Mike Rohde, author of the Sketchnote Handbook and Workbook, coined the term for the method of note-taking combining both visual and text elements to make sketchnotes. His Handbook explains the the how and why of sketchnotes with easy guidance for how to get started, even for non-artists.
Me, I call mine “doodle-notes,” but it’s the same concept. And I started making them after I spotted Mike Rohde’s pocket-sized moleskin notebook at the SXSW bookstore, complete with “how-to” instructions as liner notes.
See, I had already run across Dan Roam’s book, Blah-Blah-Blah or What to Do When Words Won’t Work, and that started me down the doodle rabbit hole. When I further discovered Sunni Brown & The Doodle Revolution, I dove in full force, wielding pencils and pens to record notes at conferences, presentations, and meetings.
Since then, doodles and sketchnotes have been popping up all over the place. Visual facilitators illustrate conference keynotes and entire conferences support a growing cadre of practitioners and even us amateurs.
See, the thing is, doodling a sketchnote actually improves your ability to retain the information you are listening to — more so than taking text-notes or reviewing recordings. As recently as last week, the New York Times ran an article entitled, “A Simple Way to Better Remember Things: Draw a Picture,” extolling the virtues of drawing to aid in memory retention. researchers confirming the effect theorize that perhaps drawing involves “a seamless integration of semantic, visual and motor aspects of a memory trace.”
Currently, I am rather out of practice. When I lived in Austin, I had at least one great monthly opportunity at the Creative Mornings meetings, and used my doodle-notes as a way to connect with the speakers.
The first time I tweeted one out after the meeting, the speaker quickly responded, “Nobody ever doodled me before! Can I use that on my website?”
Here in Cañon City, it’s been mostly shorter presentations (15-20 minutes) and meetings where I take doodle-notes. Oh, and videos, especially TED talks. Of course, I have SXSWedu coming up in a couple of months, and I always enjoy doodling my notes there. Even when I start the conference somewhat out of practice on taking my doodl-notes, I’m pretty well tuned back in by the end.
Whether your notes are doodles or sketches, here’s to a day of visual note-taking on World Sketchnote Day 2019!