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Rohdesign Weblog

Happy 4th Birthday, Sketchnote Handbook!

posted: 01 Dec 2016

It's hard to believe The Sketchnote Handbook was released on December 1, 2012. I'm so very honored that it's had such an impact in the world these past 4 years.

Thank you all for the support you've shown to me with my books.

Happy 4th Birthday, Sketchnote Handbook!

Mike Rohde

Dispatch: A Season for Thankfulness

posted: 25 Nov 2016

Today, I'm thankful for you, and your support!

November 25, 2012, it was a few days before the release of my first book, The Sketchnote Handbook. I was nervous, and excited, unsure if the book and video my team and I had spent 9 hard months crafting and creating from scratch would have an impact or not.

Four years later, that book and video have became a bestseller, leading to a second bestselling book and video, The Sketchnote Workbook, a Sketchnote Typeface, and opportunities to give talks, run public and private Sketchnote Workshops, appear on podcasts, and more.

You are a huge part of that success. Your support has powered my vision to share sketchnoting. Together, we’ve made an amazing impact on the world.

I’ve come across so many people who thought they couldn’t draw at all, take a first step and end up changing their lives for the better in every way.

That’s what we’ve done together.

Thank you!

Book Mention in Revenge of Analog

This week I received a copy of David Sax’s new book Revenge of Analog. On page 38, I found a mention of me and our sketchnote community! What an honor.

Sketchnote Army Podcast: Season 2 is a Wrap

Wow, season 2 of The Sketchnote Army Podcast is done! I’ve had fantastic guests on the show in the first 2 seasons, so go have a listen!

I’m planning to launch season 3 in January 2017, with more guests and some experimental episodes around topics in the next 8 episodes.

If you're a listener, please take the Sketchnote Army Podcast survey, and let me know your thoughts about the podcast.

You can Subscribe to the Sketchnote Army Podcast on iTunes or at SoundCloud to get season 3 once it launches.

Sketchnote Icon T-Shirts in Orange!

They're back! The popular Sketchnote Icon t-shirts and crewneck sweatshirts are back for just 4 more days at Cotton Bureau (Ends Nov 29). For this new run, I've switched it up with orange and white icons on heather blue, navy blue and and gray shirts and heather blue sweatshirts.

 

Interesting Links

♥ Teacher’s Graphic Novel Inspires Comic Studies Minor - YES! My buddy Nick Sousanis' graphic novel, Unflattening, which he wrote for his philosophy doctoral dissertation, has opened the door for his a Comic Studies minor at San Francisco State University. Visual thinking For The Win!

♥ How I Made Sketchnoting My Convo-Starter - Fantastic story from Chia Lin about how sketchnoting helped her not only think more clearly, but opened up opportunities as a product designer in a very competitive San Fransisco marketplace. I love it, Chia!

♥ How to Buy A Paper Notebook That Brings You Joy - Here's a comprehensive article from Joel Johnson that walks you through the process of choosing a paper notebook that's right for you. I especially found the size section helpful.

♥ Pocket Notebooks: A Comprehensive Guide - Here's another detailed buying guide to pocket notebooks from JetPens.

♥ 15 Things to Do with An Empty Sketchbook - Once you've chosen a notebook, here are 15 great ways to use it from Well Appointed Desk founder Ana Reinert.

♥ Sketchbook Skool's Hatching How-To Video - One of the key skills I use in my sketchnoting practice is hatching to achieve shading and tone when I only have a single black pen. Learn the technique, or brush up on your skills with this short video from Koosje Koene.

♥ Hand Lettering: The Beginner’s Guide - Here's a handy comprehensive overview of how to start hand lettering, including tools, techniques, and teaching, from Skillshare. Hat tip to Kent!

Private Sketchnote Workshops

I love teaching students how to sketch simply, and think visually at my Sketchnote Workshops. I've run sketchnote workshops at Drexel UniversityMarquette University, and The University of Michigan; at agencies like mcgarrybowen in NYC; and hospitals like Sibley Hospital in Washington DC.

I'd love to teach your team. Let's talk.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like the Dispatch? I think you'll love my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Learn more, and buy your copies below:

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.
Buy the Handbook

   

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.
Buy the Workbook

Use code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off my books at Peachpit.

Read how the Chimp Essentials course helped me tighten my newsletter, and get inquiries about my Sketchnote Workshops. Save $20 with code ROHDE20.

Dispatch: Sunny Days and Sketchnotes

posted: 02 May 2016

It's May in Milwaukee, and I'm happy to see the sun finally peeking through the clouds. Next up, warm weather!

I'm loving my new 9.7" iPad Pro and Apple Pencil more each day. I'm adapting to the Pencil and FiftyThree's Paper, creating sketchnotes with them all the time. They've already become important tools for my work.

Missed my iPad Pro & Apple Pencil observations? Read 'em here.

NibSqueak Podcast Interview

I was a guest on NibSqueak, Collective Next's visual thinking podcast featuring John Colaruotolo, and Bree Sanchez. I shared the genesis of my visual thinking journey, and ways sketchnoting can be applied inside large and small companies. Have a listen!

Sketchnote Mini-Workshop at Marquette

A few weeks ago I presented my Sketchnote Mini-Workshop at Marquette University's Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship. Attendees to my After Hours talk had a blast. Thanks Megan & Holly!

Upcoming Sketchnote Talks & Workshops

I have a few sketchnote presentations in the works, including one this October in Philadelphia. I'll announce any events here—stay tuned!

Interesting Links

♥ Philip Coppola spends nearly 40 years illustrating New York City's Subway Stations - A fascinating mini-documentary film about Philip Coppola's passionate side-project to draw (sketchnote) the designs of every NYC subway station by hand. Inspiring!

♥ Improve Your Handwriting with These Fantastic Resources - One of the basics of sketchnoting is legible handwriting, so be sure to dive into this page full of useful handwriting resources.

♥ 100 Days of Lettering - Designer Tiantian Xu set out to improve her lettering skills with a deliberate, 100 day journey. She started by copying letters, gradually moving to complex challenges as her confidence and skills grew. Also see her 100 Days of Doodle!

♥ The Drawing Effect - This research paper by Wammesa, Meadea, and Fernandesa demonstrates the positive power of drawing on memory, compared to just writing words. For a visual overview, check out Rob Dimeo's sketchnote summary of the findings.

♥ How sketchnoting has changed my life as a teacher - Educator Matt Miller started sketchnoting a year ago—this article shares how thinking visually has changed his thinking and approach to teaching.

Private Sketchnote Workshops

I've taught private sketchnote workshops at universities like Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan; agencies like mcgarrybowen in NYC; and institutions like Sibley Hospital in Washington DC. I'd love to teach your team too. Let's talk.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like my newsletter? I think you'll love reading my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Check 'em out!

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.
Buy the Handbook

   

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.
Buy the Workbook

Use code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off my books at Peachpit.

Dispatch: I Love the iPad Pro & Apple Pencil

posted: 17 Apr 2016

When the 9.7" iPad Pro was announced, I knew it and the Apple Pencil were the tools for me. I picked them up 2 weeks ago, and have been exploring them both ever since. I love 'em!

The Pencil is impressive. The detail is fantastic, despite some of the hardware details I thought could be improved.

Read my review of the 9.7" iPad Pro & Apple Pencil

If you've been on the fence about an Apple Pencil and either iPad Pro, go visit a local Apple Store and try them out. They're fantastic!

The Sketchnote Workbook wins Best Design Award from Publishing Professionals Network!

The Sketchnote Workbook won a best overall design award from the Publishing Professionals Network (PPN)! It won for excellence in overall design. The Sketchnote Workbook will be showcased at PPN's Annual Book Show, in San Francisco this July. Woohoo!

Interesting Links

♥ Free Learn Cursive Script Video Course & Worksheets - Hand letterer Ian Barnard's video cursive class and worksheets aim to improve your script. I love Ian's calm pacing, especially for new students. See Ian's lettering courses, and his site.

♥ The Benefits of Using Doodling and Sketchnotes in the Classroom - Teacher Deidra Gammill, Ph.D writes about the benefits she's seen using sketchnoting in the classroom. She shares practical tips for implementation, and challenges for teachers.

♥ Can Handwriting Make You Smarter? - The Wall Street Journal covers the recent laptop vs. longhand notes study by Mueller & Oppenheimer, testing the effectiveness of both kinds of notes. Two takeaways: Don't capture verbatim ideas—synthesize as you write, and intentionally review your notes to reinforce ideas.

♥ Guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen - A fantastic resource from JetPens on choosing a fountain pen. I love fountain pens, but they're a bit mysterious. Now I understand them much better.

♥ Think Clearly: Visual Thinking Boot Camp - My friend and fellow visual thinker, Mathias Jakobsen is going on a world tour, teaching his all-day, Visual Thinking Bootcamp in Buenos Aires, Zurich, London, Mexico City, Vancouver, Paris, Copenhagen, Aarhus, and more! Sign up to be notified, or request your city be added to the tour.

♥ Sketchnote Mini-Course Survey - I've already received 83 replies and would love your feedback on the concept of focused, sketchnote video designed for mobile phones. Takes 2 minutes!

Private Sketchnote Workshops

I've taught private sketchnote workshops at universities like Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan; agencies like mcgarrybowen in NYC; and institutions like Sibley Hospital in Washington DC. I'd love to teach your team too. Let's talk.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like my newsletter? I think you'll love reading my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Check 'em out!

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.
Buy the Handbook

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.
Buy the Workbook

Use code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off my books at Peachpit.

Dispatch: Reprinting the Sketchnote Icon T-Shirts!

posted: 01 Apr 2016

The Sketchnote Icon t-shirts I created in 2014 are getting worn out because I wear them so much. I 've decided to re-print a new batch of adult and kids tees with my friends at Cotton Bureau.

Adult T-Shirts

Shirts come in Vintage Black, Midnight Blue, or Storm (purple) up to 2X in men's or women's sizes. Get 3X-5X sizes on Gildan shirts. Or choose the Heather Black pullover sweatshirt for cool nights:

https://cottonbureau.com/products/sketchnote-icons

Shirt orders are open through Tues April 12, 2016. Act quickly!

Kids T-Shirts

Kids can get sketchnote icon t-shirts and onesies too, with Cotton Bureau's kid's tees in black, blue, and purple:

https://cottonbureau.com/kids/products/sketchnote-icons-kids

Thank you!

Interesting Links

♥ Kathy Schlock's Guide to Everything: Sketchnoting in Education - Kathy has created a fantastic resource page on sketchnoting for educators (or anyone else for that matter).

♥ An Index of Ideas - Shawn Blanc has been creating an index of ideas in the back of the paper books he's reading. It helps him capture thoughts and ideas. You could capture the same index in a single journal for access to the ideas from every book you've read.

♥ The Perfect Journal - Author mentor Tim Grahl was frustrated with all of the notebooks he used for journaling, so he captured his specs and created a perfect journal with a 5" x 8" three-ring binder, various papers, and more. Check it out and leave feedback!

♥ Pentel EnerGel: A Comprehensive Guide - JetPens has created a fantastic resource for my favorite gel pen. If you're seeking a new pen, read this article and give Pentel Energels a try.

♥ Who needs handwriting? - This Freakonomics Radio episode covers the value of handwriting from both advocates and critics. It definitely got me thinking about the topic. via James Saretta.

♥ Sketchnote Mini-Course Survey - I'd love your feedback on the concept of focused 30 minute sketchnote video designed for mobile phones. It'll take about 2 minutes to complete the survey. Thanks!

Private Sketchnote Workshops

I've taught private sketchnote workshops at universities like Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan; agencies like mcgarrybowen in NYC; and institutions like Sibley Hospital in Washington DC. I'd love to teach your team too. Let's talk.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like my newsletter? I think you'll love reading my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Check 'em out!

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.
Buy the Handbook

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.
Buy the Workbook

Use code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off my books at Peachpit.

Dispatch: A Sunny Spring Update!

posted: 19 Mar 2016

It's a cold, but sunny spring in Milwaukee, and I'm excited to be doing the Dispatch again! If you're new to this newsletter, welcome.

Here's what I've been up to:

I've been testing out a visual work schedule (see in the photo above). The idea of creating a daily visual schedule came from Cal Newport. I've adapted it for the last few weeks as a way to keep my workday on track in my Bullet Journal. It works great!

