Sketchnote Lessons

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Sketchnote Lesson: Metaphors

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

A fun way to build your visual vocabulary is to explore metaphors and clichés. While you should minimize the use of clichés in writing, they frequently show up in speech, and drawing them can make your sketchnotes more visually interesting.

Here’s a sampler of metaphors based on an exercise I did in the Rockstar Scribe class. Some of them didn’t resonate as much with me, so I replaced them with similar metaphors. For example, I don’t really use “against the tide” that much, so I drew a stick figure rolling a boulder up hill. If you play around with these ideas, I’m sure you can come up with even more!

Assorted metaphors

The Internet has lots of collections of cliches and figures of speech. ClicheSite has a searchable index. Metaphors.com focuses just on metaphors. There are plenty of ideas to practise with – Enjoy!

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« Sketchnote lessons: Stick figuresSketchnote Lessons: How do you want to grow as a sketchnoter? »

Visual thinking: build your visual library

I’ve written about my process for breaking down inspiring sketchnotes and building a visual dictionary/thesaurus. Tom suggested that I put together an Evernote shared notebook where I can share examples with you. Since I can’t share my main visual library because it uses snippets of other people’s sketchnotes, I’ve been slowly building up a visual library based on my own sketches. As you’ll see, I have a very simple vocabulary! Here’s my process for building my vocabulary:

2013_10_09_17_05_50_004

And here’s the actual library as an Evernote shared notebook. So far, it includes elements from my sketchnotes from 2013. I’m looking forward to adding more sketches from previous years and my daily sketches, and redrawing some of the more common terms I’ve seen in other people’s sketches.

This is what it looks like in Evernote:

image

Enjoy! I’d love to see your visual library/dictionary/thesaurus. Evernote looks like an excellent tool for creating and sharing these, and I hope you’ll put one together for yourself too. Feel free to browse through and use mine!

https://www.evernote.com/pub/sachac/vocab

Drawing practice: Daily drawing

Instead of sharing a sketchnoting tip, I thought I’d write about a new habit that I’m working on forming: drawing my thoughts every day. It turns out that this is a great way to think about stuff and practice drawing at the same time.

I find it difficult to draw a visual journal because I don’t think the everyday details of my life are all that interesting. On the other hand, I really like the way drawing helps me think through stuff. Instead of drawing what I had for lunch, then, I pick an idea or question I want to explore, and then I start writing. Sometimes I’ll add little sketchnote-y doodles. Sometimes the page is full of text. I always end up learning a little more or having a clearer understanding, so it all works out.

The sketchnotes are more fun to create and easier to share than writing text notes or making simple mindmaps. They’re also easier to review. I scan my sketchnotes every day and import them into Evernote and Flickr, and I’ve flipped through my digital copies a few times already.

I fill way more pages when I use drawing as a tool for thinking instead of just as a tool for recording other people’s thoughts. I’ve been averaging 6 notes a day at about 20 minutes a note, and I consider it time well spent. As I get the hang of doing this, maybe my notes will be more creative and more elaborate. We’ll see!

Don’t limit sketchnoting to drawing other people’s thoughts or save it only for brainstorming on special occasions. Use it every day as a tool for helping you think! =)

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Here are some things I’ve been thinking about:

I’ve also been drawing my daily plans (08-Oct-13, 07-Oct-13, 06-Oct-13) and weekly reviews.

Do you sketch your thoughts? Try making it a daily habit!

Sketchnote Lessons: How do you want to grow as a sketchnoter?

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

20131002 How do you want to grow as a sketchnoter

It’s good to think about how you want to grow, collect examples, break down those goals into specific skills you can work on, and practise. You can see how I’ve been practising and sharing different skills in my sketchnote lessons. =) Focusing on one skill at a time makes it easier to try different variations and learn more.

By the way, if you would like to practise by making your own sketchnote lessons, please feel free to share your work with me and I can link to it or repost it in this series.

Enjoy!

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« Sketchnote Lesson: Metaphors

Sketchnote Lessons: Adding Emphasis

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

If you emphasize parts of your sketches, you make it easier to review and “read.”

20130925 Sketchnote Lessons - Adding Emphasis

Color, weight, spacing, contrast, underline, depth, highlighter, size, all caps, lettering, reverse, layout, boxes, banners, arrows, icons, stick figures, and other drawings… Have fun!

Like this? Check out the other sketchnote lessons and learn more. Feel free to suggest topics, ask questions, or share your own tips!

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« Sketchnote Lesson: Adding colorSketchnote Lessons: Having fun with words »

Sketchnote Lesson: Adding color

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

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:

using-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:

image Highlighter
I like this because it’s super-easy to add quickly if you’re drawing digitally – just add a new layer below your text.
Visual Book Review: The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast
image Color as accent for images
You can add this while drawing by switching between pens (on paper) or between colors (if digital), or you can use the Color layer trick in the video to add it afterwards.
How to use Evernote to improve your visual thinking
image Colors with meanings
Here I used red to indicate the path of my mistakes and blue to indicate what I could improve.
An embarrassing failure is the result of a series of unfortunate decisions, and that’s a good thing.
image Emphasis
Red is a great color for drawing attention. Coloring your headlines helps set them apart.
Visual Book Review: Running Lean – Ash Maurya
image Extra information
You can also use gray or lighter colours to include extra information that people don’t need to focus on.
Visual Book Review: The Start-Up of You – Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha
image Depth
You can use a lighter colour for shading or depth.
Visual Book Review: The Sketchnote Handbook
image Branding
Pick up colors from company logos or event materials to make your sketchnotes look more like part of the event.
Sketchnotes: #INNOTalkTO Innovatively Speaking
image Lots of colors
This is fun to do when you have more time. In this case, I colored in my sketchnote while waiting in line for an “autograph.”
Sketchnotes: How to Live an Amazing Life – C.C.Chapman

Sketchnote Army has a wide variety of sketchnoting styles. Flip through it, see what you like, and try playing around with those ideas. Have fun!

