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.

Mike Rhode (The Sketchnote Handbook)





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:


notebook_and_marker tablet_image_wipebook kids_on_whiteboard



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:




I hope you give sketchnoting a whirl! And if you do, please share your sketchnotes with me @wheeler_laura!


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