July 1, 2009

I came across this idea for producing visual notes via the Moleskinerie blog.  It was developed by Mike Rohde who has posted a number of “sketchnotes”, mainly recording events he has attended, on his Flickr site.

He’s also posted a report from a cruise holiday in Alaska.

Alaskan Cruise '09: Sketchnotes 01-02

One of the main ways Mike uses the technique is to make notes when attending conferences, such as the following example:
SND Chicago 09: First Spread

It’s an interesting approach. Taking notes is important to ensure information is processed and retained. It ensures you listen, pay attention to what is presented and makes you process the information by actively putting something down on paper. However, in my experience, there is always a tendency to try to copy the words from slides during presentations – particularly when they are heavily overloaded with bullet points. I fall into this trap myself. Given this habit, I guess it could be difficult for some people to take notes when the slides are produced using the more visual Presentation Zen approach. Sketchnoting could perhaps be a good way of recording key points from these types of presentations.

Mike has made some slides available on Slideshare on how to use the technique:


2 Responses to “Sketchnotes”

  1. Mike Rohde Says:

    Mike, thanks for the mention of my work on sketchnotes. I appreciate your comments.

    There is indeed a temptation to copy points from slides, I am tempted by it all the time. However, I find when I listen and look for the overall ideas being presented I’m much happier with the results.

    It’s a discipline that needs to be developed over time, that’s for sure.

  2. ms6282 Says:


    I’m pleased to be able to try and “spread the word” about your technique.I haven’t had much opportunity to try it out yet but will be giving it a go at a conference I’m attending at the end of this month

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