I was a guest of Piktochart for a Sketchnotes 101 Blab session (a video conferencing platform) and had a fantastic time! You can watch a replay of the session or read Jacqueline Jensen's recap.

I've been considering what to do next with the 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge book project now that the book with Peachpit is cancelled. I've spoken to other publishers and have been considering my options. I've made no decisions yet, but whatever I choose to do, you'll hear about it here first. Stay tuned!

This edition of The Rohdesign Dispatch has been redesigned, with a lighter, brighter look and feel, thanks to Chimp Essentials from Paul Jarvis. Let me know what you think of the new design.

It feels great to be back!

Interesting Links

♥ Guide to Choosing a Felt Tip Marker Pen - Another fantastic resource from JetPens.com on how to find the right felt tip marker.

♥ Strategic Paper Replacement: iPad Pro & Apple Pencil - Joe, the Gentleman Stationer, goes in depth on the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as a paper and pen replacement. I won't ever eliminate pen and paper, but the iPad Pro and Pencil are fantastic drawing tools.

♥ The Doodle Institute's Free Doodle Video Collection - My friend and fellow doodler, Diane Bleck, offers a free course called Sketchbook Basics to get you started drawing in a sketchbook.

♥ Top 12 Bullet Journal Hacks - Speaking of Bullet journal, check out this great collection of ideas from Boho Berry.

♥ Custom Sketchbooks from Book Block - Have you ever wanted to create a custom sketchbook from your own art or photograph? Well, now you can and for prices starting at just £10 (about $15).

Private Sketchnote Workshops

I've taught private sketchnote workshops at universities like Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan; agencies like mcgarrybowen in NYC; and institutions like Sibley Hospital in Washington DC. I'd love to teach your team too. Let's talk.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like my newsletter? I think you'll love reading my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Check 'em out!

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.
Buy the Handbook

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.
Buy the Workbook

30-Day Sketchnote Challenge Book Update

posted: 26 Feb 2016

I have unfortunate news. The book I announced about a month ago, The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge, will not be published with Peachpit Press.


Here’s what happened

Pearson, the parent company of Peachpit who published my books, is laying off 10% of its global workforce. 

Most of my book team at Peachpit were among the unlucky ones, including my fantastic editor Nikki McDonald.

Nikki has guided me in creating two bestselling books with Peachpit: The Sketchnote Handbook, and The Sketchnote Workbook (both still for sale).

I was shocked.

I’m very grateful to Peachpit for the books we’ve created together, but after hearing the news, I requested a release from my book contract. It didn’t make sense to create this new book without the help of my full team.

(Pearson informed me this week that they’re cancelling the book contract.)

Peachpit will not be publishing The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge, but that’s not the end of this book idea.

What’s next?

I’m still considering my options. I might crowdfund The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge as a printed book, an online course, or a daily email course. I still believe a 30-day guided course on sketchnoting is a great idea.

However, I also know that writing, illustrating, and designing books is demanding, time-consuming work. It’s hard on me and my family. I’ve decided to take a little time before making a decision. 

While I’m figuring out which direction to take with the book, I plan to experiment with 30-day ideas, testing them with a small team.

I will also restart my twice-monthly newsletter, The Rohdesign Dispatch, featuring links on visual thinking, tools and ideas. Sign up here for free.

Why I love to teach sketchnoting

This sudden shift in direction got me thinking about why I love sketchnoting. Here’s what I’ve realized:

I write books, teach workshops, share ideas, and encourage others to sketchnote because I believe everyone is creative. I’m fulfilled when I help people discover and develop the creativity already inside them.

Considering my vision, a publisher offering or cancelling a book is really just an implementation detail.

Thank you

I appreciate your continued support. I wish my first book update offered better news. But I don’t view the cancellation of my book as an ending. I see it as merely a change in direction, possibly even a new beginning. The route may change, but the journey will always be about teaching, sharing, and encouraging creativity through sketchnoting. 

I hope you’ll join me, wherever this next path may lead.

— Mike Rohde

My New Book: The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge!

posted: 16 Jan 2016

I'M WRITING A NEW BOOK! I'm working with Peachpit on The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge. This will be book 3 in my sketchnoting trilogy, and it's scheduled to launch in early fall 2016.

Here's the new cover design in aqua, black, and orange, with new icons that represent the 30-day challenge:


What's the new book about?

The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge is different than The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook—it's designed to guide you through simple daily drawing exercises and mini-projects to improve your visual note-taking skills over a 30-day period. It's a directed, process-based approach that methodically improves your sketchnoting a little bit at a time.

All new content!

This new book will feature all new content, including tons of tutorials showing you step-by-step how to create simple drawings that you can use over and over again in your sketchnotes.

We're running these how-tos along the bottom of every page throughout the entire book. I want to pack this book full of great, easy-to-master drawing tips to simultaneously help you build a fantastic icon library and boost your confidence in your own drawing skills.

Sketchnotes from around the world!

Just like the Handbook and the Workbook, I'll feature the work of sketchnoters from around the world. I love inspiring readers by sharing the work from the many friendly and welcoming sketchnoting community members.

I'll be sharing a form in a few weeks where you can apply to be a featured sketchnoter in the book, so stay tuned!

Where did the concept come from?

I've been inspired by a few key experiences:

Keeping a daily logbook since January 2014. I've found that by doing little bits of sketchnoting every day, I see gradual progress in my thinking, creativity, and openness to new ideas.

Shawn Blanc's Focus Course. The Focus Course helped me envision a step-by-step approach to improving sketchnote skills that's fun, practical, and delivered in small, bite-sized pieces that won't overwhelm you.

Teaching tons of sketchnote workshops. I've been all over the world, teaching sketchnoting to hundreds of students. I've found that a methodical, layered approach to building skills is the most effective way to help non-artists feel comfortable and excited about visual note-taking. I can't wait to pour what I've learned from my workshops into this book.

I'll document my process right here.

For The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook, I loved documenting the experience of writing them with updates, photos, and sneak peeks. Once again, I'll document the experience while creating The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge, right here on the blog, on Instagram, and on Twitter.

The Dispatch will change a bit until the new book is complete. In order to focus on writing, I'm pausing the Dispatch format until September.

Thank you!

Thanks so much for your support as I craft this new book. I'm excited to create a new way for people to enter into sketchnoting.

Once a book pre-order link is ready, I'll share it here!

World Sketchnote Day 2016: Monday, January 11, 201

posted: 09 Jan 2016

IT'S A NEW TRADITION! Every year on January, 11th, starting in 2016, we'll celebrate World Sketchnote Day!

For 24 hours on January 11th of each year (starting in 2016), sketchnoters and sketchnote enthusiasts across the world will celebrate the technique that disrupted note-taking and visual communications!

2016 Official Hashtag: #SNDay2016

What is World Sketchnote Day?

In 2007, I coined the term "sketchnote" and over the years it has been adopted by a huge number of people around the world.

I and Mauro Toselli at Sketchnote Army want to gather our friendly and welcoming community of sketchnoters to share our love for sketchnotes and to express our sketchnote-nerdyness.

World Sketchnote Day IS for everyone, from beginners to experts, and enthusiasts to professionals. If you can create marks on paper, you are welcome to join us!

How to celebrate

Share the Love! Let your Friends know about World Sketchnote Day.

Celebrate by sketchnoting something and sharing it with #SNDay2016

The simplest way: jump in the challenge and create one or more sketchnotes working on these themes:

  • "Sketchnotes are..."
  • "Sketchnotes changed my life because... "
  • "I wish I could create a sketchnote for... "
  • Don't forget to share your work with the #SNDay2016 hashtag!
  • Grab some post-its, a marker and decorate your office, the bus, the train, the subway while commuting, the gym — everywhere with mini-sketchnotes, then share photos with the world
  • Hang a large piece of paper somewhere and start a visual conversation with work colleagues or even strangers
  • Gift yourself or a friend a new pen/pencil/marker
  • Gift yourself or a friend a new notebook
  • Build a hand bound notebook and draw a gorgeous cover on it
  • Create a small sketchnoted coloring book for your own kids, nephews or little friends

Don't forget to share with #SNDay2016 hashtag to let us know!

We're celebrating by giving away prizes!

Sign up and tell us how you celebrate for a chance to win one of the prizes offered by our Awesome Sponsors! It's easy: just fill the entry form on the World Sketchnote Day page.

Join the Ask-a-Pro conversations with our Supporters all day long!

Make the most out of the World Sketchnote Day by asking real sketchnote professionals for suggestions, tips, and tricks. See the Awesome Supporters to know how to get in touch with the "Pro"!

Dispatch: The Sum of Our Experiences

posted: 11 Dec 2015

2015 was a great year for me. I was fortunate to travel to Nashville, Prague, Boston, Kansas City, NYC, and Portland all in one year. I remember each experience and treasure each discussion I had along the way. If I saw you on the road this year, thanks for your support!

I'm taking a break to review and rest up for 2016. I have several exciting announcements to share soon, so stay tuned. See you in January!

Happy 3rd Birthday Sketchnote Handbook!

December 2nd was the 3rd birthday of The Sketchnote Handbook, so Peachpit and I are giving you the gift of 35% off! Use code SKETCHNOTE3 on the paper book, ebook or a bundle at Peachpit. It's a great way to share sketchnoting with someone this holiday season.

Podcast Interview: The Optimized Geek

I had a fantastic interview with Stephan Spencer on shaping ideas and remembering experiences through sketchnotes. Have a listen!

Private Sketchnote Workshops

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like Ross Business School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Interested? Let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ Confessions of a first time sketchnoter - Neil Williams, product management lead at GOV.UK, gave sketchnoting a try, and documented his experience. Great insights from a first time sketchnoter.

♥ TED: Why are these 32 symbols found in caves all over Europe? - Take 12 minutes to watch Genevieve von Petzinger describe the 32 symbols she's found all over Europe. Visual thinking is very, very old.

♥ Chris Spalton: Sketchnoting in Norwich UK's business community - My friend and Sketchnote Workbook contributor Chris Spalton is using sketchnotes to visualize company meetings for his clients. Go Chris!

♥ Analog Products/Digital App Makers Round-up - A nice overview of blended analog+digital tools from my friend Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk.

♥ JetPens YouTube Video Channel - Last week I found the JetPens video collection and learned about Tomoe River paper. What a fantastic resource!

♥ What You Miss When You Take Notes on Your Laptop - Harvard Business Review's Maggy McGloin argues for the advantages of analog note-taking, citing the recent study by Mueller and Oppenheimer.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like my newsletter, I bet you would love my 2 books on sketchnoting:

Learn more and buy →

Learn more and buy →

Dispatch: Espresso 101 Sketchnotes

posted: 25 Nov 2015

ESPRESSO is one of my favorite things. I attended a Espresso 101 class at Stone Creek Coffee, and sketchnoted the entire 3 hours of learning. It was a fantastic experience. Highly recommended. See the full set of photos.

Thank You!

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches I want to say thank you. Thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. Thank you for purchasing and sharing my books. Thank you for the constant encouragement. I appreciate you.

My Interview with Officehours

Officehours is a free service dedicated to connecting their members with amazing people, for 10 minutes of free 1-on-1 advice. I was invited to answer some interesting questions about my background as a designer, book writing, and sketchnoting community now that I'm an Officehours Advisor.

Private Sketchnote Workshops

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like Ross Business School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Interested? Let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ Visual Note-Taking for Educators - My friend and Sketchnote Workshop Chicago student Wendi Pillars just released a new book for educators looking to integrate sketchnotes into the classroom. Go get it!

♥ The Pen Addict's Apple Pencil Review - Pen Addict's Myke Hurley offers a pen fanatic's review of the Apple Pencil — very relevant for sketchnoters.

♥ 50 Themes to Brighten Up Your Sketchbook - Sometimes your sketchbook needs a little jolt. Here are 50 ideas from the Sketchbook Skool team on how to doing something different in your sketchbook.

♥ The Incredible Creative Power of One-Minute Sketches - Inc. Magazine writer Ilan Mochari shares ideas on getting your colleagues to see what you mean, through simple, one minute sketches.

♥ Favorite Notebooks for Fountain Pen - Another great article from JetPens, this piece reveals favorite notebooks designed to handle fountain pens.

