Become a Sketchnoter

Learn to sketchnote!

Diagram of how to take graphic notes
Become a sketch noter...

You're in a meeting or a lecture. It's important and you’re interested, but the lights just went down for the PowerPoint, and you're afraid of dozing off after lunch. You want to concentrate! Taking graphic notes will help you do just that, and research shows it will also aid in memory retention. Grab your pen and a notepad--they're all you need. Just go for it! Some tips:

a) Listen. Listen for the essence. Don't get distracted by too many bullet points or general wordiness.
b) Don't know where this talk is going? Start in the center of the page so you won't run out of paper.
c) Think hierarchy. Bigger > smaller > smallest. Bolder > normal > light. Caps > printed > script.
d) Make containers (boxes) to group content.
e) Connect the containers with different kinds of lines.
f) Finish. At the end of the talk you can add shading, make additional connections. Work fast. Did any questions after the talk clarify things for you? Add them. Add color if you want.

When I'm doing graphic recording, I get a lot of comments. Often, it's something like "Wow, I could never do that." I'm a strict egalitarian when it comes to art -- remember, we all drew as children! -- but if you look at the example above, I haven't asked you to draw anything more than a goofy face with ears. You can draw two boxes and connect them with a line!

Next time, we'll dive deeper into the first step, which is listening.

Until then, have fun sketchnoting!