotland Trainer, Chest, Heart, Stroke Scotland

I really enjoyed the chance to do something creative.  I have already mentioned the course to a few colleagues and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.  Whilst I came along thinking mainly about using the techniques for facilitation or recording with project groups, I left with ideas around using graphics internally as a planning tool and to help inject energy to team meetings.  My daughter loved the star people I showed her and is now drawing them too.  The list is endless!

Diane Wilson

Programme Development Officer, Voluntary Action Fund

For more information or to book this course in-house for your organisation contact Emer directly on or on 0131 226 1637