♥ The Problem with Fancy Notebooks - Austin Kleon shares a tidbit of wisdom from Merlin Mann's Back to Work Podcast on marking up blank pages in fancy notebooks. His solution? Make your notebook “a safe place, a place where you can go to make a mess.”

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like my newsletter, I bet you would love my 2 books on sketchnoting:

Learn more and buy →

Learn more and buy →

Dispatch: Whiteboard Sketchnoting

posted: 05 Nov 2015

WHITEBOARDS are everywhere in modern business environments. I've been fortunate to work as a UX designer in a space with wall-sized whiteboards and a leadership team and encourages experimentation with them.

Every Monday my team and I whiteboard features we're going to add to the web-based app we're building together. This 1 hour meeting is a highlight of our week that always draws our team together.

The photo above is from the church community group where I live-sketchnote Bible chapters on the whiteboard each Sunday. My classmates love seeing scripture come alive in real-time and it's great practice for me.

This week I challenge you sketchnote ideas a whiteboard. Play with some dry-erase markers and explore! Who knows where it might lead you.

Need a portable whiteboard? Check out Betabook!

My Interview with Ryder Carroll

Ryder Carroll of Bullet Journal invited me to answer a few questions for his Bullet Journal community. I had a great time going into nerdy sketchnote detail. You can read the interview at the Bullet Journal Blog: Sketchnotes.

Oops! last time I made a mistake on the link for Ryder's How to Break In a Hardcover Notebook video. Here's the updated link.

Peachpit Author Chat on Storify

A few weeks ago, Peachpit Press had an Author Chat with me on Twitter. Now they've captured the discussion on a Storify page for your reading pleasure.

Private Sketchnote Workshops

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like Ross Business School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Interested? Let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ 15 Tips to Improve Your Drawing Skills - This is a great way to improve your drawing skills with 15 prompts from Daisy Yellow.

♥ Digital Drawing Workout: The Art of Subtraction - Artist Shantell Martin uses FiftyThree's Paper app on an iPad to share a digital drawing workout on Skillshare. It's just 32 minutes, so check it out!

♥ JetPens Guide to Mechanical Pencils - I'm a fan of sketching with mechanical pencils. I use a 1.15mm Retro 51 Tornado pencil for my work. JetPens shares the wide variety of mechanical pencils available.

♥ Baron Fig 2016 Confidant Planner - My friends at Baron Fig have just released a new Confidant Weekly Planner for 2016. If you want to get into journaling or logging your days, this is a great notebook ($22).

♥ The Steal Like An Artist Journal Talk - My buddy Austin Kleon has a new 30 minute video on how his journaling led to creating his new Steal Like and Artist Journal. It's full of journaling samples and inspiration.

♥ Make it last 150 years with paper - An excellent article from Garrick van Buren on why paper (and not the cloud), is the real medium that can help your work last 150 years or more, via The Cramped.

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Dispatch: Sketchnote Workbook in Russian!

posted: 24 Oct 2015

Это здесь! The Sketchnote Workbook in Russian is out! I'm excited to see new translations of my books. Mann-Ivanov-Ferber did a fantastic job translating the book, right down to the text on individual sketchnotes!.

Talking Sketchnotes on The Portfolio Life Podcast

This week, my interview on Portfolio Life with writer and podcaster, Jeff Goins released. We talked sketchnotes and how I try to balance my workday as a UX designer with sketchnoting activities. Have a listen and leave comments!

Sketchnote Mini-Workshop Video

I recently presented The Sketchnote Mini-Workshop at Madison Non-Profit Day, and my friends at Field 59 captured it on video.

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, mcgarrybowen NYC and Sibley Hospital in DC? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Interested? Let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ How to Break In a Hardcover Notebook - Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal method shares great tips, including this gem: a simple way to prep your hardcover notebooks so their bindings won't crack.

♥ Doodling, Sketching and ‘Mind Mapping’ as Learning Tools - A New York Times piece about the benefits of sketchnoting for learning. Awesome!

♥ Sketchnotes for Visual Thinking in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) - This article from Nicolai Marquardt and Saul Greenberg from University of Calgary's Department of Computer Science, show how integrating sketchnotes into interaction designers’ everyday practice facilitates visual thinking, sense making, reflection, application of ideas, sketching practice, and sharing.

♥ Be More Productive With Just A Pen And Paper - Productivityist's Mike Dariano shares a simple, practical method using index cards and the Dash/Plus System to improve your productivity.

♥ Fountain Pen Nib Infographic - Pen Chalet has created a supremely detailed infographic that explains everything you'll ever need to know about fountain pen nibs and how they work.

♥ JetPens Guide to Pencil Hardness - Another fantastic piece from JetPens on pencil hardness grades and where each one is best used.

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Dispatch: Green Bay Packer NFL Sketchnotes

posted: 06 Oct 2015

It's Football Season! I've been having fun sketchnoting this year's Green Bay Packer NFL football games since experimenting last year sketchnoting the NFL Championship game (yuck) and Super Bowl XLIX (great game).

It's a great way to document the game experience and let go of the stress of being a fan who can only watch what happens. I first shared sketchnoting sporting events in The Sketchnote Workbook.

I've been using my Hobonichi Techo Logbook to capture games, creating a title before the game starts and documenting each major event as the game unfolds. If you have a favorite sport, try sketchnoting it!

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, mcgarrybowen NYC and Sibley Hospital in DC? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Interested? Let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ Interview with BBC Newcastle Nick Barnes: when Notes blend Commentary and Art - From my sister site, Sketchnote Army, Mauro Toselli and I had a chance to ask Sunderland Football Club's BBC announcer Nick Barnes about his sketchnote prep and capture of football games. Fantastic!

♥ 50+ Awesome Sketchnoting Resources - Design Lounge has gathered a TON of resources on sketchnoting in one place. Check it out!

♥ Tips on Improving Your Handwriting - A handy article from Wonder Pens on how to make your handwriting and cursive writing better. Good tips!

♥ I DRAW MANGA Sketchbook & Reference Guide - This Kickstarter project from Matt Marrocco aims to teach you how to drawn Manga style with a reference book. There's still a chance to get in on the campaign!

♥ JetPens Guide to Drawing Pens - I try not to share JetPens guides in every issue of the Dispatch, but I can't seem avoid it - their articles are too good! This guide to drawing pens is especially useful for sketchnoters.

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Dispatch: Daily Logs & Wisconsin Workshops

posted: 18 Sep 2015

Friends, It's time to prepare your 2016 daily log. I've been logging my days in 2014 and 2015. I've found it incredibly rewarding. I stole the idea from my friend Austin Kleon. Now is the time to order a 2016 logbook!

Logging events as they happen, helps me avoid past failures at keeping a traditional diary. Of course, I miss days here and there, but I love going back and sketchnoting in the empty pages. I carry my logbook when I travel and sketchnote my experiences. See A Year of Daily Logging for details.

Order your logbook now, and hit the ground running in January:

Sketchnote Workshop: Milwaukee - Sep 26th

On Saturday September 26 I'm running a half-day workshop from 9 to noon at The Hudson Business Lounge in Milwaukee, in praetorship with IDSA Wisconsin. For $75 you're get in-depth teaching and exercises in a small group setting, a sketchnote kit (pens, pencils and a notebook) and a custom Sketchnote Workshop Milwaukee t-shirt. Sign up today!

Sketchnote Mini-Workshop: Madison - Oct 6th

I'm presenting the Sketchnote Mini-Workshop on Tuesday, October 6th from 9:30-10:45 at Madison Non-Profit day. The entire event is just $75. Learn more at the Madison Non-Profilt Day website.

I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Hospital in DC. I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Email me and let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ Verbal to Visual Daily Videos - My pal Doug Neill is creating videos every day on YouTube. I especially love Is Sketchnoting Really Worth My Time? and How To Filter Ideas While Sketchnoting. Thanks Doug!

♥ Brain Doodles - A fantastic resource from Thomas Michaud to get you doodling and drawing. Check it out!

♥ JetPens Guide to Technical Pens - JetPens has been killing it with these great guides to pens of all kinds. This one focuses on technical pens that are great for sketchnoting and illustration.

♥ My Experience with Sketchnotes - Abhijit Bhaduri the Chief Learning Officer of Wipro in India is a huge fan of sketchnotes. This article talks about his experiences using sketchnotes in his life with lots of samples.

♥ MS Dev Show Podcast - Jason and Carl, both developers, talk with me about sketchnoting and how using it can benefit developers in learning skills and communicating ideas within teams. Listen in!

♥ NL Sketchnoting, Graphic Recording & Visual Thinking Podcast - Had a great time talking with my friend Laurens Bonnema from Holland about my life and how it's shaped me as a designer and sketchnoter. Have a listen!

♥ The Sketchnote Podcast: Season 1 Re-Released - I've re-released my Sketchnote Video Podcasts on YourTube and Vimeo. Enjoy!

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Dispatch: Kansas City BBQ

posted: 05 Sep 2015

KANSAS CITY was fantastic. I had the opportunity to speak at the Coffee + Design meetup on Friday morning, hung out with Shawn Blanc and later with Gregory Kolsto at his Oddly Correct Coffee Shop. Then, delicious BBQ from Joe's KC BBQ at Loose Park with Shawn and the Coffee + Design team.

You can see a live recording of my talk on YouTube, though the video is reversed and a little spotty here and there.

On Saturday, 40 students and I had a great day at Sprint Accelerator, in the Crossroads neighborhood in KC. We worked through the basics of drawing, sketchnoting exercises and a final activity mapping the cool things in Kansas City on whiteboards. I had a great time and so did the students!

Ana Reichert of The Well Appointed Desk was a student and wrote a great recap of the Workshop that's worth reading.

I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Hospital in DC. I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Email me and let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ 50+ Awesome Resources to Create Visual Notes, Graphic Recordings & Sketchnotes - A great set of recourses collected by my friends at Creative Market. This list is so deep, it might take you a week to get through it all.

♥ Guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen - Have you wanted to buy a fountain pen but just weren't sure where to start? Jet Pens has you covered.

♥ Sketchnoting on the iPad - Rae Fearing offers an interesting approach for using the iPad for sketchnoting. Thanks Rae!

♥ Jay Cousins Review of the Sketchnote Workbook - Betook founder Jay Cousins uses his Betabook to review of my Sketchnote Workbook. Cool!

♥ Verbal to Visual You Tube Channel - My friend Doug Neill is experimenting with daily videos teaching sketchnoting techniques on YouTube. Check it out!

♥ The Sketchnote Podcast: Season 1 Re-Released - I've re-released my Sketchnote Video Podcasts on YourTube and Vimeo. Enjoy!

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The Sketchnote Podcast: Season 1 Re-Released

posted: 25 Aug 2015

I'M EXCITED to re-release my series of 10 Sketchnote Video Podcasts for you. Watch all 10 episodes on Vimeo, YouTube, or right here:

Video shot and edited by Brian Artka at Size 43 Creative. Thanks Brian!

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Dispatch: New York City 2.0

posted: 22 Aug 2015

My wife I had a superb return visit to New York City this week. On Sunday we flew into that sunset over Manhattan and enjoyed a gorgeous view of The Empire State and Chrysler buildings from our hotel. On Monday we explored the High Line, Chelsea Market, Soho, Central Park and 30 Rock. So great.

On Tuesday, I led a sketchnote workshop at mcgarrybowen, an ad agency in Chelsea, NYC. I taught sketchnoting techniques and guided students as they created idea generation sketchnotes and sketchnoted a video. After lunch, I built up their visual thinking skills for ideation sessions. What a blast!

Speaking of sketchnote workshops:

Spots are still available at the Sketchnote Workshop in Kansas City, Saturday, August 29!

Yes, you can still attend the Kansas City Sketchnote Workshop on Saturday, August 29th, in partnership with Coffee & Design.

Sign up for the Sketchnote Workshop for $75, which includes a sketchnote kit, breakfast, lunch and coffee. Bring yourself — we provide the rest!

Use code CROSSROADS for $15 off the $75 price of the workshop!

I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Hospital in DC. I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Email me and let's talk.

Interesting Links

5 Ways Doodling Improves Learning & Creativity - Anna Dabrowska shares how doodling helps you process, retain, and share information.

♥ How I use my notebooks - Jenny Mason of The Finer Point shares what notebooks she uses and how she uses them (via The Cramped).

♥ Rocketbook: Cloud-Integrated Microwavable Notebook - Rocketbook is an IndieGoGo project to create a re-usable notebook you can erase in the microwave and comes with a mobile app for capturing your notes.

