What the heck are sketchnotes?


Published on

Slides that accompanied a talk I gave for the CamCreative meetup group (Cambridge, UK).

Meetup description: http://www.meetup.com/camcreative/events/113346382/

Many thanks to everyone who came and asked questions or gave me great feedback and more to think about!

Published in: Business, Technology
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

What the heck are sketchnotes?

  1. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Thursday, 25 April 2013Hello CamCreative. Thanks for having me. :)
  2. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Thursday, 25 April 2013I work as a user experience designer, currently at scientific research instituteSketching is an important tool in how I explore problems and communicate ideas.Sketchnotes are a great way for me to record and share the content of talks I attend.
  3. Yes, sketchnotes are a thing@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Thursday, 25 April 2013You might have been making visual notes for years. That’s great!The term “sketchnotes” was coined a few years ago by author and UX designer, Mike RohdeThey are a mixture of handwritten notes and doodles or sketches that capture the key pointsof a talk or event. They are immediate. They aren’t art (I think). And lots of people are makingthem.
  4. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013What do sketchnotes look like?@agentfin@evalottchen@onesquigglyline@axbomThursday, 25 April 2013Here are a few examples that are all lovely but quite different from one another.Black ink or colour. Mostly pen & paper but iPad, too.Pictures, text, lettering, connectors, dividers, arrows, frames, highlights...
  5. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Comments on ebiinterfaces.wordpress.com ...Thursday, 25 April 2013From the comments on a blog post I wrote at the end of 2012...This slightly trollish comment is a bit caustic perhaps, but does capture the main idea ofsketchnoting!Not sure about the hubris bit, though. It’s not showing off.
  6. “Go to a conference, do someresearch on the speakers, arriveearly, take a pen and paper,draw pictures, share them”@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Thursday, 25 April 2013This, then, is a pretty adequate description of sketchnoting. Most of the time, people makesketchnotes at talks. And as far as I can see, most sketchnoters (whom I know directly) workin UX design, so there are lots of sketchnotes on that topic. That might be related to just howmuch most of us UXers use a pen and paper in our work... more on that later.
  7. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013What do people make sketchnotes about?@francisrowland@kylesteed@rohdesign@micheleidesmithchurchscienceUX designfoodThursday, 25 April 2013And as for topics?All sorts of things (not just talks about UX design and technology!)
  8. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Benefits: for speakersThursday, 25 April 2013Here are some benefits of sketchnotes, based on my experience.For speakers, they are a great way to get feedback on a talk.What did this sketchnoter pick up? Did they get the important things?How did they visualise them?Here, author Scott Berkun recommends just that.
  9. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Benefits: for the audience@yahnyinlondonI didn’t get to this talkbut luckily, AmandaWright did a great jobof taking sketchnotesThursday, 25 April 2013The fact that a talk (let’s focus on those) has been recorded in this way is great.It’s already summarised - just the key things and points that really stood outHere’s what you need to know.Forgot something? Can’t make sense of your own notes?Missed a talk? Here are the sketchnotes
  10. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Benefits: for youI did these ones :)Thursday, 25 April 2013Training yourself: Engagement. Observation. Listening. Visualisation & translation.You will WANT to look at your notesAt a glance, you can see why this or that talk was interestingYou’ve already done the visual processing of a topic, quite often...This can help your thinking and communication (I’ve found)
  11. Let’s talk about sketching@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013(don’t worry, we’ll get back to sketchnotes in a minute)Thursday, 25 April 2013For me, given the work I do, sketchnotes have been like doing a language course, and thathas helped the sketching that I do as part of my work
  12. sketching@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013sketchnotesThursday, 25 April 2013Sketching and sketchnotes have a reciprocal relationship.I will always try to capture something with pen an paper, if only to confirm my understanding
  13. sketching, not drawing@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013symbols, not exact likenessThursday, 25 April 2013Let’s be clear: for either sketchnotes or sketching at work, I am NOT talking about drawing.I deeply admire people who can draw well and represent real things.I especially admire comic book artists.But for sketching and sketchnotes, symbols and simple representations are enough
  14. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Sketching in action...interaction designUI designproduct designdata visualisationThursday, 25 April 2013So what sort of sketching am I talking about?Here are some cases where we might expect designers to start with sketches, before movingonto increasingly high-fidelity representations, or the final product.Architects, car designers do it, too. And don’t artists often sketch ideas before making thefinal artwork?
