Visual thinking pioneer Brandy Agerbeck demystifies drawing so you can:
"We were having a conversation in the office about Fathers of institutions vs. Godfathers. George Washington is the "father of our country" but James Brown is the "godfather of soul"?
We decided that the parent represents the genesis, but the godparent represents the protector of the spirit, the guide, the shaper. So now, when we introduce you and your ideas to new people, we say "Brandy Agerbeck is the godmother of visual practice."
They seem to get it."
Geoffrey Nelson, M Ed
Brandy was that kid who drew ALL THE TIME. Happily, she never stopped.
In 1996, she fell into a job that let her do her two favorite things: drawing and thinking.
This is live, large scale mapping of a group's conversations and presentations.
As a graphic facilitator, Brandy gets to think and draw -- and listen, and synthesize client's complex conversations -- while practicing world class facilitation methods and earning invaluable hands-on experience in businesses across industries, big and small, old and new.
Since publishing her first book in 2012, Brandy has happily shifted from being the one person in the room drawing for the group to teaching everyone how to discover and strengthen their own visual thinking skills.
You can learn now through Brandy's articles, books, online courses. Join Brandy at an upcoming virtual events or contract Brandy to create a visual thinking talk or workshop for your team or organization.
Brandy teaches internationally and virtually, and her core online visual thinking course, The Agerbeck Method, brings together learners from 44 countries -- so far.
Body of Work + Personal Milestones
Launched ENVISION Visual Thinkers Virtual Expo
Annual global gathering bringing together visual thinkers of all types and stripes. This year's event will be Sept 17-19, 2021.
Camp Drawmore opens
ENVISION 2020 was also Brandy's launch of her online membership community, Camp Drawmore. This is joyful, creative space to bring continued connection, inspiration, and motivation to your visual thinking practice.
Brandy married her love, vowing to "be the soft landing when we’re hard on ourselves."
He promised to "remind you, when you’re deep in your work, that food and drink and rest are almost important as ideas."
"The Value of Visual Organization" published in The World of Visual Facilitation
A pivotal piece on the levels of organization within visual thinking. Brandy is happy to be part of this tome as part of a truly global community of contributors.
See a sneak peek here.
What is Visual Thinking?
Not a how-to video, more of a why-care video. Watch to learn why drawing is such a fantastic thinking tool and why Brandy focuses on the THINKING in visual thinking.
Launched The Agerbeck Method
Built on The Idea Shapers readers' feedback and need for more step-by-step guidance, Brandy created this video-based companion. This comprehensive online course helps you build a rock solid foundation to your unique, lifelong visual thinking practice.
Each circle represents one major aspect of visual thinking and 10 days in the course. The bottom row -- CANVAS, PROXIMITY, and TEXT -- teaches your how to make your drawings more spatial. Next, you learn how COLOR, LINE, and SCALE illustrate the relationships between ideas. Through the top row and last three modules you use SHAPE, IMAGE, and FLOW to make your visual thinking more integrated.
Published The Idea Shapers book
Created to break down the complexity of visual thinking into 24 clear, accessible techniques called idea shapers. Brandy's mission was to make each one "duh" simple to learn, but you use them together for sophisticated visual thinking.
While her first book was specific to the role of graphic facilitation, this book is for every visual thinker. As the title says, to give you The Idea Shapers: The power of putting your thinking into your own hands.
"After fifteen years teaching Computer Science and building a 4000 square foot maker lab at our school (@LTMakers), the one thing I never thought I'd need to know or teach is drawing, Now, it is crucial that I do.
As the heart of my teaching has shifted from virtual and software-only problem solving to combined virtual and hands-on physical problem solving, there has never been a more critical need for me or my students to be able to relay thoughts, organize, and prototype ideas through pen and paper. Brandy's new book The Idea Shapers is helping our ideas see the light of day."
Computer Science Teacher
Chicago Public Schools
and Creator of Lane Tech Makers Lab
Since 2016, Brandy has been a Neuland Ambassador, and loves using their highest quality tools.
With Verena Hanke-Neuland and Guido Neuland at IFVP DC in 2016.
Co-edited Drawn Together through Visual Practice
Alongside Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd, and Jennifer Shepherd, we shaped an anthology across the wider field of visual practice.
