1. Image ©Apple
  2. Image ©Apple
  3. Image ©Apple
  4. © John Medina
  5. © John Medina
  6. © Mike Rohde
  7. © John Medina
  8. © John Medina
  9. © John Medina
  10. © concept Dan Roam
  11. © concept Dan Roam
  12. © concept Dan Roam
  13. © concept Dan Roam
  14. © concept Dan Roam
  15. © concept Dan Roam
  16. © Sunni Brown
  17. © Sunni Brown
  18. © Sunni Brown
  19. © Sunni Brown
  20. © Sunni Brown
  21. © Sunni Brown
  22. DC/NY Trip
  23. © Mike Rohde
  24. © Mike Rohde

Editor's Notes

  1. This presentation is to discuss an exciting new field of visual note-taking called sketchnotes.\n
  2. We will be talking through the standard basic “W” questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how.\n\nWe will start by discussing exactly what I mean when talking about sketchnotes.\n
  3. Next, we will discuss the reasons for using sketchnotes and the benefits of them.\n
  4. I will share some ideas and examples of when and where you can use sketchnotes,\n
  5. and dive into techniques and learning how to get started using sketchnotes.\n
  6. Finally, we will talk about who can use sketchnotes.\n
  7. \n
  8. So our first topic is to define what sketchnotes are.\n
  9. I will start that definition by talking about what they are not.\n
  10. You might be thinking of trying to find the sweet app “sketchnotes.”\n
  11. Well, don’t. It’s not an app, just a method of taking notes.\n
  12. However, sketchnotes are not your typical boring, outline notes. The goal is not to capture every single detail, but rather to record the main points and the details that stick out to you personally.\n
  13. Sketchnotes are essentially visual notes. Because of that, I thought the best way to explain them was to do so visually.\n
  14. So we will walk through the anatomy of a sketchnote to explain more of what I mean.\n
  15. This is an example of sketchnotes that I created from a webinar that I attended. \n
  16. Naturally, we want to identify what these are sketchnotes of. So, almost all sketchnotes will start with a title.\n
  17. Since the goal is still to take notes, you will see that they will include some standard notes.\n
  18. And as the name would imply, sketchnotes will nearly always involve some simple sketches as well.\n
  19. Often, sketchnotes will make use of headings to separate the content and make it clear where different topics are recorded.\n\n
  20. And finally, sketchnotes will make use of lots of white space to divide up the content and make the page more readable.\n
  21. So here you can see many of those different elements used across the page to record the different ideas that were discussed.\n
  22. I thought it would be helpful to share my journey to sketchnotes.\n
  23. All my life, I have taken copious notes. This is a picture of my notebook from college and in the MTC which was roughly the same size as my wallet. At the time, I was obsessed with writing tiny and capturing every single detail. Meetings or lectures were stressful because I was worried I might miss something. The ironic thing was that even though I spent hours creating these notes, I found that I never went back to them.\n
  24. A few years ago, I started drawing simple sketches to illustrate my planner. I enjoyed developing my own stick figure style, but still felt like this sketching had to be hidden at work. It was fun, but didn’t have a place in serious business.\n
  25. But then I found this book which is all about using pictures effectively at work to explain difficult concepts simply. I started using pictures whenever I could, and it became the running joke on my team how long it would take into a meeting before I got up to the whiteboard.\n
  26. Through Dan Roam, the author of The Back of the Napkin, I found an online talk by Eva-Lotta Lamm about sketchnotes. I found out that there is an actual movement and a name for the kind of notes that I was starting to take.\n
  27. My first real attempt to use sketchnotes was at a two-day training. I found that I enjoyed the training so much more, and other people connected with the notes that I took. I knew that I was on to something big.\n
  28. So that covers the definition of what sketchnotes are and how I got into them.\n
  29. Next, we will look at some of the reasons to use sketchnotes and what the benefits are.\n
  30. The first reason is to avoid the inevitable boring meetings and classes.\n
  31. When I say avoid boring meetings and classes,\n
  32. what I really mean is to transform them.\n
  33. If you are taking notes like this, it doesn’t much matter what the event is. Even if you are at a fascinating event, you will bore yourself mindless.\n
  34. However, if you are taking notes like this, you can be at the most boring event in the world, but it will become interesting to you. I know that I left plenty of meetings at work where my friends said, “What a waste of an hour!” and I was thinking, “Well, I had a great time! I was just sketching and having fun!”\n
