Fancy having a go at graphic facilitation? Make sure you have the right tools for the job!
Sourcing the right materials is key to your success as a graphic facilitator. It’s important to use materials that are easy to work with, effective and save time where possible. Here are my secret seven.
1. Markers. The night before an event I have a recurring nightmare that I’ve arrived to set up and I look in my kitbag only to realise I’ve forgotten my markers. There are some things you can do without, markers aren’t one of them. I have tried and tested many and my current favourites are *Neuland NoOnes. They are chisel tipped, non-permanent, come in a giddily satisfying range of colours and they are refillable. If you are in the UK you can purchase them via Pinpoint Facilitation. Outside the UK? Go to www.neuland.com. If you can’t get a hold of Neuland pens Berol Flipchart Markers (chisel tip) are also excellent. The colours are vibrant, they last well and they don’t bleed through the paper.
2. So once you’ve got your markers what’s the next thing you need? That’s right – paper. I get my 80g/m² 50m (3.5 ft deep) rolls from a company called Office Stationery. Generally speaking I work with cuts of paper that are 10ft long and 3.5ft deep. I’d love to source some 4ft deep paper so if you know of anywhere that sells it do let me know!
3. Pastels. Pastels are great for highlighting, though be warned, they don’t often photograph well. Make the colour deeper than it needs to be for better photography. Cheap chalk pastels work absolutely fine and last ages. I tend to get mine at Tiger or Ryman.
4. Packet of tissues (for smudging the pastels).
5. Masking tape. Don’t leave home without it. Again having tried many I’ve found that cheapest works well. I get mine at Poundland. Be warned however if you have heavier paper you may need heavier tape. I used to use masking tape from Greyfriar’s Art Shop here in Edinburgh which is nice and strong though you need scissors to cut it. With the cheaper tape you can simply rip off pieces with your hand no problem. This saves time – which is always of the essence.
6. A cutting knife with snap off blades. This is the easiest and quickest way to cut your paper. I got mine at Amazon. (Don’t make the mistake I made when I was starting out and get a box knife. It’s great for opening up boxes but really bad at cutting paper.)
7. ‘Mistake’ labels. Invest in some large white labels to use when you make a mistake. These are a godsend! I get ones called Blick self adhesive labels from Greyfriars Art Shop here in Edinburgh. Ordinary address labels also work wonderfully.
Other essentials you may wish to have in your toolkit include: post-it notes (of all shapes, sizes and colours), A4 paper, scissors, extra markers. Oh and don’t forget a bottle of water and a bag of cashew nuts (nourishment supplies essential).
Your local art shop is a great ally. I must give a special mention to Henderson’s Art Shop in Stockbridge, Edinburgh who once kept the shop open for me when I realised at 5.25pm the night before an event that my purple marker was running out. Thanks guys!
*By the way I don’t receive commission for mentioning any of these products or companies. Just hoping the list here will save you some time and effort.
If you’re just starting out with graphic facilitation and would like to try out my toolkit before investing in your own, why not join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics open course on September 5th 2017. Sign up here.