Read This Book: The Sketchnote Handbook
The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note-taking
On the flight to ISTE a few weeks ago, I brought along The Sketchnote Handbook. This book hooked me within a few pages. As I took sketchnotes throughout the conference (see them in my post) I could immediately see my skills improving.
I’m relatively new to sketchnoting in a formal sense. I got started after attending an EdCampMagic session Amber McCormick. I bought The Sketchnote Handbook while sitting in the session because I knew that this was right for me. If you’ve been thinking about trying sketchnoting, this book is a FANTASTIC resource to get you started. Here’s why:
Sketchnotes tell the story
Many people tell me they can’t create sketchnotes because they can’t draw. You can draw; you just need to awaken your grade school skills. KIDS draw constantly! They doodle ideas with ease and will draw what they imagine without a second thought. Guess what? You were a kid once: I bet you drew like crazy.
I think if this book had been text heavy with minimal visuals, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as powerful. To create this book, the author sketchnoted every single page. If you’ve never had exposure to sketchnotes before, this is an amazing way to see how they work in action.
The 5 Basic Elements
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they can’t do sketchnotes because they aren’t good at drawing. But Rohde reminds us that ANYONE can sketchnote. He offers up five simple elements to make any drawing: circle, square, triangle, dot and line. While some sketches might get a little more complicated than this, it is possible to sketch a huge number of things with just these elements.
Variety of sketchnote styles shown
Sketchnoting is art and every artist will have his/her own style. This book features the work of a variety of sketchnoters in addition to the author, allowing the reader to be exposed to many different styles. Albeit, most of these people are professional graphic designers, so the sketchnotes are much more complex than what your average Joe might draw.
Exercises to practice your sketching and lettering
Several guided exercises help you build up your sketchnoting repertoire. In one exercise, you get to add facial expressions to cartoon characters. In another, you have to use the 5 basic elements to sketch items in your kitchen. I really liked the lettering practice section, since I tend to be self-conscious about my handwriting. Rohde’s followup, The Sketchnote Workbook, contains more exercises like this, so I might be getting that next.
Check out The Sketchnote Handbook
Whether you’re an experienced artist and designer or someone who likes to doodle on their notes, sketchnoting can be a powerful tool that can transform the way you participate in conferences and talks. The Sketchnote Handbook is a great way to kickstart your sketchnoting journey. This fantastic resource offers beautiful examples from a variety of sketchnoters that are sure to inspire.
Have you read The Sketchnote Handbook? What is your favorite thing to sketch?
More recommended sketchnote resources:
(Some recommended by me, others by The Sketchnote Handbook)
- The Doodle Revolution
- The Non-designer’s Design Book
- The Sketchnote Workbook
- Visual Note-taking for Educators
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