♥ 80% Fancier Sketchnotes - Corinna Baldauf of Wall Skills created a handy poster of tips for creating 80% fancier sketchnotes. Download the big JPG.

♥ How It’s Made: Videos of Space Pens, Colored Pencils, Fountain Pens and More - You might fall into a YouTube hole with this collection of videos from Ana of the Well-Appointed Desk. You've been warned!

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Dispatch: Boston, NYC & KC!

posted: 06 Aug 2015

I WAS IN BOSTON last weekend, presenting my Sketchnote Mini Workshop at Design4Drupal for a great group at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. I had a great time with a very welcoming community—the mini workshop was a hit with the crew. Thanks to Dani Nordin for making it happen!

On Tuesday, August 18th I'm teaching a private sketchnote workshop in NYC for a local agency. I'm excited to get back to NYC after my first visit in 2014.

I'm in Kansas City on Friday morning, August 28th to give a free talk in collaboration with my friends Coffee & Design.

On Saturday, August 29th, I'm leading an all-day Sketchnote Workshop for $75 per student. If you're in Kansas City, grab these tickets—they will go fast.

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan and Takeda Pharmaceuticals? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Email me and let's talk.

Interesting Links

Betabook - This is such a great idea: a small whiteboard in the form of a sketchbook, complete with elastic strap, eraser and marker inside. I backed this project and LOVE my small Betabook so much, I ordered the large Betabook Pro (shipping in October 2015). Check it out.

♥ Guide to Drafting Pencils - I'm a fan of drafting pencils for concept sketching. Jet Pens teaches you about these pencils, so you can understand how they work, and which one might suit you best.

♥ Inside the Studio: Design a Secret Society Bandana with Jon Contino - Fascinating video from Skillshare featuring illustrator and designer, Jon Contino. Jon shares his design and illustration process for a silkscreened bandana. I love seeing creative processes in fine detail.

♥ Visual Notetaking & Science: Rob Dimeo’s Sketchnotes - A great piece from Richard Wilkinson at NIST Center for Neutron Research on Rob Dimeo's use of sketchnotes to capture complex scientific presentations. Go Rob!

♥ Why Startups Love Moleskines - Insights on why analog tools like Moleskines are surviving and thriving in high-tech startups.

♥ 5 Big Benefits Of Being A Doodler - Huffington Post writer Anna Almendrala shares 5 reasons doodling benefits you. Good stuff!

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The Dispatch: Sketchnote Summer

posted: 20 Jul 2015

SKETCHNOTE WORKSHOPS are happening all summer and I couldn't be more excited. The Sketchnote Workshop in Chicago happened a few weeks ago, and was fantastic. 8 students enjoyed a day of experimentation and feedback, great coffee, food and a private Q&A and Basecamp office tour with Jason Fried. What a great day it was!

This summer is still full of events: on Saturday, August 1st, I'm speaking at Design4Drupal in Boston, on Tuesday, August 18th I'm leading a private sketchnote workshop at an NYC agency, then I'm in Kansas City on Friday, August 28th, speaking at Coffee & Design, with an one-day workshop, Saturday the 29th. More details on that coming soon.

There are a few more events in my schedule this year, which I will be sure to share here first. Thanks so much for all of your support.

I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, Sibley Hospital and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Email me and let's talk.

Interesting Links

Starting a Sketchbook or Visual Journal - If you've been curious about starting a visual journal, The Well Appointed Desk has a great primer for getting started with ideas and links to other inspiring journal ideas.

♥ Moleskine Alternatives - My friend Brad Dowdy at Pen Addict shares his favorite alternatives to Moleskine notebooks. I love my Moleskines, Baron Fig Confidants, and Leuchturm 1917 notebooks.

♥ Ink - Writen By Hand - A documentary film on the beauty of the handwritten word with pen and ink by Ryan Couldrey (via The Cramped).

♥ What I Learned From 100 Doodles In 100 Days - In seeking to be more creative, Steve Portigal decided to try doodling for 100 days. This essay explains what happened because of Steve's new practice.

♥ Coffee Sketchnote Prints, Pillows and Phone Cases - My coffee sketchnote art (Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte) have been re-released as prints, phone cases and pillows by Art Box One. They make great gifts!

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The Dispatch: Apple Watch Sketchnotes

posted: 14 Jun 2015

AS A DESIGNER, it's important I stay aware of new technology and how it impacts users, so I'm logging my Apple Watch experiences as sketchnotes in a Baron Fig Confidant. It's been a fun and enjoyable process.

I'm capturing overall experiences with drawings and written text in my logbook, and have been adding some color to bring a little more life to the sketchnotes. Visit the Flickr album to see the complete set of sketchnotes.

Save $50 on The Sketchnote Workshop in Chicago!

The Sketchnote Workshop is happening in just 2 weeks! On Friday June 26th I'll be teaching at 37signals' offices in Chicago. Spots are still available for this skill-building workshop. On the fence? Here's a coupon:

Save $50 off the $499 Chicago Workshop price when you use code BLUESBROS through Wednesday, June 24th! Register today!

I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like University of Michigan, Sibley Hospital and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Email me and let's talk.

Interesting Links

I make, therefore I learn - David Hopkins talks about ways he stays creative in what might on the surface, not seem like a creative role as a learning technologist. Very inspiring David!

♥ 5 months in with the Hobonichi Techo - A long-term Hobonichi Techo journal review by Jenny Mason of The Finer Point. Long exposure to tools gives a much different perspective than quick reviews after a few days of use. I agree with Jenny on her experiences.

♥ Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day - Why the creative process is like Groundhog Day, from my pal Austin Kleon. Fantastic!

♥ Guide to Fountain Pen Nibs - If you're curious about fountain pens but don't know where to start, JetPens.com has a great overview of fountain pen nibs to help you choose the right one for the job.

♥ How Did Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton Accomplish the Work of 10 People? Rigorous Note Taking - An excellent article from author Michael Rank for The Productivityist on the value of analog note-taking to capture your thinking and become more productive.

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The Dispatch: Star Wars Doodles

posted: 31 May 2015

IN THE 1980s I loved to draw cassette covers by hand. I spent hours making these pieces of art just perfect. This cassette cover was created for an Empire Strikes Back NPR radio drama recorded from a local radio station.

Here's a challenge: take a moment and create some hand-drawn artwork. Maybe it's a letter or card to a friend, or a CD or DVD cover. Anything! Take one night to plan your drawing, color it and then share it!

Sketchnote Workshop: Coming to Chicago June 26!

The Sketchnote Workshop is happening in Chicago, Friday June 26th at 37signals' offices. 12 spots are still available for my full-day workshop to build your sketchnoting skills.

As a thank you to Rohdesign Newsletter readers, use code XWING to receive $50 off your registration for the Chicago Workshop through Sunday, June 7th!

Interested in having me teach a sketchnote workshop at your business or university? Send me a note and let's talk.

Interesting Links

Starting a Sketchbook or Visual Journal - Ideas to kickstart a sketchbook or visual journal from The Well-Appointed Desk (via The Cramped).

5 Moleskine Hacks To Boost Your Productivity - Five ideas for organizing a Moleskine to get the most from your workday by Gabi Garcia Fdez.

Unflattening: The PhD Comic Book - My friend Nick Sousanis created and defended his PhD on comics as a rich communication medium—in the form of a comic! It's a gorgeous masterpiece you really should own and enjoy.

Soccer Commentary Cheat Sheets - A series of commentary cheat sheets by Nick Barnes, a soccer (football) commentator for BBC Radio Newcastle that look an awful lot like sketchnotes (via The Cramped).

GriDD Bizz Draw App - This free app for iOS and Android offers 100+ offline visuals to inspire metaphor creation in your sketchnotes.

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The Sketchnote Workshop is happening in Chicago on

posted: 19 May 2015

I'm pleased to announce The Sketchnote Workshop is coming to Chicago on Friday, June 26th! My all-day sketchnote workshop is designed to develop your sketchnoting skills and to strengthen your visual thinking abilities.

We’re meeting in the beautiful 37signals offices in Chicago, in a space designed for workshops.

The workshop is limited to 16 participants.

A small class size, offering personalized instruction and feedback, are key to providing the best learning environment. The topics and exercises I cover are designed for beginning sketchnoters to gain confidence sketchnoting.

Can't draw? No problem.

I'll teach you the basics of drawing and guide you through sketchnote creation. If you have a positive attitude and are willing to experiment and share your work with a small group, you're perfect for this workshop.

Everything is provided.

You'll receive a notebook, pens, and pencils. Breakfast, lunch, coffee, tea, and water are also included on-site, so you won't miss a thing. You'll even receive a cool custom t-shirt.

Invest in yourself.

Visual thinking skills are valuable for capturing, generating, analyzing and communicating ideas. Spend a day building your skills and your confidence with The Sketchnote Workshop. Space is limited, so register today!

The Dispatch: Sketchnoting is an Infinite Game

posted: 16 May 2015

SKETCHNOTING is an infinite game. It's more like playing catch with your child than hitting a winning home run in the World Series. There are no winners or a losers. We sketchnote for the joy of creating, experimenting and learning.

Don't let imperfect drawing skills stop you from playing the game of sketchnotes. Grab a pen and join us!

Sketchnote Workshop in Chicago, Friday June 26th!

You're the first to know! The Sketchnote Workshop is happening in Chicago, Friday June 26th at 37signals' offices. 16 spots are available for my full-day workshop to build your sketchnoting skills. Register today.

Interested in having me teach a sketchnote workshop at your business or university? Send me a note and let's talk.

Interesting Links

Paper Think Kit - Paper, the free iPad app from FiftyThree, has a new set of tools called Think Kit, including diagramming, quick fill, and cut to Paper's toolset. See this article or this video for ways to use these new tools.

Milton Glaser: Drawing to Think - I love this 5 minute vide where Milton Glaser talks about drawing and how it helps him think, while drawing.

15 Notebooks That Will Inspire Your Creativity - Lots of people ask about my favorite notebooks — I say Moleskine Sketchbooks, Baron Fig Confidants and Leuchturn1917 Sketchbooks. This article has a few more to consider.

A Primer on Fountain Pens - If you've been curious about fountain pens and how they work, this article is for you.

Dad Life Rules Podcast Interview with Mike Rohde - I was on KC Proctor's Dad Life Rules Podcast talking about embracing creativity and letting our kids teach us. Have a listen!

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The Dispatch: Prague

posted: 01 May 2015

I WAS IN PRAGUE for the iCON Conference keynote and workshop with my wife last weekend. We had a fantastic time in that beautiful city. As a super-duper bonus, I met my good friend and Sketchnote Army Chief Operating Sketchnoter, Mauro Toselli and his better half, Betta.

The keynote and workshop went well, I signed a stack of books. met great people and appeared on Czech TV Nova's morning show! Mauro, Betta, Gail and I had several afternoons to explore Prague. It was a wonderful weekend.

Here are a few favorite photos, for more, visit my full album on Flickr.

Sketchnote Workshop in Chicago, Friday June 26th!

Mark your calendars! My next Sketchnote Workshop is set for Chicago in on Friday June 26th. There will be 16 spots available for this full-day workshop to accelerate your sketchnoting. Stay tuned for location and details.

Interested in having me teach a sketchnote workshop at your business or university? Send me a note and let's talk.

Interesting Links

90% Perfect - My friend Sean McCabe's recent video podcast episode caught my eye because I constantly see sketchnoters struggling with being perfect. I love Sean's approach aiming for 90% perfection. Check it out.

Sarah's Nerdy Highlighter Note System - Sarah Kathleen Peck uses to highlighters on her notes to show priority and action throughout the day. This might be a great addition to your daily logbook or sketchnotes.

Home Work Podcast: The One About Notebooks - Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo discuss their personal systems for note-taking, preferred setups, and resources for notebooks and pens in this podcast.

NY Times: Moleskine Notebooks Adapt to the Digital World - An interesting piece about Moleskine's shift to make analog notebooks relevant in an increasingly digital world. I think it's s smart move (via The Cramped).

10 Sketchnote Tips for Microsoft OneNote - I worked with the Microsoft OneNote team to create a series of 10 tips for sketchnoting you can use in OneNote or anywhere else. Get the set of all 10 at Facebook or Flickr.

