The Sketchnote Workbook Featured Sketchnoter: Umm Sultan

Today's guest is Umm Sultan

Umm's bio on Twitter say:

Muslim, Sketchnoter, Idea-Junkie, aspiring Mompreneur, Interested in Teaching & Learning in the 21st Century. Sharing things I find interesting & beneficial.

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

The infamous RSA Animate video of Sir Ken Robinson's speech on Changing Education Paradigms. At the time I first saw it I was in grad school studying how to create e-learning courses and I just thought that the whiteboard animation videos were such a great way to teach/deliver content that was engaging. I ended up discovering that there are a whole world of people who do this on a big scale (like graphic recorders), and small scale (like sketch noters). I was fortunate to take a course with Christina Merkley on Visual/Graphic Recording, and just started sketch noting to exercise my visual thinking muscles. At this point I haven't done much graphic recording at all but I'm addicted to sketchnotes!

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

I'd say one unexpected way it's impacted my life is that I started on my own visual thinking journey when my oldest son was only four. He's now seven, and really loves to draw and uses sketch notes (currently more pictures than words) to express ideas, retell stories and TV shows, and even sketchnotes his own version of lectures I'm listening to if he's in the room. I feel lucky that I became hip to the value of visual thinking early on before he started formal school so that I can be an advocate for him. For me personally sketch noting has helped me to listen more deeply. I used to listen to speeches/lectures while I was cooking, driving, etc. attempting to multitask and not giving my full attention. Now that I'm committed to taking and sharing my notes I'm forced to sit down and focus which has improved my own learning.

3. Sketchnotes: digital or analogical? Why?

Currently, I'm an analog person. I usually take my notes on paper and then scan them into the computer. I would like to explore ways to take my notes and make them more "clickable" linking certain parts back to the original content, a relevant article or something like that.

 4. Share a Sketchnote secret tip with us!

When you are first starting out and you don't have a lot of images in your personal visual library The Noun Project, or clip art searches on Google Images will usually turn up some easy icons that you can draw. I also like looking at the ways other people in the Visual Thinking community represent certain concepts, if I see something I really like I'll screen shot it and put it in my Viz Library folder on Dropbox or Evernote.

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

I would love to see that eventually taking sketchnotes as just normal, where there's no need to justify it to your teacher or your boss, people just get it.

 Bonus. The Sketchnote Workbook: can you tell us something about it?

I really love the diversity in both books and that Mike isn't saying "You HAVE to do sketchnotes my way!" I appreciate that the Sketchnote Workbook really opened up a world of possibilities so that even those of us who have been using sketchnoting, are able to apply it in new ways.


We thank you Umm for sharing with us.

You can find more about her and her works on:


Sketchnoting at Total Customer Experience Summit: Bobby Meeks

First Sketchnote: Dina