  35. The second reason for using sketchnotes is that you will actually learn better while using them.\n
  36. The principles that explain why that is true come from a great book called Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina. In it, he discusses 12 rules that help explain how your mind operates and how to take advantage of it. We will just cover four of the principles today, but I highly recommend learning more about all of them.\n
  37. The first principle is actually number 4. That is that we do not pay attention to boring things. Our mind will start to wander if we are not engaged.\n
  38. Using sketchnotes will help you to stay focused. Because you are engaging more with the content, you will pay more attention to it. In fact, studies have shown that doodling in and of itself will improve attention and retention, even if the doodling has nothing to do with what you are hearing. Naturally, if you are focused on visually representing what you are hearing, it will help so much more.\n
  39. The next rule is about short term memory. The rule is “repeat to remember.” The issue here is that learning something better is all about the moment of encoding.\n
  40. Sketchnotes will help you to filter the information that is coming in and just capture the most important information for you. This will help you immensely in remembering that information later.\n
  41. The next rule is related to the previous, but deals with long-term memory. The rule is to “remember to repeat.” The best way to learn and remember information is to repeat it at lengthening intervals. Ideally, you should repeat it seconds later, then minutes later, days later, and even weeks and then months later.\n
  42. Having notes like this encourage you to do just that. I found that with my previous notes, I never referred back to them. But having notes like this helps me to want to review them. And that is a big help in learning and remembering the information.\n
  43. The final rule is that “vision trumps all other senses.” There are biologically reasons that explain why this is true.\n
  44. “Nearly 75% of the neurons in our brain that process sensory information—smell, taste, touch, hearing, sight—are dedicated to vision.” --Unfolding the Napkin, p. 22\n\nIf this grid represents the neurons in our brain that process sensory information,\n
  45. there would be some dedicated to touch,\n
  46. some dedicated to smell,\n
  47. to taste,\n
  48. and to hearing.\n
  49. All of the rest of the brain is dedicated to sight.\n
  50. Another scientific reason for this is called the Dual Coding theory. Information gets into our brains in one of two ways: either through the verbal or the visual channel.\n
  51. In a typical presentation, the verbal channel is the most used.\n
  52. Naturally the presenter is going to speak to us, and so we will process that information on the verbal channel.\n
  53. But when we read text on a slide, our mind automatically converts that to words, and it is processed in the same verbal channel. This can actually compete with what we are hearing and make it harder to learn anything.\n\n
  54. The ironic thing is that so much more of our minds is available to process information through the visual channel.\n\n
  55. So if we will just move some of the information over to the visual channel, we can take more in.\n\nEven if the presenter/teacher/speaker you are listening to doesn’t know this and tries to cram everything down your verbal channel, using sketchnotes, you can force a large portion of that information through the visual channel and allow yourself to take more in and learn it better.\n
  56. So two of the reasons that sketchnotes are so valuable is that they will help you “escape” from boring meetings and classes and will help you learn better.\n
  57. We’ll move next to discussing some examples of times and places when sketchnotes can be most helpful.\n
  58. To first address the question of When, I do almost all of my sketchnotes live during the event.\n
  59. These are from a live webinar that I participated in along with many of you a few weeks ago.\n
  60. Sometimes, I will go back to a talk later and sketchnote it.\n
  61. These are sketchnotes from General Conference that I did after the fact. I still try and push myself to sketchnote live and not pause or keep going too long after the talk so that I don’t fall into tweaking too much.\n
  62. As we have already discussed, they are invaluable in classes, particularly when you need to remember the material that is being taught.\n
  63. As I showed earlier, these are some sketchnotes from a training class that I attended. Because they will help you to learn and remember better, sketchnotes are particularly useful when you will be tested on the material that you are hearing...\n
  64. ...or even reading. You can use sketchnotes to help you make sense of books that you are reading, or to prepare study guides.\n
