Graphic recording

I help to make the complex simple and the simple compelling. And I find such joy in helping people to picture their ideas

Seeing the BIG picture

What is Graphic Recording and how can it help you to “Picture your ideas“? Graphic recording is a form of visual storytelling that will help you to better engage with your stakeholders, clients, students and audiences and show them, literally, that they are being listened to? Graphic Recording is a way of visually capturing and conveying discussions and can be done in real-time at events, meetings, teleconferences etc AND remotely via teleconferences, online streaming services and meeting notes/video’s etc.

Creating Futures Summit_Griffith University_Teaching post pandemic_DrSuePillans2022

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Below you can find out more about my visual storytelling process and the many ways to use the visual stories I create for your events and discussions (noting the artworks cannot be used for profit or for commercial purposes without my written permission). You can also see how I use different visual approaches to communicate your ideas, issues and information with my tailored Infographics and Sketchnotes and learn how to “picture your ideas” at one of my Visual Workshops.


The graphic recording process

The process of graphic recording is more about me listening than drawing as I listen for the key messages, interpret the information, synthesise the discussions and then draw out the visual story with words and pictures. As about 65% of us are visual learners when we “see it, we get it” so this visual approach provides a clear way of organising information for both the eye and the brain and shows your audience the ‘BIG picture’.

AND if you hand me a microphone during your event, I will use it, as you can see below! I’m very happy to talk you through the BIG picture that I have created at your event so you get to see and hear the story come to life. A great way to visually and verbally reinforce and remember the visual story at the conclusion of your event!

Graphic recording_event_DrSuePillans

One of the great things about graphic recording is that it can be carried out on any topic, anywhere for anyone! I carry out graphic recording in-person drawing out information in real-time at events or group discussions AND remotely via online streaming platforms. OR I can also draw out the information and discussions via video/audio recordings, meeting minutes for when I can’t be in the room or appear online.

Through my visual storytelling I have worked with over 60 organisations to help make the complex simple and the simple compelling. So if you are looking for a new way to engage with your teams and stakeholders that isn’t Powerpoint, you want to bring others on the journey with you or maybe you are looking for exciting ways to visualise your ideas – then visual storytelling through graphic recording could be a way for you to tell your story and ‘draw out’ people’s ideas.

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Putting your people IN the picture is also a powerful way of engaging with your teams, clients and stakeholders to help them to see the “BIG picture” of why and where you are heading as an organisation. You can see a collection of my visual storytelling work as time-lapse videos via my YouTube channel (Dr Sue Pillans).

Visual storytelling helps to put your people in the picture, literally!
The work CentacareCQ does is about caring for people, and it can be really difficult for us to use words to express the impact the work has, both on our clients and on our staff. Dr Sue Pillans helped us to put our words and ideas together, to visually represent the many conversations we have had about what we do, how we do it, and most importantly, WHY. Working with Sue was a great experience – she was quickly able to get to know our organisation and the final result is a picture that really shows CentacareCQ at its best“, Carmel Marshall, General Manager, CentacareCQ
I had the pleasure of having Sue Pillans draw out my presentation at the Far North Queensland Principals Conference 2018. We live in the age of Information, which means we are constantly switched on and constantly bombarded with new information. This makes it very hard to absorb all of the messages we need. What struck me most about Sue’s work, apart from her extraordinary talent as a Illustrator, is her ability to quickly take complex verbal information and break it down real time to pictorially represent it in an easily digestible and visually compelling way. The infographic Sue created of my presentation – The 7 Time Sins Leaders Make – was phenomenal. It was clear, colourful and explained my presentation on one page, as I spoke! I would not hesitate to recommend Sue’s unique talent and services to add colour and value to any event“. Kate Christie, Director & Founder, Time Stylers

Remote graphic recording

I also use my graphic recording skills to bring visual stories to life remotely with clients so everyone can share their stories! Depending on your visual needs I can graphically record any information that is provided to me, listen to online meetings or teleconferences and I can also visually capture online conversations and discussions through online streamlining services. If I can’t be in the room or online I also regularly visualise information which has been recorded via video/audio, podcasts, interviews, written meeting minutes etc.

And as you can ‘sea’ below I can also elevate your powerpoint presentations by “picturing your presentations” by replacing all that text with words and pictures, which you can see more of at my Infographics



I also use Sketchnotes to quickly draw out discussions and concepts, both in real-time and as tailored sketchnotes. The Sketchnote Army defines sketchnotes as ”purposeful doodling while listening to something interesting. It doesn’t require high drawing skills but does require a skill to visually synthesise and summarise via shapes, connectors and text.” So sketchnotes are visual notes created from a mixture of hand-drawn words and pictures which can include visual elements of typography, shapes and lines.