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The Dispatch: 37,000 Reasons to Celebrate!

posted: 17 Apr 2015

GREAT NEWS! Combined sales of The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook, including English, Russian, German, Chinese and Czech books and videos have sold over 37,000 copies! I'm encouraged that my books resonating with readers worldwide. Thanks everyone!

The Sketchnote Workshop at The Skillery in Nashville last Saturday went well. 22 students learned new sketchnoting exercises and expanded their abilities, while enjoying delicious coffee and baked goods. Thanks Nashville!

Next Thursday I'm in Prague, Czech Republic, for the iCON Conference, keynoting on April 25th and leading a sketchnote workshop on April 26th.

My next Sketchnote Workshop is shaping up for Chicago in June. Details are being finalized. Stay tuned for more info right here on the Dispatch.

Interested in having me teach a sketchnote workshop at your business or university? Send me a note and let's talk.

Interesting Links

Verbal to Visual Classroom - My friend Doug Neill has launched a new video course, teaching his approach to visual notetaking. It's called Verbal to Visual Classroom and is a great value at $49. Have a look!

How To Draw Like Disney's Best Animators - Alan Becker made videos to demonstrate 12 principles Disney animators use to create cartoons.

Drawing on Index Cards - Laurence Musgrove at Angelo State created a new course on drawing to learn. He used index cards to help his students access a new, visual way of solving problems. Give it a try!

Dear Data - Two women who switched continents get to know each other through the data they draw and send across the pond. I LOVE this!

Connecting your paper notebooks with the digital age - Nifty little hack from Rodrigo Franco, where you create a URL reference system to capture links in your analog notebooks (via The Cramped).

The Instigator's Compass - My friend Srini Rao's free ebook, The Instigator's Compass, is a manifesto on opening yourself to living a full, creative life. Listen to The Unmistakable Creative, my favorite podcast.

Drop a Line

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The Dispatch: Springtime and Sketchnoting

posted: 03 Apr 2015

IT'S SPRING in Milwaukee — winter is finally over!

Regardless of weather, I've been busy teaching sketchnote workshops. In March, I taught at The University of Michigan and at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. On Saturday, April 11th, I'll lead two workshops at The Skillery in Nashville (sign up here). I'm in Prague, Czech Republic, April 25-26th, keynoting and leading a sketchnote workshop at the iCON Conference.

Interested in having me teach a sketchnote workshop at your business or university? Send me a note and let's talk.

Sketchnote Handbook in Chinese and Czech

The Sketchnote Handbook is impacting more of he world too. Chinese and Czech editions were released this spring. It's great to see people encouraged to sketchnote in languages I don't even understand.

Interesting Links

Sketchnoting: An Engineer's Approach - A helpful article on sketchnoting from engineer Chiu-Ki Chan. I love how she reframed the challenge of sketchnoting away from being able to draw perfectly, and toward creating simple objects and embracing constraints.

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard - Fascinating research studies revealed the advantages of longhand over laptop note-taking. Studies showed students who took hand-written notes processed ideas better and gained a deeper understanding, while students typing notes on keyboards tended to transcribe lectures verbatim, with a shallower grasp of ideas.

The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking - Here's an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education related to handwritten vs. laptop notes. One year after banning students from taking notes on laptops, a professor Carol E. Holstead reports on the results of her ban.

5 Drawing Exercises That Will Turn Anyone Into An Artist - Exercises to get you drawing, doodling and thinking visually from Emily Potts.

Getting Practical: 3 Ways Writers Can Use Sketchnotes - Writer Cheryl Reifsnyder offers 3 ways sketchnotes can help writers: idea mapping, character arc mapping and story detail mapping. Great applications!

Pencil vs. Pixel Podcast: Analog Note Taking - A new podcast episode on analog note-taking from Cesar Contreras, featuring interviews with me, Joey Cofone of Baron Fig, and Gabriel Shalom of Betabook.

Drop a Line

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like what you see, I bet you would like my books on sketchnoting:

Learn more and buy →

Learn more and buy →

The Dispatch: Yo Nashville!

posted: 20 Mar 2015

I'M IN NASHVILLE, Saturday, April 11th (3 weeks away) to lead 2 Sketchnote Workshops at The Skillery for $199 per person. You'll get a half-day of teaching, a custom Moleskine sketchbook, pens, pencils, markers, a copy of The Sketchnote Workbook and a Workshop t-shirt. Sign up!


Great Workshops at University of Michigan

I had a fantastic time teaching sketchnoting skills to University of Michigan, Ross School of Business students in Ann Arbor last Friday. I taught sketchnoting skills to 80 students, then challenged them to create tree houses, lemonade stands and icons with their new skills. We had a blast!

Interested in having me teach my sketchnote workshop at your business or university? Send me a note and let's talk.

Interesting Links

Learn The Basics with Pen and Paper (video) - Mathias Jakobsen created a video tutorial on how you can create beautiful notebooks and understand why pen and paper are so pleasurable to use.

How to Eat Sushi (video) - I love sushi, but I've never learned the right way to eat it, or what the elements mean. Now I know and you can too.

Karun (video) - Tom Allen and Leon McCarron made a short film as they followed Iran’s longest river, the Karun, by boat and bike. I was encouraged by the warm Iranian hospitality shown to Tom and Leon on their journey.

♥ Analog Memory Desk - This Analog Memory Desk, designed by Kirsten Camara, features a roll of paper for hundreds of feet of sketches.

The Invention of the Perfect Cup of Coffee - I love my AeroPress coffee maker, but hadn't realized it was designed by 76 year old Alan Adler.

iCON Conference & Workshop - I'm in Prague with my sketchnote buddy Mauro Toselli on Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26, giving a keynote and workshop at the iCON Conference. We'd love to see you there!

Winners!

Michael Ashby, KC Procter and Lucrecer Braxton win the 3 codes for Marked 2 for Mac from Brett Terpstra. Thanks for your generosity, Brett!

Say Hello!

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like what you see, you'd dig one of my books on sketchnoting:

Learn more and buy →

Learn more and buy →

The Dispatch: Let's Go Invent Tomorrow

posted: 06 Mar 2015

I'M EXCITED to share my second Dispatch with new links, appearances and workshops to announce.

But first, let's talk about the image above. That's from an all-hands meeting at LifeLock I sketchnoted in January. I love that quote so much, I've created an 11 x 17 poster from the art you can download and print. Grab the PDF and enjoy.

We have a winner!

Congrats to Leslie Mollner, who wins the The Designer's Pricing Class, a $200 value, from my friends at nuSchool. Leslie is a former college librarian and is currently in training as a web designer and front-end developer. Go Leslie!

Interesting Links

The Shape of Things to Come - I enjoyed this long, detailed look at Apple's Jony Ive, written by Ian Parker at the Atlantic. If you're curious about Ive and his design process, this is a great read.

The DeLorean DMC-12 is an outlier's legacy - As an 80s guy who loves Back to the Future, I thoroughly enjoyed this short video from Petrolicious about Geoff Ombao's classic 1982 DeLorean.

♥ Creating Content with Markdown Video - Markdown Jedi Brett Terpstra uses video to teach markdown, a lightweight writing syntax that makes a plain text file the easiest way to create formatted HTML, PDF, and even Word documents (yuck). I wrote both of my books in markdown and loved every minute of it. Save 35% on Brett's video with code PEACHPIT35.

Sketchnote Moleskine Sketchbook Re-Run Questionnaire - I'm talking with my friends at Moleskine about a possible limited edition re-run of these custom branded Sketchnote Moleskine Sketchbooks. Gimme feedback!

The Unmistakable Creative Podcast - I had a fantastic time talking with Srinivas Rao about how sketchnotes came to be, keeping a logbook, embracing constraints and determination. Listen in.

Workshops & Appearances

Hooray! I have new appearances and workshops to announce:

  • Sketchnote Meetup (Public): Thursday, March 12 in Ann Arbor, MI - I'll be at the Songbird Cafe hosting a casual, free meetup. I'd love to see you there. Sign up right here.
  • Sketchnote Workshop (Private): Friday, March 13, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - I've been brought in to teach Ross School of Business students how to sketchnote. How awesome is that?
  • Sketchnote Workshops (Public): Saturday, April 11, Nashville, TN - Two Half-day Sketchnote Workshops are happening! Hosted at The Skillery in Nashville, I'm offering both a morning and an afternoon workshop. Pricing is $199 and space is limited to 20 students per workshop. Sign up quick!
  • iCON Conference Keynote & Workshop (Public): Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26, Prague, Czech Republic - I'm giving a keynote and workshop at the popular iCON Conference. My buddy Mauro Toselli from Sketchnote Army will be there, along with the new Czech edition of The Sketchnote Handbook. We'd love to see you there too!

Say Hello!

It's great to hear your comments directly from these dispatches, so keep them coming. Your encouragements are what keep me going.

For those who read to the bottom, I'm giving away 3 codes to Marked 2 for Mac ($13.99 value) from Brett Terpstra, a excellent tool for previewing your markdown files. Drop me a note with how Marked 2 can make your writing life better and I'll announce 3 winners in 2 weeks.

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like what you see, you'd dig one of my books on sketchnoting:

Learn more and buy →

Learn more and buy →

12 Years of Rohdesign

posted: 20 Feb 2015

Hard to believe I've been writing here on Rohdesign for 12 years. It all started as a blog to share my thinking after selling The Palm Tipsheet in 2003.

Thanks for your support al these years!

New Feature: The Rohdesign Dispatch

After 12 years, it's time to try new things. Starting today, a Rohdesign Dispatch like this will happen every 2 weeks, with an image, comments and links I've found interesting. This is an experiment, so I'd love your feedback.

Interesting Links

Honesty, Clarity and Action - Shawn Blanc talks about the common denominator between the people we admire and follow: A commitment to honesty and clarity with a bias toward action. Shawn is also working on his new book The Power of a Focus Life, which I can't wait to read.

♥ A Coffee Lover’s Guide to Tea - As a big fan of coffee, I found this post from Michael Allen Smith a helpful primer in better understanding tea, so I can explore and enjoy it fully.

♥ Free Tools in Paper by FiftyThree - I'm enjoying Paper and Pencil on my iPad from my friends at FiftyThree. Now they've made Draw, Sketch, Outline, Write, Color, and Mixer tools free in the app (formerly in-app purchases).

♥ Inquisitive #27: Behind the App #1: History - Myke Hurley has created a fascinating, story-driven, documentary-style podcast series about how apps, so integrated into our lives, came to be. Future episodes will explore how apps are made, giving listeners insight about the lives of app developers.

Say Hello!

I've especially enjoyed hearing your replies to my posts, so please say hello. The more I hear what you like (and what you don't) the better my posts will be.

For those who read to the very bottom, I'm giving away 1 pass to The Designer's Pricing Class ($200 value) from my friends at nuSchool. Reply with a comment about why you should win the class and I will choose and announce the winner in 2 weeks. Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like what you see, you'd dig one of my books on sketchnoting:

Learn more and buy →

Learn more and buy →

Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch!

posted: 17 Feb 2015

I'M EXCITED to announce Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch— the German translation of The Sketchnote Workbook is out. I just received my author copies and this translation of The Sketchnote Workbook looks fantastic.

Das Sketchnote Handbuch has been so popular in Germany, that mitp Verlag wanted to complete the set.

Purchase: Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch at mitp Verlag or Amazon.de

Frauhoelle's review: Hip, hip, hurra, das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch ist da!

More book photos: Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch (Flickr)

A Year of Daily Logging

posted: 17 Jan 2015

THIS YEAR I decided to keep a logbook, thanks to Austin Kleon.

At the end of 2013, I ordered a one page per day Large Moleskine diary in yellow, starting the process of logging on January 1st, 2014. Now that the year is over, my weathered logbook as a treasured item, full of memories.

I've already started a new logbook with a Hobonichi Techo from Japan, with a slightly smaller size and thinner paper than the Moleskine. I'm loving it.

Hobonichi Techo vs. Moleskine.

A Logbook is Not Necessarily a Diary

Trying to sustain a year-long logbook was a bit of a risk. I’ve never been great at consistently keeping a traditional "dear diary" book. I’d start hot for a few weeks or months before flaming out.

The shift away from a "dear diary" to fill at the end of the day, to a book where items are logged as the day unfolds is a key difference. My logbook is a living document. I fill it as the day progresses, rather than working to create a narrative of the day from memory.