  15. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Improving your visual literacyToneGrammarVocabularyVoiceThursday, 25 April 2013Sunni Brown (Doodle Revolution and Gamestorming co-author) talks about “visual literacy”The more you do this, the more “literate” you become.You’ll be the first to the flipchart, pen in hand!Bringing together simple styles and shapes, you can begin to quickly represent ideas onpaper, capturing the voice of a speaker or colleague
  16. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Sketching: starting lo-fiVisualising topicsExploring conceptsSharing ideasExperimentation & iterationCollaboration (several pens)Thursday, 25 April 2013I encourage my colleagues (with mixed success, admittedly!) to start with pen and paper.Why?Because very simply and very quickly, you can begin to visualise, share, adapt and play withideas and concepts... before we get locked into our computers again
  17. OK, back to sketchnotesHere are a few tips...@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Thursday, 25 April 2013OK... back on track!
  18. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Tip #1: use a pen, not a pencilThursday, 25 April 2013I don’t want to be dogmatic. It’s not that you’re not allowed to use a pencil!But pencils are quietly dangerous: you can easily spend to long, faffing about with shadingand getting things “just right”. Worst of all, you can rub things out and get sucked intomaking a perfect drawing of something. And it isn’t about drawing.Pens are about commitment!
  19. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Tip #2: practice your handwritingThursday, 25 April 2013All sketchnotes include handwritten text. Mine tend to include quite a lot.If you struggle to read your own writing, other people definitely will!Think of it as improving the accessibility of your notesI tend to prefer caps and small caps, semi joined-up
  20. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Tip #3: listen for the stand-out pointsThursday, 25 April 2013Listen for the most interesting things a speaker says. My friend Michele would ask you, “Whatwould you tweet?”. these are the things to capture; often, these are the things to try anddraw. If you’re lucky, the speaker will accompany their points with a nice image that you cantry and copy (quickly)
  21. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Tip #4: try not to attract attentionThursday, 25 April 2013Based on comments I read somewhere, and on my experience, I try to minimise the impact Imake as a member of the audience. I’m not the one people came to see/listen to. It is tricky,because you might be doing something they’ve never seen before, but keep it cool.In small settings (like meetings), if people have no idea what you’re doing, think aboutmentioning it to them first. That way, they won’t think you’re being rude in some way, byhaving your head down, scribbling!
  22. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Tip #5: sketchnotes are for you(but it’s good to share!)Thursday, 25 April 2013Most of the time, at least to start with, your sketchnotes are for you, first-and-foremost.Don’t worry about future readers or what the speaker will think.Add your own comments and inflections.You’re not a court reporter!
  23. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Inspiration: booksThis one isn’t reallyabout sketchnotesFirst one I readTHE book to haveThursday, 25 April 2013You can learn about sketchnotes in books.
  24. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Inspiration: comics(for me at least... YMMV)a fabulous comic book a book about letteringa book about comics(see also @con_sequential)Thursday, 25 April 2013Personally, I think I might be a wannabe comic book artist with insufficient ability. :)But I still get ideas and inspiration from comics.
  25. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Inspiration: drawing(I know. I said it’s not about drawing!)symbols, not exact likenessQuentin Blake Ed EmberleyThursday, 25 April 2013Sketchnotes involve drawing to some extent. Sometimes a lot; sometimes a little.If you’re not confident about drawing, don’t worry. This isn’t art. This isn’t illustration.Here are a couple of books that might get you going (and if you didn’t see the Quentin Blakeexhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum... you should have!)
  26. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Inspiration: tutorialsPractical sketchnotingJason Aldermanhttp://www.slideshare.net/jalderman/practical-sketchnotingGetting started with sketchnotingMichele Ide-Smithhttp://www.slideshare.net/micheleidesmith/getting-started-with-sketchnotingThursday, 25 April 2013You can also learn in tutorials. My friend Michele ran one recently (and maybe she or the bothof us will run it again, in Cambridge).
  27. @francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013Inspiration: communitySketchnoteArmysketchnotearmy.com@sketchnotearmyThursday, 25 April 2013There is a community. Lots of people are trying sketchnotes or “coming out” as sketchnotersand sharing their notes. There’s a myriad styles and topics but Mike Rohde and Binaebi Akahcollect them here.
  28. Go forth and make sketchnotes!@francisrowlandCamCreative April 2013francisrowlandsee also @camusability for tweetsabout Cambridge Usability Group(and share them if you like: #sketchnotes)Thursday, 25 April 2013THANK YOU!Try it out - see if sketchnoting works for you.And don’t be afraid to share what you’re doing.