Sketchnote Army Podcast: Latest Episode

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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

Introducing Sketchnote to School of Visual Communication at Ohio University students: Julie M. Elman

We are very excited to introduce our guest: 

Julie M. Elman.

Julie teaches Publication Design at Ohio University (School of Visual Communication) and when our friend Scott Torrance (thank you so much Scott!) introduced  her to us, we instantly fell in love with her project.

She wrote

... I often talk about the different ways to brainstorm and develop ideas/concepts. I think sketchnoting will bring a whole new (and exciting) dimension to this process. 

I’ll be introducing the background info and the how-to’s of sketchnoting to students who’ll be part of a study abroad program in Edinburgh. 


Ok, let’s jump into the project! Here are Julie's notes about the project and some great sketchnotes from her students.


In all the years I’ve been teaching and practicing publication design, I had not run across Mike Rohde's concept of “sketchnoting" — but the moment I did, a couple of things clicked. One, I knew that sketchnoting could be easily integrated into a study abroad curriculum I had been preparing for this summer. And two, I realized that in all the years I had talked about developing concepts when teaching design, I had never truly deconstructed the process of sketching as a way to generate ideas and increase understanding. I assumed that when I asked students to "create sketches before heading onto the computer,” they would know what to do. But really, they didn’t. 

From mid-July to mid-August, 17 students and three faculty members (including myself) were part of the Scotland Field School, a study-abroad program based in Edinburgh. (This program is part of the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.) For the past 30 years, the Scotland Field School focused solely on documentary photography. This summer was the first time design was introduced into the mix — and the first time I had been part of this program. Of this year’s group of students who traveled to Scotland, four were publication design majors.

While in Scotland, I knew that getting the students past the “I can’t draw” hurdle would be tough — and I was right. Student Caylie Runnels, in reflecting about her experience, wrote, “My main challenges were the sketchnotes and getting over my hatred of drawing and having it be shown to people. I hate doing things I’m not good at, and having to show and do it in front of other people is very frustrating, but I tried to do the best I could.” Her thoughts were echoed by the other three design students.

Despite their initial resistance and fears of exposing “unfinished” work, they forged ahead with their sketchnotes. (The general focus of these was on people, places, things — not meetings.) While they oftentimes cringed at their squiggly lines and stick people (their inner critics had gone wild), I was delighted with what they came up with. Watching them undergo this process made me realize that sharing unfinished, sketch-y work was a vulnerable event.  In the end, what they produced was a wonderful complement to the student photographers’ images. Bringing together the different ways of seeing, the design students created a magazine that encompassed all of the students' creative work: photographs, sketchnotes, infographics and personal mini-essays. 

I believe that sketchnoting was critical in helping these design students see Scotland in ways they would not have seen had they not stopped to observe the country through their pens and notebooks. In addressing how she might apply what she learned during this trip, Caylie Runnels wrote, “I realized I need to take a step back and slow down my process sometimes and not worry what everything looks like at the very beginning of the process — because that’s what it is. A process.”

— Julie M. Elman  



“Things ewe might not know” sketchnote by Caylie Runnels. “Sketchnoting was very effective in the beginning (of the trip) when I was just learning,” Caylie wrote, when looking back on the entire experience. "It was an excellent way to observe.” Caylie took a more conceptual approach to this sketchnote by concentrating on interesting facts about sheep — and odd, archaic laws in Scotland. Caylie graduated from Ohio University in August.




“Cooking in the Castle” sketchnote by Emily Wolfe. In this sketchnote, Emily looked at some of the kitchen lore from Stirling Castle. “I really think in hindsight the sketchnotes were a great addition to the assignments,” Emily wrote. Emily will be a sophomore at Ohio University this fall. She’s also a self-described “foodie."



“Royal Botanic Gardens” sketchnote by Katy Schwarz. Katy explored the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and created a sketchnote that was a collection of facts about this place. “The assignment to me that was the most challenging was the one that sounds the simplest — sketchnotes,” she wrote. "I really struggled with finding a balance between making it a drawing and making it a journal entry. I found myself wanting to just draw a picture of what I did/saw, but a sketchnote is more than that.” Katy will be a sophomore at Ohio University this fall.




“St. Andrews” by Molly Dixon. Molly focused on sketchnoting the world-famous links course at St. Andrews.“ Sketchnoting was really useful and interesting in the first portion of the trip, and helped me get a sense for where we were and take in all we were experiencing.” Molly will be a junior at Ohio University this fall.



 You can find more about  the School of Visual Communication on:

@viscomohiou (twitter + instagram)



Such a great read Julie!

Thank you for sharing with us. All of these sketchnotes look FANTASTIC!

We are very excited to see teachers and students applying sketchnotes in innovative ways—especially when it helps learners understand and remember more of what they are learning.

Let your students know we love new submissions here at Sketchnote Army!

- Mauro & Mike



Midori Traveler's Notebook SketchnoteArmy Review

Midori Travelers Notebook, unwrapped. Simple beauty.

Almost everyone here knows about Midori Traveler's Notebook. For those who don't here is a quick description.

