World Sketchnote Day

It's world Sketchnote day today! A chance for the sketchnoting community to celebrate this under-appreciated form of note-taking.

I first encountered sketchnoting through Mike Rohde's sketchnotes. I found that sketchnotes provided a way of organising visual notes more linearly.

Before I started using sketchnotes, though, I used mind maps. I've been a user of mind maps for almost three decades now. When I was studying for my exams in high school, my uncle introduced me to mind mapping. I used them extensively while studying. I can still remember the epic four-page mind maps I created for each topic.

Mind maps, like sketchnotes, are visual. However, unlike sketchnotes, they are organised radially with a central topic in the middle and sub-topics emitting out like spokes on a bike.

One minor gripe with mind mapping is that it is always difficult to gauge how much space you need for the final mind map. Sub-topics can grow out from their designated areas on the page, and despite having some idea of how much space you need, I always found that I ran out of room.

With sketchnotes, though, it allows you to be more linear with arranging your notes. Although sketchnotes on a topic might cover a couple of pages or more, they are linear, making for little wasted space and is easier to read.

I still use mind maps on the odd occasion for outlining or doing a brain dump, but for taking notes, I use sketchnotes. I also keep a log of the events of the day using sketchnotes. I call this my minilog. I keep it in a series of Field Notes notebooks.

After a long spell of not sketchnoting, I'm happy to say that over the last few months, I back to using it daily again and enjoying it over the previous few months.

You can use any notebook and pen combination for sketchnoting, but after a few trials with different notebooks and pens, I found the following selections good for my sketchnotes.
I also have two Sketchnote Ideabooks, but I haven't taken these out of the wrapper yet. I want to use them, but I just haven't got around to them yet.

If you want to get started on sketchnoting, check out Mike Rohde's sketchnote page. It has lots of free material to get you started. If you need some inspiration, there are also many examples of other people's sketchnotes on Twitter.

Permalink / Tags: notebooks, Twitter, sketchnotes, mindmaps

Matthew Lang

Freelance web developer specialising in Ruby on Rails