Here are some examples of different lettering styles that you can try. Some of them (like Chisel or Reverse) may be easier to do digitally than on paper. Click on the image to view or download a larger version, and have fun practicising. Enjoy!
I write in print instead of cursive because this is easier to read. Computers seem to be better at understanding printed letters instead of cursive. (I use Evernote to search my notes.) For emphasis, I sometimes use Multiple (draw the same letter twice), or Bold if I can anticipate the need to switch pens.
Got any favourite quick lettering techniques? I’d love to see them! Post links below, or e-mail me at [email protected] .
Color is a great way to add visual interest and guide people’s eyes to what you want them to focus on. Here’s Kevin Dulle’s sketchnote lesson on adding emphasis with shadows and color:
Reposted with permission – check out his blog for more tips!
If you’re starting out with sketchnotes, you don’t have to use color right away. Go ahead and draw with whatever you feel comfortable with, whether that’s a black technical pen, a 4-color ballpen, or a digital stylus.
You can always add color afterwards. On paper, you can use crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, markers, and so on. Make sure you test it in an inconspicuous area (maybe on a separate piece of paper) because your coloring method may interact badly with your drawing.
You can also add color on the computer. I prefer this way because then I can easily change my mind about what colors to use. Erasing is easier. Learn how to use the software tools that are out there. Here is a quick video I put together on how to use the free GIMP tool to add color by either replacing the ink that’s there (as if you changed pens) or adding color on top (as if you used a highlighter).
Okay, so that takes care of the mechanics. What about the styles?
Develop your personal style by looking for inspiration and experimenting with ideas. In addition to checking out people’s sketchnotes, look elsewhere for interesting color combinations: nature, art, product designs, and so on. Try different techniques and colors.
Here’s a sampler of different coloring styles I’ve played with in my sketchnotes:
In addition to drawing icons, you can also play with the forms of words in order to make them more fun or visually interesting. Here are some examples. Click on the image to view or download a larger version that you can trace or doodle on, and feel free to share this with others. (Creative Commons Attribution License)
Banners and ribbons are a quick way to emphasize parts of your drawing. Instead of drawing the banner and then trying to fit the text into it, try drawing the text first and then drawing the banner around it. Here’s a step-by-step example.
1. Draw the text with plenty of space around it
2. Draw a box around the text.
3. Add two small triangles below the box.
4. Draw horizontal lines extending beyond the triangle, and another set of lines the same distance from the top of the box.
5. Add a ribbon edge if you want, or use a straight line.
Want to get fancy? Add some shading, add more folds, and so on.
Here are some examples that you can practise with:
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