  65. These are notes from my oldest daughter who was six at the time. As part of home school, she was reading through many of Shakespeare’s plays, and these notes are from the play “As You Like It” to help her keep track of the characters and their relationships.\n
  66. We all sit through countless lectures, whether for work, school, or church.\n
  67. Sketchnotes will help you to stay engaged and make it easier and more enjoyable to review the material later.\n
  68. Sketchnotes can even be useful when you are not the learner, but rather the teacher. I will often prepare notes beforehand, and then either review them or recreate them when teaching.\n
  69. These are notes that I used to teach my daughter in a one-on-one situation. We were able to go through each of the sections and discuss the pictures and what they meant. When I actually did this, she started off by saying, “I don’t want to do this today!” I just told her that I would give her a quick preview then and we could go over them another time. Half an hour later, we finished a wonderful discussion that was also a great bonding moment.\n
  70. This is an image similar to what I used in teaching a larger group. I prepared with this sketch before the class,\n
  71. and then during class\n
  72. I drew each element.\n
  73. Using the sketch this way allowed me to spend time reviewing each element with the class,\n
  74. and kept them all engaged the whole time.\n
  75. There is something special about watching...\n
  76. ...something being created in front of you...\n
  77. ...that draws you in.\n
  78. You feel connected to it,\n
  79. as if you had a part in creating it.\n
  80. Another fun way to use sketchnotes is for a travel log or journal.\n
  81. I recently had the chance to visit Washington, D.C. and New York City for the first time. I spent two days in each city, so it was something of a whirlwind. By capturing the different places that I went in sketchnotes, it becomes a fun way to remember and to share my trip.\n
  82. I give the example of meals just to point out that you can use sketchnotes for anything you want to remember.\n
  83. These are sketchnotes by Mike Rohde capturing a delicious meal he had in California.\n
  84. Really, you can use sketchnotes everywhere that you want to learn or remember something better.\n
  85. My biggest suggestion is to get a pocket notebook and carry it with you. Use it to start practicing sketchnoting whenever you get the opportunity.\n
  86. Speaking of practicing, the last place I want to suggest doing sketchnotes is at your desk.\n
  87. is an amazing resource of interesting talks. You can even limit your search by length so that if you only have five minutes, you can find a talk to fit.\n
  88. Over the summer, I taught a course on sketchnoting to a group of teenagers and asked them to try it right then for the first time.\n
  89. These are some of their sketchnotes from a fun TED talk...\n
  90. ...called “5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do” by Gever Tulley.\n
  91. Hopefully seeing a few examples has you thinking of when you might want to try sketchnoting yourself.\n
  92. But you might be wondering how to get started. That is what we will cover next. I’ll go over a few basic principles, share my process of doing sketchnotes, and then give you some tips to get started.\n
  93. The first thing you are going to need is paper of some sort...\n
  94. ...and a pen (or pencil).\n
  95. Personally, I like to use a Moleskine sketchbook for my paper. The pages are nice and thick and they absorb ink well...\n
  96. which is especially nice because I like to use gel pens. Specifically, I like the Pilot G-2 07. It has a great feel, and is extremely easy to find in stores. I switched over to gel pens a few months ago to force myself to write a little bigger.\n
  97. I will often use a colored pen to add highlights or emphasis.\n
  98. As I mentioned, I often start with the sketch and then add the notes. That requires a different kind of thinking than we are usually used to.\n
  99. Visual thinking is often combining pictures and words together...\n
  100. ...or using pictures to solve problems and explain complex topics.\n
  101. Eventually, you want to be able to think in pictures so that you can represent concepts and ideas visually. This is easy with concrete things, but much harder to do with abstract topics.\n
  102. As you approach sketchnoting, the biggest challenge you will face, in my opinion, is building up a mental queue. When you are taking notes, you can’t just raise your hand and ask the speaker to pause while you catch up.\n
  103. This is a skill that I developed prior to getting into sketchnoting through my work as a Romanian interpreter. While interpreting, you are hearing the speaker in English in one ear, and yourself in Romanian in the other year and try to match pacing, tone, and even emotion.\n
