sketchnoting: just what is it all about?
If you know anything about us here in designist, it’s that we love a good system, so when my sister came back from a conference recently raving about how Sketchnote was going to be the new Bullet Journal, we were intrigued.
What’s the big idea?
By notetaking using both text and images, you engage more of your brain with the ideas you’re describing. This gives you both better understanding at the time and greater recall. On top of that, when you have to refer back to something, or heaven forbid, study, your notes are better organised and far more engaging so you’re more likely to be able to effectively revise with them.
The act of verbatim notetaking can actually get in the way of your comprehension, as the information only goes through your short term memory and tends to leave your mind once it’s on paper. These days there are recordings of nearly every meeting, conference or lecture you attend so it’s not even necessary. Passive listening can work for some people but the discipline required to stop your mind wandering is more than I can often muster. By translating the concepts and ideas you are hearing into images you are actively listening, comprehending and keeping yourself focused.
Never far behind a trend, Leuchtturm have brought out their own Sketchnote notebooks, that provide a full course in what tools you’ll need, how to get started, developing visual language, icons, typefaces, layouts and designs to empathize various thoughts, words and ideas. By the end of the 9 chapters you’ll be a past master.
That’s all well and good, I hear you saying but am I expected to draw? It’s more like doodling or pictionary, the idea is to create enough of an image or a structure to encapsulate the idea rather than to achieve photorealism. We already have most of the visual language building blocks at our fingertips, it’s just asking those fingertips to use them.
And if you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration, you could check out the Sketchnote Army Podcast or Verbal to Visual’s youtube course on Sketchnote, which even has a video on how to sketchnote without drawing at all.