The Sketchnote Workbook featured Sketchnoter: Francis Rowland

Today's guest is Francis Rowland

Francis's bio on Twitter say:

UX designer @emblebi; sketchnoter, aikidoka, family guy. Co-organiser of @camusability. Science, scones and data visualisation.

1. Tell us when you first met Sketchnote/Visual art

I think it was around 2009 or 2010, and I was already doodling in the notes I took at talks and in workshops. I was at a conference in London, though, where I happened to sit next to Eva-Lotta Lamm, and I was astounded by what she was doing. That really inspired me to try harder and do more, and from there it grew.

 2. How this impacted on your life/work/thinking?

I use sketching a lot in my work as a UX designer, and simply the practice of regularly doing lots of sketchnoting has fed back into that in terms of fluidity and speed. Sketchnoting itself means that I really engage with what I'm hearing, and try to capture it, and to process it, too - I genuinely use my sketchnotes, so they have real value to me. Beyond that, though, I am invited to conferences and other events, both home and abroad, to make sketchnotes or to talk about making them. It's a privilege to go to new places, meet people, and learn from them. And hey, I've made lots of new friends, too!

3. Sketchnotes: digital or analogical? Why?

Always analogical. I like the feedback from the pens I use, and knowing which ones are going to work best. I like good quality paper. I like having tangible artifacts of the things I've made sketchnotes for, so that I can flick back through them and find things that I want to refer to. And I don't own a tablet device, so...

 4. Share a Sketchnote secret tip with us!

OK, something apart from "practice your handwriting"?! Well, for me, sketchnotes are about capturing, processing and sharing information, and I think it's worth aiming to be good at that, even before worrying about drawing and lettering - I'm not sure that qualifies as a secret tip but there you have it! The best sketchnotes I see are ones that I can read like a concentrated summary with pictures. So get feedback on your notes, and study other people's. Did you understand correctly? Are you communicating information well? Are they? Do you understand it? Do other people? Any critique you can get will help you refine what you do.

 5. What future do you foresee for Sketchnote/Visual Arts?

I think the subjects will change and expand, and I suspect there will be a lot more digital sketchnotes. There are some areas where there has been a LOT of sketchnoting and maybe people are going to get a little tired of it there, and we may see less of it. Conversely, though, there are areas where it is new and exciting, and those will bubble up in what people share online.


We thank you Francis for sharing with us.

You can find more about him and his works on:




First Sketchnotes: Sebastiana Magnotti

Sir Ken Robinson TED talk capture: Jan Günther