The Idea Shapers

The Idea Shapers

by Brandy Agerbeck,

The Idea Shapers: The power of putting your thinking into your own hands

  • Long to feel less overwhelmed?
  • Wish for clarity in your decision making?
  • Looking for lucidity in your thinking?
  • Seeking confidence in your communication?

The simple solution is at your fingertips.

Paper and pen.

In this guide, Brandy Agerbeck reveals drawing as your best thinking tool, making visual thinking attainable and enjoyable through a set of twenty-four Idea Shapers. Each concept combines fine art and facilitation to turn abstract ideas into concrete drawings that help you do great things.

ISBN-10: 1494919338
ISBN-13: 978-1494919337

2016 | 436 pages | 6" x 9" trim size | black and white interior pages

Want to order The Idea Shapers? You can purchase the book directly from me below, or order from Amazon. (Yep, I earn more when you order from me, but I can't beat 'em on shipping costs or speed.)

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Praise for The Idea Shapers

Thank you to these colleagues for their kind words about the book. 

"A new alphabet for the Visual Age. The Idea Shapers is an indispensable guide for the 21st century superpower of thinking critically and clearly in pictures."

Patricia Martin
Cultural Analyst, author of
RenGen: Renaissance Generation

"If, like me, you've stood with mouth agape, in awe of an impossibly, extraordinarily gifted person with the ability to visually explain and to draw pictures to record and even sort-of synthesize what other people are talking about: admit it.

You resent these people.

I did too, until I attended a workshop with Brandy Agerbeck, wherein she completely spilled the beans -- showed us every trick in the book for doing like she does.


The Idea Shapers is the most approachable, dishy, memorable, implementable book on drawing in support of understanding and human communication you're going to have read this much of the blurb for: why haven't you clicked "add to cart" yet??"

Dan Klyn
Information Architect and Co-Founder,
The Understanding Group, LLC

"With The Idea Shapers, Brandy Agerbeck delivers an incredible resource to thinkers, creatives, writers, collaborators, incubators and innovators, as well as anyone else who wants specific guidance on generating and refining their ideas. She even (and especially) writes to those of us who, for one reason or another, lost our confidence in our ability to draw our ideas to life. The book is a delightful invitation for all of us to re-discover the value of drawing as a way to generate and shape ideas. Brandy’s writing is accessible—I love that she calls traditional definitions of art “hooey”—and her delightful images on almost every page powerfully demonstrate each of her concepts.

Full disclosure, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Brandy on a wide range of projects over the years and have witnessed the impact of her work first hand. Far from biasing me, this experience raised the bar for my expectations. I am happy to report that The Idea Shapers not only met, but exceeded those expectations. If you are looking for a fresh approach and countless strategies to get your ideas on paper, this is it!"

Pamela Meyer
Agile innovation expert,
speaker and author of
The Agility Shift

"Once again Brandy Agerbeck provides simple, clear and highly practical guidance for anyone who aspires to excel in visual thinking and facilitation. Brandy is a master practitioner and a natural born teacher. You can't do better than this book."

Dave Gray
Founder of XPLANE
and author of Liminal Thinking

"Once in a great while, a book comes along that turns on that lightbulb above your head. This is one of those books. As a lifelong doodler and drawer, I know I process the world visually--but it's easy to give up that spatial knowing for a more linear one, isn't it? Reading this book has re-sparked my visual way of interacting with the world, given me tools for doing just that, and created a deep sense of excitement and competence in being a visual thinker, once and for all. Thank you for this toolkit!

Patti Digh
Author of Life is a Verb
and 7 other books on living
mindfully and intentionally

"As Brandy Agerbeck astutely points out in The Idea Shapers, the word "drawing" can imply not so much a completed, fetishized object but an active process, one that triggers a different sort of intelligence. Of course, we see this throughout the English language: we may draw pictures, but we also draw conclusions, we draw inspiration from our forebears, and when we have made up our minds about a difficult task we may draw the line. In this substantial new book, readers will learn how the act of drawing might be used to practice discernment and sound judgment, and this is something from which we might all benefit greatly."

Ross Elfline
Associate Professor of Art History,
Carleton College

"Agerbeck’s The Idea Shapers shares fresh insights from her years of strategic thinking. It’s rare to find a book rich in systems that’s clear and applicable right away."

Nancy Duarte
CEO of Duarte, Inc.
and best-selling author of
Resonate and Illuminate

"Brandy has crafted a rich encyclopedia of ideas, techniques and tricks to kickstart your visual thinking right away. Her years of experience leading rooms with her ninja-like visual skills will help build your skills immediately."

Mike Rohde
Bestselling author of
The Sketchnote Handbook
and The Sketchnote Workbook

"The Idea Shapers makes visual thinking accessible by showing how drawing-as-thinking expands your toolkit for puzzling through complex topics in order to clarify your ideas and make personal meaning. Explore the empowering process in this book, discover yourself as someone who draws, and open up new ways of engaging ideas and solving problems. You can draw and thereby think better, more creatively, and in more dimensions. How effective is The Idea Shapers? I drew this recommendation before I wrote it!"

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe
University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign

"I have read and shared (gifted!) Brandy's first book, The Graphic Facilitator's Guide, and her new book, The Idea Shapers, is going to get the same treatment. As a visual communicator for 35 years (I was Director of Information Graphics at Newsweek for a decade), I found myself taking notes on visual storytelling concepts outlined by Brandy. As a teacher, she has a wonderful voice, a straight forward and accessible manner for conveying her knowledge and skills through words and drawings."

Karl Gude
Director of Media Sandbox,
Michigan State University

"The Idea Shapers is a wonderful, thought-provoking book for anyone who has wondered how visual thinking works. It holds terrific insights into the relationships between writing, drawing, teaching, learning, and making connections across disciplines. It’s not just for artists, and not just for writers, it’s for anyone who wants to challenge themselves to think in new and fresh ways."

Jennifer Farrington
President & CEO,
Chicago Children’s Museum

"The Idea Shapers is everything you wanted to know about being a visual thinking practitioner but were afraid to ask. Brandy takes us through a very thorough exploration of drawing as a thinking tool using twenty-four idea shapers. Each idea-shaper is unpacked rigorously and in detail, presenting a rich toolkit that will be of benefit to visual thinkers at all levels."

Andrew Park
Director of Cognitive
and Creator of RSA Animate

"In The Idea Shapers, Brandy Agerbeck shows us with compelling visual clarity that you don’t have to be an artist to draw. And, that by drawing, we become more capable and creative problem solvers, expansive connectors of generative ideas and new possibilities, and more effective communicators. What are you waiting for? Pick up The Idea Shapers…and the pen!"

Lisa Kay Solomon
Co-author of the bestseller Moments of Impact
and Design a Better Business

"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."

Jeff Solin
Computer Science Teacher
Chicago Public Schools
and Creator of Lane Tech Makers Lab

Where would you like to go next? 

What are the Idea Shapers?

Ready for a quick overview of all 24 idead shapers? Read the article >>