I love to sketchnote as it is a quick and creative way of note-taking and sharing our stories. For example, the below sketchnote was drawn out live at a Forum showing the power of words and pictures. I also enjoy helping people to put the joy in their notes! I believe anyone can draw — so if you can draw a line then you can sketchnote your ideas and I’m here to show you how!

As a marine scientist and artist I also visit schools, conferences and workshops to deliver tailored workshops for students, teachers and scientists, which you can ‘sea’ more of at Sketchnote your Science.

So if you’re interested in learning more about sketchnotes come along to one of my visual storytelling Workshops.

Visual Storytelling

I started my own visual communications business working as a Graphic Recorder in 2015 and have worked with a wide range of people, teams and organisations to capture and convey their conversations, ideas, meeting outcomes and presentations with pictures and words – to create their visual story. I draw upon my strategic skills and experience, my scientific background and my creative abilities to provide a unique visual storytelling experience. Meeting minutes and PowerPoint certainly have their place, but just watch what happens when you use words and pictures to capture and convey what is happening in a meeting or presentation….people really become engaged!

I ensure that the visual products that I create from my graphic recording and sketchnoting suit the needs of every client and audience from capturing the big picture to simply providing a record of discussions for later reflection – as illustrated below. I have been told that “I make the complex simple and the simple compelling“, and I love such feedback as a visual storyteller! Your visual stories can be used in SO many ways before, during and after your events/meetings from providing a visual agenda before the event/meeting, a point of reflection throughout your event to a visual legacy post your event to be published in reports, journal articles, publications and even on your office walls and gifts such as on mugs, t-shirts etc! You can see more about how you can use your visual stories below and at Infographics & Illustrations

As a Graphic Recorder and Sketchnoter I have had the great opportunity and privilege to work with many different people, groups and organisations from Indigenous communities, International organisations, Business and IndustryCommunity and Health‎, Government groupsSchools and Universities, scientists and managers to draw out local, regional and international ideas and issues. With my clients I have also created unique and eye catching Infographics & Illustrations to help tell people’s stories and simplify complex issues. I take my experiences as a graphic recorder and visual artist to hold in-house tailored Workshops to help people, teams and organisations to “picture your ideas“. I also visit schools and groups to help people to visualise their work through sketchnotes , for example in schools you can Sketchnote your Science. Please view my client stories for further examples of my visual storytelling work and below are examples of the visual products I create with clients and how you can use your visual stories.

My visual needs

As an experienced graphic recorder I am seen as the ‘independent’ in the room who is really there to listen to the discussions and then interpret, synthesize and simplify the information into words and pictures. My visual stories help to take people on a journey, provide you with the ‘big picture’ and leave you with a visual legacy of your event, meeting and/or discussion. To help me picture your ideas I just need a few things set up at your event:

  • Lights on the whiteboard all day – as I can’t draw in the dark 🙂
  • Whiteboard (the bigger the better), large desk and chair
  • Concurrent sessions – until I am cloned unfortunately I’m unable to draw in two places at once 🙂
  • Agenda a week before your event – to help me plan and prepare for your event

And I’m a proud professional member of Graphic Recorders Australia!


Visual Purposes 

My graphic recording and sketchnotes can be used across groups, teams and organisations and events (in person and remotely) for a range of purposes including (but not limited to):

  • Team meetings and team building exercises
  • Training and professional development
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Strategic and scenario planning
  • Conferences and presentations
  • Interviews with clients and stakeholders
  • Workshops and meetings
  • Conceptual discussions
  • Graphics for books, reports, journal articles, websites etc
  • Learning to use sketchnotes

Visual Products for you

Visual products I create from my graphic recording ‘live’, as an observer or through pre-recorded interviews include the following, which are tailored to the client and audience (along with examples of these visual products below):

  • Visual stories (carried out “live”, as an observer or via recorded interviews or remotely)
  • Sketchnotes (carried out “live”, as an observer or via recorded interviews or remotely)
  • Infographics & illustrations (see more of my Infographics & Illustrations)
  • Conceptual diagrams (see more over on of my Infographics & Illustrations)
  • Workshop templates (see more over on my Infographics & Illustrations)
  • Action and inspiration boards (see more over on my Infographics & Illustrations)
  • Visual meeting minutes
  • Animated visual stories
  • Sketchnote your science (How to put the joy in your notes)

How to use your visuals

There are MANY different ways* to use and reproduce your visual artworks and here are some visual examples:

*Please note: when using and reproducing the artworks to value the artwork and the artist’s rights please include the artist’s copyright and attribution to the artist when using and sharing the artworks; and do not alter the artworks or use the artworks for commercial purposes (of for profit) without the written permission of the artist.