  104. I think of this skill as delayed processing. Information is coming in, and you have to process it, but at the same time, new information is continuing to come in.\n
  105. While interpreting, the cycle is to listen, synthesize, and then vocalize.\n
  106. This creates a cycle that is happening continuously. You listen, synthesize, or process the material, and then visualize it and sketch out that visualization. But it never stops!\n
  107. This creates a cycle that is happening continuously. You listen, synthesize, or process the material, and then visualize it and sketch out that visualization. But it never stops!\n
  108. The trick is to learn to let go.\n
  109. As you process the top item in your queue...\n
  110. ...and move to the next things...\n
  111. ...something new is going to come in. But if that new thing is more interesting or important to you...\n
  112. ...don’t be afraid to jump right to it.\n
  113. When you’re done with that one, you can move back to the previous ones,\n
  114. or let go of them completely and move on to new material.\n
  115. We’re almost finished here. As I have presented in the past about skechnotes, I have often heard the comment when I finish that people found thought that sketchnotes sound cool and all that, but they feel like they could never do that, and have no idea where to start.\n
  116. My attempt to alleviate the first part of that is to show you the process that I go through when taking sketchnotes.\n
  117. One of the most intimidating things in the world in my mind is a blank sheet of paper. It sits there all pristine and inviting, but you don’t want to do something wrong and mess it up.\n
  118. So I always just start with the date. That shatters the tranquil stillness of the page and opens the rest of it up.\n
  119. I’ve played with a few different formats for dates over the past few months.\n
  120. This is what I am currently using these days, but it is sure to change again.\n
  121. However, this illustration of my process is from a real sketchnote that I did, so we’ll start with the date as I had it back then.\n
  122. Another good way to help you get comfortable with the page is some prep work. Before the event even starts, you can begin with the name of the group putting it on...\n
  123. ...And the title of the event.\n
  124. Then it’s almost always a good idea to include the speaker so that you can remember who gave the event.\n\nAll of this can be done before it ever starts and then you are ready to capture content from the first second. If I don’t get that chance, I will usually leave space at the top and come back throughout the talk and add the information if there is something of a lull in content that I want to capture.\n
  125. I like to try and keep the content somewhat organized, so I will usually begin a new section with some kind of heading.\n
  126. An easy way to add some visual interest is to start with a heading or subheading, but leave some space around the text...\n
  127. ...And then add some kind of callout around it like a scroll or a box or something.\n
  128. A simple diagram is a nice way to link related content. In this case, I wanted to remember that all of these different elements are part of healthy development.\n
  129. I will usually start a new idea visually with some kind of simple sketch...\n
  130. And then will add notes about it that I want to remember.\n
  131. Sometimes though, I start with the notes, often with another header...\n
  132. ...and then add a sketch about it.\n
  133. I find that I kind of work in a snake-like, left-to-right, top-to-bottom flow.\n
  134. I find that I kind of work in a snake-like, left-to-right, top-to-bottom flow.\n
  135. I don’t worry too much about the layout, and sometimes interesting connections come out that way.\n
  136. But I try to make sure that different ideas are separated visually with some white space.\n\nFor this event, I also added color...\n
  137. ...but I will often leave them in black & white.\n
  138. Some people that I talk to about sketchnotes get overwhelmed and think, “I could never do that!” Well, you’re wrong. I firmly believe that anyone can do this and will benefit greatly from it. I want to give you three steps to get started.\n
  139. First, break the lines! If you use lined paper, let it constrict you no more!\n
  140. Organize your notes however it makes sense to you. Group similar things together, or draw connecting lines to see how things fit together. In many ways, this is just going back to being a kid when you never worried about things like that.\n
  141. Second step is to play with text.\n
  142. This is a fantastic tutorial on how to have fun with words. Doing something like this will make for more interesting headings, or main points that you want to emphasize. Try different things and figure out a style that works for you.\n