L to R: Brandy Agerbeck, Jennifer Shepherd, Kelvy Bird, and Sam Bradd during our one weekend in person in Toronto shaping the book.
What is a Citizen Artist?
Time lapse of Brandy's graphic facilitation of Kennedy Center one-day summit.
Taught at Grinnell's Alumni College
The first non-professor alumni speaker at Grinnell College's annual Alumni College, Brandy taught visual thinking and got the room drawing in the first 5 minutes. Below you'll see the participants' five-second drawings of what reminds them of their time on campus.
Gave closing keynote at EuViz Berlin
Concluded the three-day global gathering addressing the growth of visual practice.
Gave opening keynote at IFVP NYC
Kicked off the conference's theme of "Visual at our core, visionary to our core" with "The Core of Our Powers." Brandy shared a wheel of core competencies for the professional graphic facilitator.
Below is a glimpse into how Brandy draws live while she speaks.
Spoke at TEDxWindyCity
With the day's theme of Contrast, Brandy spoke on the limits of linear thinking and the possibilities of visual, spatial, and kinesthetic thinking.
"Shape Your Thinking" lays out the five-steps that became the shape of Brandy's second book, The Idea Shapers.
Launched The Lab
More than a hundred "lab partners" from 19 countries have joined Brandy in her three-day immersion. They dive deep into hands-on practice, direct feedback, and rich discussion, resulting to tons of growth in a short time.
Profiled in Chris Guillebeau's The $100 Startup
Brandy describes how she built her graphic facilitation business from scratch. Also contributed a synthesis drawing of the book's manifesto to demonstrate her work.
Published The Graphic Facilitator's Guide
Based on sixteen years of professional work, Brandy wrote this trusted guide to help new practitioners understand their role, responsibilites, and the skills they need to serve groups well.
"Congratulations to Brandy Agerbeck, who captured all the key information, all the more subtle tacit knowledge and tons of helpful hints all in one clearly-presented book. I predict that Agerbeck's book will eventually be referred to as the Graphic Facilitation Bible."
author of Visual Thinking and
Mapping Inner Space
Published The Brandyfesto
Written and drawn as Brandy's declaration of the work she'd soon be creating.
Launched Permission with co-creator Pamela Meyer
Such a joyous and true collaboration, Brandy and Pamela created a "playful book with serious intent" in Permission: A Guide to Generating More Ideas, Being More Yourself and Having More Fun at Work.
A series of Print Gocco prints inspired by seeing a circus in Zurich and a visit to Museo La Esquina in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Created the Draw Quad
Built to broaden the definition of drawing and to make the distinctions between drawing as a noun ad drawing as a verb.
Brandy finally saw her birthplace of Heidelberg, Germany. It's a really lovely place to be born in.
What is Graphic Facilitation?
One of Brandy's earliest and most watched videos.
Also *just* before she figured out how long she wanted her short hair to be. ;^)
Conference lead, board member, volunteer in the International Forum of Visual Practitioners
Supporting the community and shaping the field, Brandy's contributions include:
Brandy spontaneously drew Barack Obama's inauguration speech from her home studio, but it spread widely online.
Profiled in Patricia Martin's Rengen book
In Rengen: The Rise of the Cultural Consumer - and What It Means to Your Business, Patricia Martin features Brandy's work as an example of the new class of workers dedicated to creating innovation and expressing ideas aesthetically.
Spiral Dynamics Model
A favorite model and a favorite visualization.
Wizard of Oz x2
Brandy drew these two version of the classic movie to help illustrate what she does as a graphic facilitator.
This second version was to help differentiate her style and synthesis from an approach more common in the field.
Brandy (barely) played accordion in the Golden Horse Ranch Square Dance Band.
Brandy worked as a graphic facilitator but had no idea how to describe the work (yet). Drawn for her portfolio, this Venn diagram described her circles of work.
Started as a place to make web-based artwork. For nearly 20 years, the homepage had this kind of circle and connectors navigation which adapted over time.
Began career as graphic facilitator
As a contractor at Ernst & Young's ASE (Accelerated Solutions Environment), Brandy learned world-class facilitation process through MGTaylor's DesignShop process while serving a broad range of EY's Fortune 500 companies. Contracted 1996-1999.
Graduated from Grinnell College
Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, with a concentration in printmaking with almost as much ceramics. Proud to be a first-generation college student.