Sketchnoting? And how can I get started?
GUEST POST: Laura Wheeler
What is sketchnoting?
If you spend time online, chances are you’ve seen at least one sketchnote, if not many. What is a sketchnote? It’s like a hand-made infographic:
Sketchnotes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting, drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes, and visual elements like arrows, boxes, and lines.
You don’t have to be a fancy artist to sketchnote. In fact, sometimes simple stick figures make the best illustrations for a sketchnote! Can you draw a stickman? Then you can draw! As Mike Rohde says, sketchnotes are about “ideas, not art“.
Why should we sketchnote?
Sketchnoting, for me, primarily serves as a way to take notes, but more visually. It helps me remember what I’ve read, heard or seen. It helps me to organize ideas. It’s primary function is as a record, for me! When I think they might also be useful to others – and turn out nice enough – I share them on Twitter so other teachers can learn from them too. I often get teachers asking if it’s OK to print them up as posters for their classrooms or staff rooms – I always say yes of course!
What do I need to get started?
You have a few options to choose from:
- Paper & pencil / pen / marker
- Tablet & stylus w/ sketching app like Adobe Sketch or Illustrator
- Whiteboard & dry-erase markers:
What can we sketchnote?
My suggestion to start? Ted Talk videos. Choose your favourite Ted Talk or use this one I often suggest: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation. The advantage of sketchnoting videos to start (as opposed to live talks) is that you can rewind & replay as many times as you like to capture the ideas you want in your sketchnote.
There is no end to the things we can sketchnote:
- Live keynotes (or recorded talks on YouTube)
Chapters or articles you’ve read
I assign sketchnoting as a reading response/reflection assignment to my students for each article or chapter we read.
- Movie or Book plots
- Travel logs
- Explainers (for example, share about a new tool you’ve tried like WipeCharts - it’s like a blog post in one single image)
- . . . the list goes on & on – anything you can think of!
I hope you give sketchnoting a whirl! And if you do, please share your sketchnotes with me @wheeler_laura!