  143. This is an example of Mike Rohde’s sketchnotes. Your see that it is almost all text, but because he has done different things with the text, it is still extremely interesting to look at.\n
  144. The final step is to practice drawing.\n
  145. But don’t worry too much about whether you are a “good artist” or not. Just have fun!\n
  146. \n
  147. I think that you should start by practicing simple objects—things that you can see.\n
  148. Some of the best resources for practicing this kind of drawing are children’s drawing books. My very favorite is Make a World by Ed Emberley.\n
  149. Here are some pages from my practice notebook. You can see that he has all sorts of vehicles; people doing different things...\n
  150. ...animals, and even appliances. Practicing drawing like this with simple shapes help you develop your own style that you can use in your sketchnotes.\n
  151. Once you feel comfortable drawing simple objects...\n
  152. ...then try drawing out ideas. Find some visual representation for ideas or concepts that you come across often.\n
  153. A fantastic place to start is this book: Blah, Blah, Blah, by Dan Roam. In it, he talks about how to use pictures and words together to represent complex ideas. He even lays out a visual grammar to help you know what to do to represent different kinds of ideas.\n
  154. One of the most important things is to practice things that are common for you. That way, when you go to use them in your sketchnotes, you are already comfortable drawing those things. You don’t have to try and take time right then to figure out how to draw it each time.\n
  155. Once you can draw some ideas comfortably...\n
  156. ...practice drawing people. I think this is one of the most important things to include in your notes.\n
  157. So I wanted to give you a quick lesson on the lost art of drawing stick figures.\n
  158. The easiest thing I have found is to start with just the head first. Just draw a round circle. Make it big enough that you will be able to add emotion to it. This will one of the most important parts of your stick figure, and it is also one of the easiest.\n
  159. Next, I like to add a body.\n
  160. You can just use a stick if you like, but I prefer a body with a bit more substance.\n
  161. It also makes it easier to differentiate between a male and a female.\n
  162. In our drawing, we are going to have a male this time.\n
  163. Next, add legs. This is how you will primarily define the motion and action for your figure. Is he standing?\n
  164. Running?\n
  165. Sitting? The legs will most clearly define that.\n
  166. Our man today will be standing.\n
  167. Then add in the arms. This rounds out the definition of the action. We want our man to be waving.\n
  168. Then, bring him to life with a face. I typically use just the eyes and the mouth, although sometimes I’ll use a nose. Most of the time, you are trying to show an emotion, and the mouth is the key for that. Do you want someone that is smiling big?\n
  169. Serious?\n
  170. Evil and angry?\n
  171. Our man is a happy little man.\n
  172. Finally, add in any accessories. In this case, we’re just going to have him give a friendly greeting.\n
  173. One important point is the proportions. A real human is about 7-8 heads high. But with stick figures, your focus is on conveying emotion or action. So the body should be about 3 heads high. I usually just try and have the body be about the same height as the head, and then the same with the legs.\n
  174. Stick figures can represent all kinds of different actions or ideas. And since they are so simple, everyone can connect to them immediately.\n
  175. Hopefully that gives you a good idea of how to get started. Work on delayed processing and build a mental queue, and break the lines, play with text, and practice drawing. You’ll be sketchnoting in no time!\n
  176. Finally, I want to close by talking about who can do sketchnotes and benefit from them.\n
  177. The mystery man who loves to try sketchnotes is...\n
  178.! I firmly believe that anyone can do sketchnotes, and that will help everyone that tries them.\n
  179. But sketchnotes are a tool. I think they are a fantastic tool, and a ton of fun...\n
  180. ...But they are one tool in your tool belt. Sometimes they will be the perfect tool to use, and sometimes you will need something else.\n
  181. ...But they are one tool in your tool belt. Sometimes they will be the perfect tool to use, and sometimes you will need something else.\n
  182. Today you learned that sketchnotes are visual notes. They can help you avoid boring meetings and classes, and even learn better. There are a wide variety of opportunities that you have to use sketchnotes. You can get started easily by building your mental queue, breaking the lines, playing with text, and practicing drawing. And finally, they are for YOU!\n
  183. And that is your introduction to sketchnotes. Thanks!\n