Of course that doesn't limit me from adding thoughts after the fact. I’ve made use of empty pages to sketch out concepts and ideas. On one occasion, I sketchnoted a TV documentary as an experiment as I worked on The Sketchnote Workbook — it worked great!

Sketchnote of a TV show: Titanic's Final Mystery.

A Space for Tasks and Ideas

Along with logging daily activities, I use my logbook to set key tasks for the day, using hand-drawn checklists. Sometimes I'll add icons with notes and comments to log entries. I manage my detailed tasks in Things, but it's helpful to keep 2-3 key tasks in my logbook as a reminder.

Sketchnote Travelogue of San Antonio, TX.

I'll often sketchnote experiences, like visits to restaurants or cities. It's great to freely use pages to capture whatever strikes me.

Capturing ideas is another great use for my logbook. I use space to draw something I'm thinking about to work out the details, like this image of a pinewood derby car my son wanted to create.

The Baconator Pinewood Car concept sketch.

That's the beauty of a logbook — it's your space to capture whatever you'd like. There is no correct way — whatever you want to log is fine.

My son Nathan's favorite things from 2014 page.

Try a Logbook!

Experimenting with logbooks has been an enjoyable and valuable experience. I challenge you to start a logbook, even if you're starting late. Think of all the free pages in January you'll have for sketching ideas!

Favorite Sounds for 2014

posted: 01 Jan 2015

AT YEAR END, I'm sharing favorite things from 2014. Today I'm focused on sounds — music and podcasts. Over the next week or so, I'll capture and share my favorite books, TV & film, tools, and this year's experiences here.

MUSIC

I listened to a lot of music this year, while creating The Sketchnote Workbook, here are some of the favorites I came back to again and again:

Ásgeir - In The Silence

Ásgeir's In The Silence was suggested by my friend Brian Artka. I pre-ordered the album and once it arrived, I've had it playing at work, in the car, and traveling. It's a blend of folk, rock and ethereal vocals from Icelander Ásgeir. Favorite tracks include King and Cross, Torrent and In Harmony.

RAC - Strangers

RAC's Strangers came through the Song Exploder podcast. I love the 80s vibe. It provides me with an upbeat, energetic working soundtrack. Favorite tracks include Tegan & Sara's Hard to Hold, Matthew Koma's Cheap Sunglasses, and Katie Herzog's We Belong.

Reporter - Guggenheim

This album from Reporter turned out to be just what I needed to get deep focus while writing the manuscript for The Sketchnote Workbook. Repeated use created a habit: when this album started, I was instantly in a writing mindset. Favorite tracks include Bilbao and Berlin.

PODCASTS

I've been a commuter since starting a contract design project in June, so I have more time for podcasts. Here are a few that stood out this year:

Song Exploder

My pal Kris Hunt recommended Song Exploder with Hrishikesh Hirway. This is a podcast that deconstructs songs slice by slice using audio and interviews with the artists that create the track. Favorites include the Jeff Beal's House of Cards Theme and RAC's Let Go.

Unmistakable Creative

A recent addition to my listening list is Unmistakable Creative with Srinivas Rao. He has a great interview style that brings out the best discussions in his guests and make for good long-form listening. Favorites include Sarah Peck, Cal Newport, Jeff Spencer, and Joe Loya.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

I hesitate to call Dan Carlin's Hardcore History a podcast, as his shortest episodes start at about 2 hours. This is effectively an audiobook feed on history, disguised as a mild-mannered podcast. It will get you thinking. Favorites: Wrath of the Khans, Blueprint for Armageddon, and Thor's Angels.

I hope you enjoy these audio discoveries as 2015 unfolds!

- Mike

Sketchnote Books and Sketchnote Typeface Make Grea

posted: 28 Nov 2014

AWAKEN THE CREATIVE in someone you love with the gift of The Sketchnote Handbook, The Sketchnote Workbook, and The Sketchnote Typeface. Enjoy these coupons and special prices to make sketchnote gift-giving easy.

The Sketchnote Workbook & The Sketchnote Handbook: 35-50% Off Coupons

Both The Sketchnote Workbook and The Sketchnote Handbook are on sale at Peachpit through Friday, November 29 for 40% off 1 book or 50% off for the combination of 2 books with code BLACKFRIDAY. That includes my entire catalog of my books, PDFs, DVDs and videos at Peachpit.

If you miss the Black Friday deal, you can get 35% off with SKETCHNOTE though the end of the year on my entire catalog of my books, PDFs, DVDs and videos at Peachpit.

The Sketchnote Typeface Full Family: $69 (30% Off) at Creative Market through 12/31

I've put The Sketchnote Typeface Full Family I created to design The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook, on sale through the end of the year for $69 at Creative Market. That's 30% off the $99 price.

The Full Family includes these fonts:

Thank You Everyone!

Most of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who as supported me in my book and typeface creation journey. I could not have done all of this without your encouragement over the past few years. I hope these small tokens of appreciation help you share the gift of creativity with the ones you love.

Thank you!

- Mike

Visiting Amsterdam in November

posted: 01 Nov 2014

THE CLOSEST I've been to Amsterdam was Schiphol Airport in the late 90s on the way to and from Frankfurt, Germany. I imagined spending a few extra days in Amsterdam, but it wasn't to be.

It took 15 years, but I'm headed to Amsterdam in November!

DSGNDAY Conference: November 11 (All day)

I'm speaking at a new, one-day conference called DSGNDAY on November 11th, 2014 at Compagnietheater in the heart of Amsterdam.


Photo: Deen van Meer

I'll be presenting my Sketchnote Mini-Workshop in the afternoon, teaching the basic elements of sketchnoting that students can follow along with as I present, then we'll do a sketchnoting challenge together. It's going to be awesome!

Be sure to check out the full program of fantastic speakers, featuring Mark Boulton, Leisa Reichelt, Val Head, Stephen Hay, Bonny Colville-Hyde, Peter Boersma, and Laura Kalbag. I can't wait to meet them all.

Tickets for the one-day event are 275 euros and are still available, so act quickly! Check the attendee list to see if there's someone you already know signed up.

Amsterdam UX Meetup: November 10 (7pm)

I've also been invited to present on sketchnotes at the Amsterdam UX meetup on November 10th, 7pm at Publitas.com HQ in Amsterdam.

I'll be presenting Lessons Learned from Sketchnotes a talk in which I share what I've learned through the process of developing sketchnotes and building the sketchnoting community. It's going to be great!

Sketchnote Coffee Meetup: November 10 (Noon)

I'm talking with my friend Jay Henriquez about an informal public sketchnote coffee meetup around lunchtime on November 10th at a coffee shop somewhere in Amsterdam. If you are interested in attending this event, or have a good spot in mind, let Jay or me know.

I'll bring my orange markers to sign books, so bring book, and come and say hello if you attend on of these events!

Tot ziens!

Sketchnote Icon Hoodies & Aqua Black Tees!

posted: 25 Oct 2014

THE COTtON BUREAU has invited me to re-run my popular Sketchnote Icon artwork on zippered hoodies and new t-shirt colors and and 3x-5x sized tees!

NEW SKETCHNOTE ZIP HOODIES

Get the same aqua icon design design on a zippered, Tri-Blend Charcoal hoodie with white details. These are $48 plus shipping:


NEW BLACK AQUA T-SHIRTS

We've added a new Black Aqua tee option (love how it looks with the aqua icons) as well as the original Tri-Black tee, each color is $28 plus shipping:



NEW WOMEN'S CUT NAVY T-SHIRTS

Check out the new women's cut Navy tee for $28 plus shipping:


LARGER 3X-5X SHIRT SIZES

We've heard lots of requests for larger sizes, so Cotton Bureau is offering 3x-5X shirt sizes if you like your tees with xxx-tra room.

As of this post you have until NOVEMBER 6TH to pre-order your hoodies and tees! Don't miss this opportunity to get the sketchnote icons in your favorite color, size or in a cool looking hoodie!

Order here before pre-ordering closes on November 6th!

New York City

posted: 24 Sep 2014

NEW YORK CITY turned out to be just what I expected and nothing like what I'd expected, all at the same time. It was fascinating, rich, quirky, and fun.

I want to go back as soon as I can.

New York City has a unique vibe. It feels large and small, simple and complex, old and new. Somehow these strange contrasts work together perfectly.

My wife and I enjoyed four fantastic days in the city. We walked to restaurants, rode subway lines, busses, boats and cabs. We ate delicious food and spent time with dear friends. By the end, we were physically worn out but our spirits were alive and happy. It was an awesome trip.

Here's a selection of photos I shot to tell the story in images:

Wednesday, September 17th

NYC Subway map. Very useful!

View from our hotel on 43rd Street and 2nd Avenue.

Pad Thai & Pad See Euw, Talent Thai Kitchen, 34th Street & 3rd Avenue.

Talent Thai Kitchen Food Sketchnote

Chrysler Building view from our hotel door at dusk.

Chrysler Building view from our hotel door at night.

Thursday, September 18th

Woke up in the City that Never Sleeps.

Brooklyn Bridge B&W

Brooklyn in the distance.

Proof shot! I was on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Julianna's Pizza. Fabulous!

Julianna's Pizza Sketchnote.

Friday, September 19th

Scones and coffee at Le Pain Quotidien on 3rd Avenue.

Street market on 43rd Street & 3rd Avenue.

Times Square!

Grand Central Station windows.

Grand Central Station main hall.

Saturday, September 20th

Crosstown bus stop on East 42nd Street.

Our Circle Tour of Manhattan happened on this ferry.

Statue of Liberty.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge.

UN Building. Our hotel was right behind it.

Exquisite design details like this one for Borough Hall in Brooklyn, are everywhere in the subways.

Brooklyn Crab, Red Hook.

Upper Deck at Brooklyn Crab, Red Hook.

Robin Williams sticker in Red Hook.

Lady Liberty from Red Hook.

Freedom Tower at dusk.

9/11 Memorial, South Tower location.

Too many names on that monument. Such a tragedy.

Freedom Tower at night.

Grand Central and The Chrysler Building.

End of the line!

Thank you, New York City!

Flickr: NYC Photo Set

Flickr: Agile Day NYC 2014 Sketchnotes

The Sketchnote Workbook Launch!

posted: 20 Aug 2014

THE DAY HAS COME! The Sketchnote Workbook launches today! I've heard that some orders are already being shipped because the books are arriving sooner than expected. What an exciting week!

If you haven't ordered your own copy of The Sketchnote Workbook yet, order today at Peachpit, or at Amazon. Other options include: Barnes & Noble, Powells, or IndieBound. For bulk orders, use 800-CEO-READ.

International buyers, check out: Indigo.ca (Canada), Amazon (Canada), Amazon (UK), Amazon (Germany), Amazon (France), and Amazon (Japan).

Post Reviews

One of the most valuable things you can do for my book is to write your review on Amazon. The opinion of others encourages people to give my book a try.

Share The Book

Another great help for helping readers find the book is sharing it on social media. I've created a Workbook book page, which offers an overview, a sample chapter and sample video for anyone who wants to see more details before they buy:

http://rohdesign.com/workbook

You can use any images from the Sketchnote Workbook Flickr album.

Read My Journey in Posts

Review the 10 posts that cover how I wrote, sketched, shot, inked and created final production files for the book.

Thanks!

Thank you to everyone who has followed my journey to completion. Your support has been fantastic—I hope you all enjoy The Sketchnote Workbook!

The Sketchnote Workbook Online Video: On Sale Next

posted: 28 Jul 2014

THE SKETCHNOTE WORKBOOK (the printed book) is still in the process of being printed, bound and readied for shipping on August 18th, and by the way, will include the 2 hour and 41 minute video that I mention below.

Only Want the Online Video? It's the Peachpit Video Deal of the Week!

If you are interested ONLY in the streaming online video, The Sketchnote Workbook Online Video is the Peachpit Video Deal of the Week starting Monday. This is a good deal if you only want the video, or plan to get just the PDF book.

This week only, you can buy the The Sketchnote Workbook Online Video video for just $12.99 (you Save 59% of the $31.99 list price). The deal ends at midnight, Saturday, August 2nd, 2014.

Buy The Sketchnote Workbook Online Video for $12.99

Reminder! This Same Video Comes with the printed book releasing August 18th!

