Sketchnote Army Podcast: Latest Episode

Sketchnote Army is dedicated to finding and showcasing sketchnotes and sketchnoters from around the world.

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Who is behind Sketchnote Army?

Mike Rohde, creator: Designer, author of The Sketchnote Handbook & Workbook, and illustrator, living in Wisconsin.

Mauro Toselli, curator: IT Director, sketchnoter, author, living in Italy.

Binaebi Akah, curator: Sr. UX Designer, sketchnoter, author, living in Ohio.

How can I be showcased on Sketchnote Army?
Fill this form! It's as simple as that! We would love to feature your work.

Sketchnoter's Stories you may like

Organizing talk with Sketchnote: John Colley

Here is how John Colley use sketchnote to prepare his talks.

He wrote: 

Hi Sketchnote Army! Great to be here. Bought the SN Handbook a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to make a start.

I am a Udemy Instructor and Business Strategist.  This is a note of a talk I gave on Creating Online Courses - From Passion to Profits in Six Steps at New Media Europe #NMEU a few weeks ago.

Can't wait to get SO MUCH better than this - absolutely loving it Best regards

- John
(Captain British Army - Retired!)


Thanks for sharing, John!

- Mauro 


Sketchnoters' Stories - "Sketchnoting Live" by Jacopo Sacquegno

As most doodlers, I believe, I’ve started my practice with the sketchnoting of live events. The first experiences I had with this were for a series of 1-2h long university meetings in Bologna and Bari, made for career guidance for students and recent graduates of my faculty. For these sketchnotes, I used a typical blank page, 13x21cm Moleskine. At first, I was maybe too keen on capturing too many details (something which actually goes against the spirit of visual note-taking), creating extensive sketchnotes at the expense of losing some key point from time to time. Furthermore, I still had to gain confidence about my drawings and when the pace was too fast, I switched from pen to pencil, despite I had a clear idea of what to draw.

What I’ve learned from this: Lesson

1: I needed to focus on listening the key points more and leaving details aside, aiming toshorter and more cohesive final result. Lesson

2: I had to be faster with drawings and enrich my visual vocabulary!

As I practiced more and more, especially with TED videos at home, I could improve in synthesis and writing skills, trying to catch only the essential part of the speech and shortening sentences when the speaker’s words could be expressed more simply. Furthermore, thanks also to the good advice contained in the course by Doug Neill, I started piling up a series of icon to create my personal visual vocabulary. In this way I started drawing more often, more rapidly and more confidently in my sketchnotes without losing time and focus and risking missing key points.


The biggest opportunity to test this presented last October with TEDx Bari, where me and my colleague Giuseppe Berardi managed to get invited to sketchnote all the speeches on big A3 format sheets. To tell you the truth, we did not receive any aid to facilitate our work; being the first edition of the event, organized were almost as unprepared as us. We didn’t have any clue about the speakers’ schedule and they could give us only small hints about what they would have talked about. Furthermore, because of tickets overselling, we were forced to watch the morning speeches in a cinema appropriately arranged for live streaming, with frequent video interruptions.

Nevertheless, we made this a challenging and rewarding graphic recording experience. Giuseppe prepared portraits of the speakers to stick them on the sheets and we equally divided the number of speeches to record between us. It was a very fast-paced process, with only four breaks between 16 speeches and never knowing if the next one was to be visualized by me or Giuseppe. I used these pauses, as well as Giuseppe’s turns to sketch, as downtime to add missing details to previous sketchnotes of mine; I was still so worried about the result that I kept using pencil in this occasion. Anyway, we were able to finish all the sketchnotes almost in time for the end of the event and stick them to the wall for showing.

What I’ve learned from this:

Lesson 1: Try to get prepared as best as you can before sketchnoting an event (e.g. prepare templates with a proper title and author’s portrait; get some info about the speech content; gather icons that can be relevant to the topic).

Lesson 2: Despite the aforementioned preparation, be flexible and ready to face any inconvenient that can challenge your graphic recording session.

You can create also powerful real time sketchnotes if you watch the event comfortably from your home. I was going to attend a convention in Padua organized by the university, named “SciPar – per una scienza partecipata” and focusing on science and research outreach. Eventually I could not go there, so I decided I would make sketchnotes of the speeches watching them on live streaming online and sharing their pictures on Twitter immediately after finishing one. This strategy imposed me to work fast, drawing mostly with pens and markers and without worrying too much on appearance, in favour of clarity and effectiveness. The result was awesome! Twitting sketchnotes made me gain tens of followersand a lot of positive feedback and visibility. Some days later I was even asked by the collaborators of one of the speakers at SciPar (the dear Prof. Cristina Rigutto) to make a sketchnote for her talk at TEDx Assisi.

What I’ve learned from this:

If you cannot be present at an event you intend to sketchnote, try in any case to watch the live streaming (if there is one) and tweet your sketchnotes’ pics in real time; results in terms of idea sharing and visibility are really worth it.


