Visual Notetaking 101

sketchnotesI’m becoming a visual note-taking junkie. Now in addition to registering forĀ Alphachimp University’s Rockstar Scribe course, I’ve signed up for Sunni Brown’s Visual Notetaking 101 online webinar.

The former is more of an asynchronous online class with a forum and exercises, and the latter a series of videos, both aiming to teach writers and communicators how to use iconic illustrations and handwritten typography to express information visually (here is a particularly amazing version of what this looks like, but you don’t have to be an artist to do it). I already posted about Sunni Brown on Strikethru a bit ago; in that post you can get a glimpse of the kind of material covered in her webinars.

Types of sketchnoting

Apparently there are graphic recorders, who visually interpret meetings on the fly, in large scale, by way of a profession, and then there are sketchnoters, simply people who incorporate sketches into their notes.

I’d like to do yet a third thing with the form: use sketchnote techniques to present information to an audience. Not capture it on the fly, in a live meeting setting, but use it as documentation that persists online or elsewhere to explain things in a more interesting way, a sort of graphic novel version of static web pages with those smiling idiots in the banner across the top, you know the ones I mean?

I’m convinced by the argument most sketchnote luminaries make, that we process most of our information visually, a channel that is hugely wasted by all the talk and writing that we currently lean so heavily on to communicate (oddly this does not appear to be changing, despite the fact that it would be a snap to incorporate more visuals into our now-ubiquitous screen-based communication tools).

Some of this thinking is behind my other site Strikethru and the whole concept of typecasting (posting typewritten documents) – that reading is a visual experience, and we crave something beyond Ariel 10 pt and smiling people banners- but I think it has professional application as well as artistic, and I’m hoping all of these sketchnoting classes get me closer to figuring out what that might look like.



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  1. thanks for the mention, glad you like the work.

  2. Cheryl


    Yours are very inspired and sophisticated examples of graphic recording, I’m in awe!

  3. Cheryl, thanks for the mention of Sketchnote Army!

    I think your approach of presenting information in sketchnote form is an interesting idea indeed. I’ve done a bit of that with presentations and it seems to be well received.

    If you have work that you’re experimenting with, please do send it along, so I can feature it on Sketchnote Army to inspire others.


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