The Sketchnote Workbook Featured Sketchnoter: Jono Hey

Today's guest is Jono Hey

Jono's bio on Twitter say:

Design rocks my world. I work at Nutmeg - side project:

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

I have a product design and engineering background so I've always been sketching and I've always found mindmapping helps my thinking. Later, when working at Jump Associates in California, with some talented visualisers, I learned and saw first-hand the value of quickly and effectively visualising conversations and ideas - how it improves the discussion in the moment and the recollection, shareability and discussion afterwards. We helped each other get better at listening, synthesizing, capturing and communicating clearly. It's something I continued and use daily in my work as a UX designer, and in 2013 I took on the challenge of explaining one thing a day in a sketch to help improve my skills - sketchplanations. I always sketchnote at conferences and talks and it always gets a good reaction. I like to think I have several handy skills, but the one that always gets comments is my handwriting - so much so that I decided I ought to add it as a skill to my LinkedIn profile.

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

Everyone finds their own ways to help their working and thinking methods best. Many people I know prefer to start a fresh Word document and just start writing. But I find that starting with a Mindmap helps me think things through the best, and whenever I’m considering designs, it’s easiest to start with a sketch and see where it takes me. Getting things down is an iterative process - it’s the simplest prototype and it prompts new thinking and ideas that wouldn’t have happened if I’d kept juggling the ideas in my head. I find making sketchnotes at talks and conferences has helped me in many ways. It helps me pay more attention, and focus on what’s important. It helps me process the information better as I consider how to note it, and it helps me remember it thanks to the process of taking notes and the quickly scannable record it provides. Finally it helps me share it with others, which helps solidify it again in my mind. Doing this enough has helped me get more value out of my time wherever I find myself gathering information and I have surely learned more as a result.

3. Sketchnotes: digital or analogical? Why?

I still go analog. Over many years I've refined the right toolset for me and I find a large notebook, and a set of high quality pens helps me work best. I go for extra-large, soft cover, dotted Moleskines with a grey Copic marker and a small set of coloured finepoint Uniball Vision Elite pens. I pretty much always have four pens in my pocket. Ha! It’s definitely not to say that I won’t go digital - I often pine for the abilities of digital when I’d like to use layers, copies, save and share quickly and correct mistakes. But I’m yet to feel as good with a stylus on glass, have a tablet that is large enough and doesn’t feel too heavy or expensive to always be carrying around along with my football gear, and I like the physical, visible record of the work that lingers on my shelves and in previous pages that I lose if I save files to a folder and then forget about them. But surely, like digital photography, it will only keep getting better, so no doubt I’ll move over at some point.

 4. Share a Sketchnote secret tip with us!

What I have found is that having high quality paper and pens makes for a beautiful product. And having a beautiful product makes me respect and work harder on the content. And, perhaps most importantly, it makes me take pride in the notes and sketches I'm making so that I find I make more effort, think and try harder and produce something better. It's a virtuous circle. Sure you can, famously, note down great ideas on the back of a napkin (though that's more about keeping materials to hand). But I've noticed that if you settle for whatever low quality notebooks, paper and pens you happen to pick up - those crappy cheap biros in the work stationery cupboard, for example - the result is almost never pleasing and so people don’t take pride in the notes they’re taking, and consequently care less about the content, so things tend to degrade as a result. So my tip really, is to find some nice materials - analog or digital - that help you produce a result that you take pride in. I hope you will feel and notice the difference.

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

I always counter when people tell me they can’t draw. My view is that everyone, should they choose and want to commit to drawing and sketching, will comfortably get to a high quality if they wish and apply themselves. I’m encouraged by books like The Sketchnote Workbook, Urban Sketching, and The Back of the Napkin and the general movement for more people to get sketching and visualising. I believe, by walking through from the simplest of tasks that anyone can do, with concrete, practical examples, that they help anyone realise that they can communicate and think effectively through visuals and sketches. You don’t have to be Leonardo Da Vinci to produce something that’s useful, effective and actually fun to produce and share. Certainly more satisfying and effective than some boxes and arrows on a slide or paragraphs of text. So I guess I see the future as expanding and opening up sketching as a tool to anyone, and hopefully banishing the myth that “I can’t draw.”


We thank you Jono for sharing with us.

You can find more about him and his works on:


Sketchnoting the "Sketchnote guy" at iCON-Prague: Kristýna Šťastová

An Event Apart 2013 Sketchnote Captures: Corrie Haffly