The Sketchnote Workbook paper edition (the book) will come with this 2 hour and 41 minutes of video. IF you have pre-ordered the print edition of the book, or want the printed edition of the book—pass on this sale!

You will get access to this video with your printed copy, so you don't need the online video purchased separately.

The Sketchnote Workbook Online Video: On Sale This

posted: 28 Jul 2014

The Sketchnote Workbook (the printed book) is still in the process of being printed, bound and readied for shipping on August 18th, and by the way, will include the 2 hour and 41 minute video that I mention below.

Only Want the Online Video? It's the Peachpit Video Deal of the Week!

If you are interested ONLY in the streaming online video, The Sketchnote Workbook Online Video is the Peachpit Video Deal of the Week starting Monday. This is a good deal if you only want the video, or plan to get just the PDF book.

Reminder! This Same Video Comes with the printed book releasing August 18th!

The Sketchnote Workbook paper edition (the book) will come with this 2 hour and 41 minutes of video. IF you have pre-ordered the print edition of the book, or want the printed edition of the book—pass on this sale!

You will get access to this video with your printed copy, so you don't need the online video purchased separately.

New Sketchnote Apparel

posted: 21 Jul 2014

The Sketchnote Workbook is done and off to the printer and set to release on August 18th. I have two apparel tidbits to share:

1. The Sketchnote Icon T-Shirt is back!

70 Sketchnote Icon t-shirts were created with Cotton Bureau in May. As of today, 54 people have requested a re-print, so we're pre-ordering a new run, starting next week: Monday, July 28th.

If you missed ordering this shirt in May, or are just seeing these now, sign up on the top right side of the shirt page to have Cotton Bureau email you when ordering begins next Monday:

2. Sketchnote Icon Hoodies

Friends have told me they like the hoodie I wear in the The Sketchnote Workbook video. I'm gauging interest in creating a run of these for the fall.

If you'd like one, let me know if you would prefer in this Google form:

I'll tally your emails up and determine whether to run these, and which to create.

Thanks!

P.S. Please pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook so that is sent to you as soon as it's ready. I can't wait for you to see and hold it!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 10 - Start the Pres

posted: 11 Jul 2014

THE BOOK IS DONE! Yes, my design files are with Peachpit’s production department, on their way to print!

Around the middle of August, fresh copies of The Sketchnote Workbook will roll off of the presses and find their way to customers.

Somehow, my team and I were able to overcome all of the delays, obstacles and problems of the last four months and deliver the book on time. If you had told me that in March, April, May or June, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Chalk it up to hard work and help from my amazing Mom and Dad, who have tirelessly helped care for our kids, assisting Gail as she is recovering well from her back surgery in late March.

I won’t forget the help of friends and family, our church community, and my editors and publisher for all being creative and supporting us when everything seemed bleak.

Finally, your support as readers and part of the sketchnoting community has been special to me. I’ve felt so much encouragement as you have rallied around my journey. Thank you for helping make this book happen.

Book Update

The book is looking fabulous! I’ve seen proofs of the cover and interior pages—all I can say is WOW!


The presses will start running in a week or so, and in mid-August, we’ll have a big ol’ batch of Sketchnote Workbooks to send out. I can’t wait!

I will admit that the last several weeks were a grind. I would typically wake at 7AM and work on the book until 1AM with lunch and dinner breaks for days on end. At the end it is so worth seeing this book come to life in black and orange.

I’m extremely pleased with the mix of samples from other sketchnoters, the amount of worksheets and challenges we’ve created, and the overall breadth of the book’s content.

We’ve aimed to capture everything I’ve learned in the last five years as I’ve experimented with sketchnoting. I can’t wait to see how you guys apply these ideas and create new ways to use sketchnoting. It’s going to be awesome!

Video Update

Brian Artka, my video storyteller, worked like crazy to meet his deadline in June. Gabe Wollenburg wrote scripts, and helped index and create fun questions. Steve Mork created a great new soundtrack.

The cinematography, screenplay, and music work great together as a unit:

Together, we've created 2 hours and 41 minutes of advanced teaching across 32 videos. I can’t wait for you to enjoy and learn from the videos we’ve crafted.

Steve Mork also created a remix version of the theme you can download:

Pretty cool, eh?

Colorization Video

I happened to take a brief video of the colorization process in Photoshop as a final installment in my video series:

When I receive the final copies of the book, I’ll take some video as well as photos and share them in another update.

Request a Sketchnote Icon T-Shirt Re-Run!

Back in May, 70 two-color aqua and white Sketchnote Icon t-shirts were sold at Cotton Bureau. Right now there are 24 requests for a re-run, and if we hit 50, Cotton Bureau will launch a new run. If you missed ordering one of these t-shirts before, here’s your chance to make them available again. Request a re-run on this page to make it happen.

Sketchnote Icon Hoodies?

Interested in buying a hoodie like the one I wear in the video? If so, drop me a line. I would need to line up a printer and other details, but if I have enough interest, it could be fun to create those too. Let me know if you would prefer pull-over vs. zippered, and one color icons vs. white and aqua.

Mailing List

I have a mailing list that sends these updates right to your inbox. You can sign up for that newsletter right here.

Pre-Order!

It really helps me out if you pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. It ensures your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready, and it gives Peachpit a decent idea of how popular the book could be. Win-win!

Hey! We did it!!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 9 - Inking, Buildin

posted: 14 May 2014

I’M DEEP inking illustrations, getting ready to scan and use them in combination with my manuscript and submitted samples to build The Sketchnote Workbook.

Here’s a brief video I shot of the inking process, if you’re curious:

By the end of the month, I need to have inked pieces done and have the pages for the body of the book done. It’s been a challenge with work and family obligations. The good news: my wife is recovering well, though slowly, from her back surgery.

I hope I can pull this off.

Final Video Shoots Ahead

Brian and I will be shooting the final two videos this week (8 and 9). All of the scripted voiceovers have been recorded, which leaves the ad-lib voiceovers I’ll do as I watch myself work in rough cuts of the videos.

We’re getting close on the video, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out in Brian’s final edits. I think you’ll love all of the process-of-sketchnoting work captured in the video. I can't wait for you to enjoy it.

70 Sketchnote Icon T-Shirts Sold!

Yes! 70 t-shirts sold at The Cotton Bureau. You guys are pretty amazing. If you’re one of the buyers, your t-shirts should be arriving in a few weeks. I'd love to see your photos on social media. Thanks for your support!

Mailing List

I have a mailing list that sends these updates right to your inbox. You can sign up for that newsletter right here.

Tumblr'ed

Follow my designing, illustrating and shooting video for this book at my Tumblr.

Pre-Order!

It really helps me out if you pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. It ensures your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready and it gives Peachpit a decent idea how popular the book could be. Win-win!

Limited Edition Boxed Set

Several readers were interested in a boxed set once both books are published. The books would be signed and the enclosing box would have hand-drawn illustrations in limited quantities (maybe 25). If this sounds interesting, drop me a note, and I'll add you to my pre-interest list.

OK, back to work!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 8 - Sketching Wrapp

posted: 01 May 2014

HALFWAY DONE! This weekend I was able to complete the sketching phase of The Sketchnote Workbook. It was a long, tough process but rewarding when I put the last pencil stroke on the last page of my sketches.

While sketches are not a completed book, they are the map that helps me figure out how to fit everything I want into the pages and what to illustrate to make that happen.

I’m planning to create a separate printed book and PDF ebook from the pencil sketches I did for The Sketchnote Workbook and one for the Handbook, too. If you’re interested in either or both of these books, please let me know.

Inking Up Next

Now that the book has been completely sketched out, I’ll ink up all of the elements I need to build the pages, using the sketches as my map.

I’ll be capturing the inking process with a short video, much like I did in update 7, to share in a future update, so look for that and wish me luck as I ink!

Sketchnote Icon T-Shirts at Cotton Bureau

I’ve taken the design from the sweatshirt I’m wearing in the Sketchnote Workbook video and have created a two-color aqua and white version on dark gray tri-blend shirts at Cotton Bureau:

The shirts will be available to order for just 10 more days, so act quickly to order yours. Pricing is $24 + $5 shipping anywhere in the US or $10 shipping to Canada and Europe. Order now!

Mailing List

If you’re reading this on the site, you may not know I have a mailing list that sends these Workbook updates and my other posts right to your inbox. You can sign up for that newsletter right here.

Pre-Order!

It really helps me out if you pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. It ensures your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready, and it gives Peachpit a decent idea of how popular the book will be. Win-win!

Thanks again for following along.

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 7 - Sketching The W

posted: 23 Apr 2014

Here's a brief video on my book design process using sketches and a written manuscript. This should give you a good idea how my process works when sketching out the entire book at a 10,000 foot level.

I'm about to complete the sketching phase this week and jump right into inking after that, which presents new challenges and opportunities.

Tumblr'ed

Follow my daily process of designing, illustrating and shooting video for this book at my Tumblr. I'm really digging the tool for documentation.

Limited Edition Boxed Set

Several readers are interested in a boxed set once both books are published. The books would be signed and the enclosing box would have hand-drawn illustrations in limited quantities (maybe 25). If this sounds interesting, drop me a note and I'll add you to my pre-interest list.

Pre-Order!

Yes, you can pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready.

Thanks for reading and watching!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 6 - Delayed But Not

posted: 16 Apr 2014

THINGS HAVEN’T GONE AS PLANNED THE PAST FEW WEEKS. That almost feels like an understatement as I key the words.

My wife had a back issue that required surgery about two weeks ago. She’s doing well after a successful operation, but recovery is slow and our three kids all need attention. Life will be different for a while.

Of course, this unplanned event happening while writing, illustrating and designing a book is, let’s say, less than ideal. But family is first, no question.

Friends and family have been a huge support in this tough time. My editors, Nikki and Jan, have been very understanding, fighting for a 14-day extension to get me back on track.

This week I’m finally back to working on the book.

Sketches

I’ve been planning out chapters by turning the manuscript for each chapter into small pencil sketches called thumbnails. This one change has accelerated my work. I’m working at a 10,000 foot view of the book, while still providing the detail I need to convey the pages to my editor and to ink the illustrations.

Originally, I’d drawn two-page spreads on a single sheet of letter-sized paper:

For the smaller thumbnail sketches, 4 two-page spreads will fit on a single page. You can see the difference in this thumbnail sketch sample:

This iteration goes to show that even a proven process like the one I had for The Sketchnote Handbook can continue to improve.

Video

We are now half finished shooting on-location videos! We've shot videos 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7, with videos 1, 4, 8 and 9 left to go. We still have to shoot sketchnote samples, record voiceovers, and Brian has to edit everything into a cohesive unit.

Our videos are turning out fabulous. They're all shot on-location, showing off several unique Milwaukee locations. I can't wait for you to see them!

We're excited about the long video sequences of me creating sketchnotes from start to finish. We'll be adding voiceovers that describe what I’m thinking as I work, and we'll add graphics to share tips as the video plays.

Tumblr

If you’re curious about the process of designing, illustrating and shooting video for this book, check out my Tumblr site. I’ve rediscovered Tumblr as a great space for updates that are larger than tweets but smaller than full-on articles.

Pre-Order!

Yes, you can pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready.

Limited Edition Boxed Set: Interested?

I'm starting to kick around the idea of a special, limited-edition boxed set of both books. The books would be signed and the enclosing box would have hand-drawn illustrations in limited quantities (maybe 25). If this sounds interesting, drop me a note and I'll add you to my pre-interest list.

Get the Boulder Rolling…

Now that my wife is better and we have help from friends and family, it’s time to get the Sketchnote Workbook moving again.

This is how life is. We have to adapt to the situations we cannot predict. My son Landon was born during the making of The Sketchnote Handbook, so I know this feeling—and I know I can make the Workbook happen.

Thanks for all of your kind words and support!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 5 - Video Shoots &

posted: 14 Mar 2014

THIS PAST MONTH WAS A BLUR. I’ve flown to Texas for workshops in San Antonio and at SXSW in Austin, have completed the Workbook’s manuscript, and have shot two of nine videos.

I feel behind, but that’s good. It keeps me cranking.

Sketches are next, along with scripting and shooting seven more videos in March and early April. Brian Artka will take the raw footage, shaping it into a cohesive story for our May video deadline.