Share the BIG picture: from graphic recordings and discussions I can create wall mural artworks to display in your office spaces (or anywhere) and can tailor them to be living murals where spaces are left to provide regular updates, to work and display on

Share them: from the ‘big picture’ you can share the key themes and messages and even hold a competition to ‘gift’ the visual!

Display them: as your works of art, as that’s what they are!

Thanks to Dr Hanna Sidjabat at UQ for taking this photo from the UniQuest foyer and sharing it!

Video them: taking video and/or time-lapse of the drawings I create at your event provides a lasting visual legacy which attendees, clients and staff can watch over and over again!

Use them: to brand your next workshop including on name badges, workshop agenda, powerpoint slides etc

Use them: to illustrate ideas, information and issues in your documentation, fact sheets, stakeholder reports, annual reports, journal articles etc



Use them: to help engage groups, workshops and conference attendees

Share them: via email, newsletters, team meetings, social media, websites and media (as below)

Gift them: as presents, unique keepsakes and as part of your marketing materials to share with others

Queensland Agworkforce Summit_QFF_Cups_DrSuePillans2022

Share them: include the visual stories captured at your next meeting/workshop and create visual meeting minutes vs dot points and copious text

about my Graphic Recording services so I can help you to “Picture your ideas“.

*Please note use of my graphics post-event need to be attributed to me and remain unaltered unless written permission is given as all graphics and images are Copyright © 2023 Dr Sue Pillans

Infographics & Illustrations

Infographics & Illustrations – words and pictures for people I love to live my life in colour and help others to live a colourful life through my visual storytelling. I use a range of drawing techniques to help people ‘picture their ideas‘ from creating infographics and illustrations to telling animated stories through hand drawn digital … Continue reading Infographics & Illustrations

Creative seminars

Creative seminars and workshops As a visual communicator I get so much joy sharing my experiences about the power of using visual storytelling to communicate and engage with audiences. My visual storytelling seminars and workshops range from learning how to draw out your ideas and creating visual stories to communicating complex information in a simple … Continue reading Creative seminars


WHAT are sketchnotes? Sketchnotes are visual notes created from a mixture of hand-drawn words and pictures which can include visual elements such as typography, shapes and lines. The Sketchnote Army defines sketchnotes as: ”purposeful doodling while listening to something interesting. It doesn’t require high drawing skills but does require a skill to visually synthesise and … Continue reading Sketchnotes

International organisations

International ideas, issues and information I’m so fortunate in my work to be able to “picture” international ideas, issues and information as my graphic recording takes me to many places here at home and overseas. Examples of some of my international work is pictured below. 1st Asia-Pacific Conference on Integrated Care (Brisbane, Australia) I was … Continue reading International organisations

Indigenous communities

The art of storytelling with Indigenous communities I am very fortunate in my work as a graphic recorder and visual artist to get opportunities to picture the story of our Indigenous communities. Indigenous storytelling is the oldest form of sharing stories and I am honoured when asked to use Indigenous symbols in my visual artworks. … Continue reading Indigenous communities

Business & Industry

“Drawing out ideas” with Business and Industry I am very fortunate to be able to “picture ideas” with some of the most innovative and world class businesses and industries. My visual storytelling approach helps business and industry to draw out their ideas, visualise their goals and team vision. You can see how my graphic recording … Continue reading Business & Industry

Community & Health

Health and wellbeing of our Communities I am so inspired by those who work, help and support the health and well-being of our communities whether that be through medical research, not-for-profit organisations, our on-ground practitioners or those who gather to make a difference. I try to volunteer my creative services where I can to support these … Continue reading Community & Health

Schools and Universities

“Picturing ideas” for Education I’m very fortunate to be able to work with the education sector, Education Departments and research organisations to help schools, universities and education providers ‘Picture their ideas‘ through visual storytelling. Below are some examples of how I have drawn out the ideas of our educators, researchers and students. I just love my … Continue reading Schools and Universities

Government groups

Government projects, people and priorities FAIR Data at CSIRO (Coasts & Oceans Research) I was invited to graphically record a hybrid workshop hosted by CSIRO’s Coasts and Oceans Research held across three different States, time zones and office sites! This workshop focused on drawing out staff thoughts and discussions regarding FAIR data (FAIR – Findable, … Continue reading Government groups

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