Midori is a Japanese brand who produce top quality paper products and stationery since 1950. One of the most successfull products in their range is the Traveler's Notebook. The majority of the owners of this notebook simply call it Midori, and so do we.

Beloved by lots of sketchnoters and doodlers across the world, its concept is to be "a notebook to accompany the user on their every day journey through life." Its first appearence on the market was back in March 2006. Since then, Midori has been the notebook of choice for a huge number of people of all ages.

Midori is, in fact, "a system". It comes in 2 sizes: regular (H218mm x W130mm) and passport (H134mm x W105mm). The starter kit includes a cotton bag, a leather cover, a blank notebook and spare rubber band. As you can see on their website there is a whole range of accessories to customize your Midori.

And this is the secret of its success: customization! People at Midori ar very proud of this and they set a special section in their website where you can find tons of incredible hacks and inspirations.

Mauro's Experience.

First of all, the exact moment it land on you desk you realize almost instantly that it is something special. It's a pleasure to unpack it, savoring each one of those tiny details.

Midori Travelers Notebook just arrived this weekend. My #Midori traveler's notebook is arrived!!! cc @maccymacx @provence_dessinauteur @rohdesign


Then you start thinking how to customize it, how to make it yours. Here are a couple of pictures of a pen holder I created.


Sewing the elastic band - #Midori  hacks #Midori pen holder hack

And here a short timelapse video about how our friend Dr. Makayla Lewis hacked her Midori: 


Once you finish hacking, it's time to put your Midori to work. And this is where I encountered my challenge: I fell into the "this is so beautiful and I must only use it for something special" syndrome. 


Use it, love it, live it. The more you use it, the more beautiful it becomes. Finally I broke the ice and I fully enjoied the quality of Midori paper. I love the texture and even found it works very well with my Lamy Safari. My go-to pens for Midori are Sakura Micron 0.3 and 0.5 and Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint 0.5 . 

Design Thinking course notes on #Midori #todaysdoodle Few more hours to fix magic moments on my #Midori Requiem for a fantastic strudel #Midori #todaysdoodle Plose: my favorite water ever!

Ivan Seymus's Experience

And now I would like to introduce our friend Ivan Seymus. Here is a superb video about his Midori Traveler's Notebook.


Mike Rohde's Experience

Finally, here is a note from Sketchnote Army founder Mike Rohde about his experience with his Midori:

"When I first opened my Midori, I was impressed with the feel of the leather and the unique tall, narrow shape of the book. I wasn't sure how the Midori might fit into my workflow, so I decided to carry it along for a few months and experiment.

I used it for various things I might use another sketchbook for: taking notes in a meeting about a project, sketching ideas for a logo, exploring book illustration concepts and capturing sketchnotes from sermons. It was an interesting experience.

Sermon Sketchnote

The more I used the book, the more I appreciated the MD paper that's great for ink or pencil, the thick leather cover and simple elastic strap and that only looks more awesome the more use it gets. It's quirky in a very lovable way.

Logo Sketches

Through my experiment I've realized that the tall size isn't ideal for the way I work, and that the Passport size would be perfect for me, because it fits perfectly with the Hobonichi Techo logbook and its leather cover I've had made for it.

My advice with new books and pens: try them out and experiment! You'll never know how a tool will work in your life until you take an extended test drive.


Kopywriting webinar capture: Matt Sandrini

Here is a nice sketchnote by Matt Sandrini

He wrote>:

I started Sketchnoting in 2013, and the more I did it the more I wanted to know more about it. Recently, I mixed sketch noting and mind mapping, and it works great for me. I used to be the one taking sloppy notes at University, filling page after page and never looking back at them.
Now every time I have to brainstorm, I am learning something, or I want to clear my mind about a decision, I just sketchnote!
This one in particular was taken while I was listening to a webinar on kopywriting by Neville Medhora.

I like the radial structure and colors highlights!

- Mauro


Cartoons and Sketchnote: Chris Lysy

We are happy to feature Chris Lysy's work.

He wrote:

Big thank you to Mike for sharing my cartoon on Twitter.

For the last several years I've drawn cartoons on concepts related to research and evaluation. Although my cartoons tend to be stand-alone, I follow a very similar process to the sketchnote one laid in Mike's book...

Don't miss Chris's blog for more cartoons.

Interesting approach, Chris!

- Mauro


re:publica 15 in Berlin: Tanja Wehr

Here is a sketchnote Tanja Wehr captured at  re:publica 15 in Berlin.

She wrote:

Hi Sketchnotearmy-Team,

my name is Tanja and I am a sketchnoter from Germany. I am following your page since ages but now I feel fine to submit a bit of my work as well.

The Sketchnotes are done during the re:publica 15 in Berlin.
The first is a little collection of more general observations and impressions I gathered while attending this great event and the second is the sketchnote of the inspiring talk of Johanna Frelin CEO of the year 2013 who talked about Self-Leadership.
I hope you like it. 

You can see the other sketchnote on her blog post.

We do love it, Tanja! 

- Mauro