Video Shoots

The last two weeks I’ve been on location at Milwaukee’s Stone Creek Factory, shooting scripts written by Gabe Wollernburg with Brian, my video storytelling Jedi master. Footage and b-roll for chapter 5: Sketchnoting Documentation and chapter 6: Sketchnoting Travel Experiences are done. Seven shoots are left.

We’re having a great time capturing these videos. You’re going love the on-location, documentary style we’re using to tell the story of this video series.

This will be a 2-hour video, heavy on actual sketching and helpful tips, with just enough of me on camera to set the stage. I can’t wait to see the final videos.

Follow the video shoots in pictures on Instagram or my Flickr photostream,

Sketches Ahead

For this stage, I’ll use the approved manuscript to lay out the entire book, page by page, as pencil sketches.

This worked great for the Handbook. In fact, it’s pretty amazing how similar my pencil sketches look, compared to the final, printed book. The sketching stage is critical for the inking and production, which follow it.

I’ll use printed templates from the Handbook to sketch out the pages. Looseleaf sheets let me move book pages around as needed and when I run out of templates, I can print more.

A book map is also created to help me see the book at a high level and lets me determine where I may need to add or subtract pages within each chapter.

Sketching is hard, but a ton of fun. With the established design I’ll inherit from the Handbook, I’m hoping I can keep pace with my very tight schedule.

Pre-Order!

Yes, you can pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready.

Go, Go, Go!

I have to keep the Sketchnote Workbook train rolling, so it’s time to get back to work. Thanks for following the process. I'll update you again soon!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 4 - I Need Your Ske

posted: 22 Feb 2014

I'm taking a break from writing to ask of you all a favor: 

I need your sketchnotes!

Don't worry about your drawing skills, because I want to encourage all levels of sketchnoters with the book.

Chapters I'm writing now will require sketchnote samples, to show readers what the end results can look like.

I have samples of my own, but want a wider variety, just like the variety of work used in The Sketchnote Handbook.

### I Want Your Existing Sketchnotes
Have sketchnotes in the categories bellow? Great! submit them.

### Create New Sketchnotes
Want to create new sketchnotes for the book? Great! I need new ones too.

### Sketchnotes Needed
Here are the areas I need sketchnotes for:

  • Idea Generation - Using sketchnotes to generate and capture ideas you have for writing, building things, design, whatever you are creating.
  • Idea Mapping - Sketchnotes that show ideas mapped out. Maybe you've mapped out a writing project work projects, your life plan, etc..
  • Planning - Sketchnotes you've used to create a task list, plan a project (large or small), plan a vacation or even your garden layout.
  • Idea Documentation - Any sketchnotes you've created to capture a recipe, a series of steps in a process are great. Brewing coffee, baking a pie, etc.
  • Travel - Using sketchnotes to document your travel experiences and vacations. Sights you've seen, daily activities and so on.
  • Food & Drink - Sketchnoted meal, coffee or tea experiences, like coffee cupping are great. I would love to see a wide variety of food choices.
  • Movies - Watch your favorite film and sketchnote details like the characters, plot, setting, conflict and resolution, your observations, etc.
  • TV Shows - Capture the details of your favorite TV show episodes. Map out characters as you watch to see how their character develops over time.
  • Sporting Events - Sketchnoting competition, like the Olympics, a baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball or football game, noting key plays, final score, etc.
  • Music - Capture the feeling you have listening to or watching your favorite music. Sketchnote the band members, lyrics, the tracks played, etc.

### Specifications
Specs for existing or new sketchnotes you're submitting:

  • Must be your own original work.
  • Must be G-rated because lots of kids will read this book.
  • All drawing quality sketchnotes are acceptable! I want variety.
  • Must be a sketchnote. Both text and images used together. It can be more text or more images, but must use both text and images together.
  • Can be black and white or color. Be aware that the final art will be printed in black and gray. Colors can be adapted nicely to grays in Photoshop.
  • Low res scans or photos are OK. I'll need high res if chosen.
  • If chosen, I will have a usage document for you to sign and return.

DEADLINE: Submission deadline is March 15th. Sooner is always better!

Submit Your Sketchnotes!

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 3 - Manuscript, Mus

posted: 19 Feb 2014

THE SKETCHNOTE WORKBOOK is coming to life. I'm working hard with a deadline looming. Today, it's a struggle to write out my ideas. Other days, the words seem to flow. Every day I make progress.

The Manuscript

I'm writing chapter 4 of 9 right now. The entire written manuscript is due at the end of February. Just writing that made me sweat a little.

I've been writing the drafts using the syntax called markdown in Writer Pro for the Mac. Writer Pro offers an interesting workflow feature that separates writing into Notes, Writing, Editing and Reading. In each state the typeface, cursor and highlight change to help you work through your text.

You'd think a change so simple would have little impact, but I've found it useful to mentally move between these 4 steps in my writing. Markdown gives me a basic level of structure for my writing, but not too much. It has the right balance to keep me focused on crafting words.

Writer Pro exports my markdown file to a Word doc format, which my editor Jan reviews, using Word's track changes feature. Word is definitely not my favorite writing tool, but the track changes feature is a requirement to manage our collaborative writing and it works well.

Sketching Ahead

Once the text is finalized, I'll begin sketching book pages: selecting sketchnote samples and other design details. Sketching is key step because it determines the book's structure and design, which I'll use for inking and production.

Workbook Video

Of course I couldn't just do a book. I'm also creating a new 2-hour video with the same team from The Handbook: Brian Artka, Gabe Wollenburg and Stephen Mork), plus Amber Pierce for instructional design support. We're scripting as my chapters are completed and will begin shooting in March.

Video Soundtrack

The Workbook's video soundtrack is finalized! It was created by Stephen Mork, who created the Handbook video's soundtrack. I challenged Steve to make a musical piece that's new and yet related to The Handbook's video soundtrack. He did a fabulous job. Here's the final soundtrack:

San Antonio & Austin, Texas

On Friday, March 7th, I'll be in San Antonio, Texas for a student sketching workshop for my pal Michael Clayton at University of the Incarnate Word and giving a sketchnoting mini workshop at AIGA San Antonio on Friday night. I had a great time in San Antonio last year and am excited for a repeat.

I'll be in Austin on March 8th, putting on the Sketchnoting: Move Your Doodles Out Of The Margins workshop for 60 SXSW attendees with Eva-Lotta Lamm, Craighton Berman and Patrick Ashamalla. We aren't sure what to expect, but it should be a blast.

Story Signals Podcast Interview

Just yesterday I appeared on Matt Ragland's Story Signals podcast. I had a great time chatting with Matt about dealing with adversity and opportunity, ways to stay generous and a little bit about The Sketchnote Workbook. Listen in.

Pre-Order!

Yes, you can pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure a copy is delivered to you as soon as it's ready.

Keep Making Progress

I keep telling myself to just keep moving, making progress every day. With 10 weeks to go, it will be a crazy ride, but as I learned from The Handbook experience, it can be done.

Thanks for your support everyone!

Interview: Tobias Gutmann & Face-o-mat

posted: 31 Jan 2014

LAST YEAR, I saw Tobias Gutmann and his Face-o-mat mentioned in my friend Dave Gray’s weekly newsletter, so I reached out for an interview.

What is a Face-o-mat? Here's a video overview:

And now, here's my interview with the Face-o-mat's creator, Tobias Gutmann.

Hello Tobias! It’s a wonderful honor to interview you!

Hello, nice to hear from you!

Tell me a little about yourself. You are a Swiss citizen born in Papua New Guinea. What’s your back-story?

Well, I did grow up in Papua New Guinea, walked barefoot all day long and had a tree kangaroo as pet.

They say I’m Swiss, but about half of my life, I lived far from the country with white mountains, chocolate and cheese.

In Berne, Switzerland I studied my BA in visual communication, then worked in Tanzania for 6 months, before moving to Sweden.

You now live in Stockholm, Sweden (one of my favorite cities) how did you end up there and what are you doing in Stockholm?

I was looking for a new environment, that could inspire me. I have never been to Sweden, so I decided to move to Stockholm and study my MA in Storytelling (Graphic Design and Illustration).

I love the idea of this hand-made portrait machine, the Face-o-Mat you’ve created. How did you come up with the idea?

I found some cardboard, glued it together and painted Face-o-Mat on it. I just felt like drawing portraits, so I tried to make a fun experience out of it.

I thought it would mainly attract kids, but then the hipsters, whole families and even old people with grey hair wanted to have their portrait done. I was surprised to see how many different people were attracted by the social machine.

What led you to building the machine? Were there any technical challenges?

The first Face-o-mat was for a christmas market at Konstfack.

I did not plan to travel with it from beginning. It was quite a struggle, when I started traveling with the huge box on busses and subways in Stockholm.

When I got invited to Milan, I decided to rebuild the Face-o-mat. I collaborated with designer Pål Rodenius to develop the new machine, which had to be smaller, lighter and easier to set up. The new box out of MDF survived long distances and bumpy roads.

In Tokyo Face-o-mat’s wheels fell off. I was tired and the Face-o-mat was heavy, then the guys at Idée Garage made a brand new skateboard for Face-o-mat. That was awesome!

Tell me how your Face-o-Mat process works, especially with just 3 minutes per portrait!

(little interview within the interview)

Tobias: Welcome to Face-o-mat.

Guest: Eeehm, what is this?

Tobias: You get your face on a paper, with an optional „Facelift“ and you also choose if it should be „Classical“ or „Avant-garde“. Do you wanna try?

Guest: What is Facelift and Avant-garde?

Tobias: Facelift transforms your face into whatever the machine decides. It can for example be an animal or a chair. The „Avant-garde“ setting visualizes what Face-o-mat sees behind your face.

Guest: Ok, let’s try with a slightly avant-garde Facelift. After 3 minutes...

Guest: Goodness!!! I look like my sixth grade teacher!!...

How do you determine how to draw a person? How much do the selectors and talking with them influence in the portrait process?

The settings people choose is a starting point, but then anything can influence the drawing; how people act, what they say or even the background music.

I don’t have time to think. I just draw, then something happens on the paper.

How do you charge for the portraits and do the people pay before or after the portrait is done?.

There is a small slot, where Face-o-mat swallows money.

Sometimes people don’t have money, then I draw them for free and sometimes people pay more than expected. In Face-o-mat I try not to create a hierarchy.

Do most people choose a standard portrait or facelift? Why do they go one way or the other?

There is a high risk that something unpredictable could happen when choosing to get a Facelift. Some people like that kind of adrenaline, others go the safe way and choose Classic.

Actually, the choice they make, says a lot about the character of a person. I encourage people to be bold in their choices. I mean, it’s just a drawing on a piece of paper.

How do people react to the Face-o-mat? Are they generally excited and have fun?

Some are shy and some are nervous. Many people are curious and ask questions, they appreciate the talking part of Face-o-mat.

I’ve had some really interesting conversations about life. Lot’s of people smile, laugh and are very positive. That is the fuel, that Face-o-mat is running on. Without all the lovely visitors, Face-o-mat would be very sad.

Has anyone ever become angry or upset with a portrait you’ve done of them with the Face-o-Mat?

Possibly. They usually don’t tell me. Sometimes I am afraid, to give away the illustration because I don’t like it. Face-o-mat never deletes or starts over again. What happens in the moment, is what people get.

I had customers who where not satisfied with their face-illustration, so they came back and tried again with different setting. Maybe with a bit more Facelift.

You’ve visited other countries with the Face-o-Mat. Why did you choose to go international and where did you travel to?

I didn’t actually plan to go international, it kind of just happened. I spent the summer in Tanzania, then received emails from Tokyo and London. I thought it would be exciting to test the concept in different cultures, so I followed, where Face-o-mat got invited.

Were there any language barriers in your international travels?

It’s a different experience, when visitors can not express themselves through language, but language barriers are not always negative. It doesn’t always need to be words. Gestures or facial expression say a lot and in the end the illustration is the language of Face-o-mat.

Any future travels planned for you and Face-o-mat?

I have many new ideas and projects that I am working on, but if I get invited to a place, that would add an interesting new chapter to the Face-o-mat story, I will say yes!

Thanks so much Tobias for a little of your time. Any parting words of wisdom you would like to share?

If I would build the next iPhone, it would not have a screen, just a frame with a little window, to talk to your neighbor.

Learn more about Tobias and his fabulous Face-o-mat:

It's fun to scan through all of the photos of people and their Face-o-mat portraits. If you like what Tobias is doing, reach out and let him know!