2: The Sketchnote Handbook

The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note takingThe Sketchnote Handbook:
the illustrated guide to visual note taking

by Mike Rohde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bought at Chapters on Robson.

Read in January 2014.

View all my reviews

I can’t remember where I saw this mentioned (maybe The Art of Nonconformity?), but it was one of those moments when you instantly identify with the book’s subject. Not an “aha!” moment exactly. More of a “yeah!” moment. So sketchnoting is a thing and someone wrote a book about it.

Doodles always filled the margins of my notes, circled the edges, squeezed the written notes into the center of the page. What I didn’t really do: integrate my doodling with my notes. I didn’t doodle with intention so much as I doodled to stay awake. (The minute I sat down in a classroom and a lecture started, I’d start nodding off. I blame Social Studies 11, which I slept through from start to finish. After that, just sitting in a desk was enough to make me sleepy. Pavlov’s response ftw 😛 )

What this is: a book about visual notetaking (handwriting + drawing). The entire book is handwritten / hand-drawn (no type). It’s filled with tips for taking visual notes—sketchnotes—along with example pages from the notebooks of many different people who take notes this way (showing different styles).

Messages: sketchnotes are fun, easy, personal. Rohde emphasizes that anyone can do this; you don’t have to be an artist. Sketchnotes are about “ideas not art.” He breaks down the various elements of a sketchnote (layout, typography, diagrams, etc.) and encourages you to build a visual library (items you can quickly sketch). There’s a practice section in the last chapter.

My main takeaways from this book: set your doodles free from the margins and incorporate them into your notes. Don’t try to write everything the speaker says down; focus on capturing big ideas. Make your notes pretty in real-time, not after-the-fact. Not only is it more efficient, but if you’re having fun, you won’t fall asleep 😉

Recommended for doodlers and visual-kinesthetic learners.

Some links:

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