Getting Started with Sketchnoting

Sketchnoting does not require any artistic talent. All it requires is a desire to practice and explore the art of visual notetaking. Once you get comfortable you can even join the larger sketchnote community for inspiration and assistance. The tips below should help anybody get their feet wet.

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What is sketchnoting?

Sketchnoting is a term coined by Mike Rohde to describe the process of using text, sketching, and typography to think about notetaking in a different way. This visual notetaking technique engages the eyes, ears, and hands to help improve memory. As long as you can draw a circle, square, and triangle you can begin to practice the art of sketchnoting. Remember that sketchnoting is not illustration and the notes you take do not have to be art.

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What do you need?

As long as you have paper and something to write with you are ready to begin sketchnoting. When first starting out you can even use lined notebook paper until you get more comfortable with full page sketchnotes.

A small portable notebook is recommended for ease of use. My personal preference is either an unlined Moleskine or a Liechturm dotted grid journal. Other companies make similar products including Michaels if you want to sketchnote on a budget.

A pen is encouraged to help build confidence. Start with a sampler from Jet Pens or visit your friendly local art supply store to find pens which a good feel. I alternate between a 0.5mm Pilot V, Sakura Pigma Microns, and Tombow brush pens for emphasis.

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The books and web sites below should help anyone from a sketchnote novice to the seasoned professional up their game. If you’ve got your own personal favorite sites or books let me know.


Back of the Napkin

The Sketchnote Handbook

Understanding Comics

Sites and podcasts

Sketchnote Army