Lastly, I want to tell you about the sketchnotes I made for TEDx Lecce at the beginning of this month. Initially, I tried to strike an opportunity for working as a supported Graphic Recorder. However, things went very differently and I couldn’t get the opportunity. I went there trying to do a good sketchnoting job on my own though, but I was in a really uncomfortable position, couldn’t focus on the speeches and eventually got discouraged and gave up. Nevertheless, I started to take brief notes of the speeches anyway, and I used the same notes later in the next two days to create some of the best sketchnotes I think I’ve ever made. And this time, I used exclusively pen and markers, getting a satisfying result without worrying about typos or drawing mistakes!

What I’ve learned from this:

If you are still interested in creating sketchnotes and publish them after a graphic recording session went bad, you can still take normal notes and visualize them later to save part of the job.

These are my personal experiences and what I’ve learned from them. I hope you can find them useful.

- Jacopo



Love your story, Jacopo!

Thank you for sharing with us!

- Mauro


Sketchnoting books: Karin Perry

Here is an interesting and colorful sketchnote by Karin Perry.

She wrote:

I've been using sketchnoting mostly with YA Literature. After reading/listening to Andrew Smith's 100 SIDEWAYS MILES I created this sketchnote to represent the most important aspects from the book. 

You can see more of her sketchnotes about books on her Tumblr.

A beautiful work Karin!

- Mauro


Sketchnoters' Stories - "Sketchnote is a Good Thing for Education" by Mary Ottenwess



Today's Sketchnoter is Mary Ottenwess and here is her story.



Sketchnote is a Good Thing for Education

I was first introduced to Sketchnoting at the 2015 MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) conference. I had seen sketchnotes before and they intrigued me but I had no idea how to get started. In that one hour session with Karen Bosch, I found a wonderful means of recording ideas, thoughts, quotes and inspirations in a format that I actually enjoyed reviewing and updating. My handwritten notes were always full of doodles in the margin and now I had a means to connect those doodles to the content. I’ve attended many conferences, meetings and webinars since then and I am usually sketchnoting. An artist I’m not but that’s the best part! You don’t have to be! With a few arrows, bullet points, lines and circles you can add some graphical elements that assist with retention of the material. With practice, and a great resource in the The Sketchnote Handbook, you too can be a sketchnoter!


I did a little research to discover why sketchnoting is a good thing for education. Dual coding theory, developed by Paivio (1971), explains that the brain uses two separate but interacting systems of storage for memory: what we hear and what we see. Looking at a visual representation of a concept presented during a lecture prompts the brain to recall the verbal portion. Two paths to a memory are better than one! I also watched Brandy Agerbeck’s Tedx Talk, Shape Your Thinking in which she pointed out that there are two types of thinkers, Auditory/Sequential who think in words and Visual/Spatial who think in pictures. Standard classroom note taking favors the auditory/sequential thinkers who make up only about 37% of the population. Sketchnoting would benefit the other 63% of learners who are more visual in their thinking. That sounded like something our teachers needed to know about. At our next PD session I introduced sketchnotes and the theory behind it. Our art teacher and the doodlers in the audience were intrigued. Next we demonstrated the concept to some of the students. Since we are a 1:1 iPad school our demo included various apps and styli that could be used with their iPads and they were able to choose what worked best for their notes.

Teacher Observation P1

Elizabeth Haley and Ana Mugica-Canos are both student sketchnoters using their iPads throughout their school day. Elizabeth likes sketchnoting because she can group topics by color and uses lines, arrows and brackets to link the concepts and highlight important ideas and has found sketchnoting to be a useful tool to make her notes a better study resource. Ana utilizes elements of sketchnoting for both her artwork and classroom notes. When asked why she enjoyed using the iPad and draw apps in this way she stated, “You can import pictures, so you can take pictures of assignments and notes and using the app, you can write directly on the notes or assignment in your own handwriting. You won't waste paper or supplies doing drafts, you can just edit away on one screen that has multiple layers that can all be edited.” Examples of student sketchnotes are included in my sketchnote Flickr album.

EHaleySketchnoteTeacher Observation P2


AMugicaCanos Sketchnotes

Sketchnotes are also great for classroom observations. I can draw the layout of the classroom, show teacher movement, idea connections and graphically illustrate student engagement with the content. This can be useful when redesigning the layout of the classroom for better movement and workflow. It’s been just a few short months since introducing sketchnoting to our staff and students but we have found the practice to be very beneficial!

Mary Ottenwess, Instructional Technology Specialist @cctechie,
Catholic Central High School



Very interesting and inspiring!

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Mary

- Mauro



Kano Talk Capture at Slush 2014: Kaili Kleemeier

Here a nice sketchnote by Kaili Kleemeier .

She wrote:

Created this sketchnote during Kano talk at Slush. Inspiring talk about creation of the company and why we should be giving children realistic and exciting inspiration about what they can be and do.

You can see other Kaili works on her Pinterest

Beautiful work Kaili!

- Mauro