Like this? Check out the other sketchnote lessons and learn more. Feel free to suggest topics, ask questions, or share your own tips!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Quick LetteringSketchnote Lessons: Adding Emphasis »

Sketchnote Lessons: Having fun with words

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

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)

20130909 Sketchnote Lessons - Playing With Words

See http://sach.ac/sketchnote-lessons for the other tips in this series, and check back next Thursday for more!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Adding EmphasisSketchnote Lessons: Arrows and Connectors »

Sketchnote lessons: Stick figures

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

Stick figures are fun to draw. 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)

20130904 Sketchnote Lessons - Stick Figures

See http://sach.ac/sketchnote-lessons for the other tips in this series, and check back next Thursday for more!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Drawing EmotionsSketchnote Lesson: Metaphors »

Sketchnote Lessons: Speech bubbles and thought clouds

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

Here’s an assortment of speech bubbles and thought clouds. They’re great for indicating when someone has said something – and there’s always plenty of talking at presentations, panels, and events.

Click on the image for a larger version. Feel free to print this out (or draw on it on your tablet, if you have one)! =)

20130805 Speech balloons and thought clouds

Have fun drawing! Check out my other sketchnote lessons, and e-mail or comment if you have any suggestions/requests!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Banners and ribbonsSketchnote Lessons: Drawing Emotions »

Sketchnote Lessons: Arrows and Connectors

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

You can use use arrows or connectors to guide people through your sketchnote/drawing. Here are some samples:image

For more drawing tips, check out the other sketchnote lessons!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Having fun with wordsSketchnote Lessons: Banners and ribbons »

Sketchnote Lessons: Quick Lettering

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

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!

image

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] .

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Sketchnote Lesson: Adding color »

Sketchnote Lessons: Banners and ribbons

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

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

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2. Draw a box around the text.

image

3. Add two small triangles below the box.

image

4. Draw horizontal lines extending beyond the triangle, and another set of lines the same distance from the top of the box.

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5. Add a ribbon edge if you want, or use a straight line.

image image

Want to get fancy? Add some shading, add more folds, and so on.

Here are some examples that you can practise with:

image

Check out Kevin Dulle’s tutorial for other ways to emphasize things with shadows. Enjoy!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Arrows and ConnectorsSketchnote Lessons: Speech bubbles and thought clouds »

Sketchnote Lessons: Drawing Emotions

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Sketchnote Lessons

Want to make your drawings more interesting? Add emotions! Drawings of emotions can communicate so much more than words describing emotions, and they do so in an immediate, visceral way. For example, consider the list of words below, and the faces beneath them.

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Even if you don’t think you’re an artist, you can draw basic emotions easily. Simple combinations of eyebrows and mouths say a lot. You can show different degrees of emotions by emphasizing parts.

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You can combine emotions, too. For example, angry eyebrows + happy smile = evil overlord plotting to conquer the world. >=)

Play around, and you’ll find even more emotions that you can express with small changes to the face. For inspiration, you can look at smileys and emoticons.

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Icons and symbols let you be even more expressive. You can pick these up from comics and smileys.

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Emotions aren’t just expressed with the face. Posture can communicate emotions powerfully too. Explore the physicality of emotions by looking at how actors show feelings, or by imagining yourself feeling those emotions.

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You can also show emotions in how people relate to each other.

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Metaphors are fun to play with, too.

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Learning how to draw emotions isn’t just useful for sketchnoting. You can draw emotions in order to understand other people better. Mindmaps or empathy maps can help. You can draw your own emotions, too. When I’m faced with a difficult situation or a confusing tangle of emotions, I try to break down the different emotions I feel and the reasons why I feel that way. When you understand why you’re happy and sad and worried and excited all at the same time, it’s easier to move forward.

Want to learn more about drawing emotions? The best resource I’ve found so far is the Bikablo Emotions book, which has a lot of full-body emotions. Here’s a sample of the drawings I made based on part of the Bikablo Emotions book. (There are even more emotions in the book – check it out!)

emotions

Children’s books are a good source of emotions. I remember loving the Mr. Men and Little Miss series when I was growing up, and I look forward to discovering other wonderful illustrations as I go through the library’s collections. =)

Comics are another great way to learn more about expressing emotions, from the concise forms of newspaper strips to more elaborate drawings in comic books.

And then there’s learning about all these emotions in the first place, because it helps to be able to recognize the emotion and give it a name. Wikipedia has a few good pages: Contrasting and categorization of emotions, Emotion classification. HUMAINE proposes a classification of 48 emotions (see Wikipedia for an easier-to-read list) The Center for Nonviolent Communication lists 259 emotions in their feelings inventory.

I’m thinking of going through those lists and practising drawing all these different emotions. Want to join me? I’ll post stuff here once in a while, and I’d love it if you sent me links to your drawings!

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« Sketchnote Lessons: Speech bubbles and thought cloudsSketchnote lessons: Stick figures »