The Sketchnote Handbook: A brilliant new guide to visual note taking

The Sketchbook Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking by Mike Rohde is the definitive new guide to this popular type of visual thinking, which is a unique hybrid of hand-written notes, simple drawings and typography. It’s ideal for capturing ideas from books and presentations in a memorable way, or for journaling your creative thoughts.

To borrow Rohde’s definition from the book, “Sketchnotes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting, drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes and visual elements like arrows, boxes and lines.” He describes it as a whole-brained approach to taking notes that is more engaging to the brain of the person creating them, as well as providing a richer visual context to others who may view them. In this context then, sketchnoting is all about capturing ideas in a memorable way, not about creating artwork. Rohde emphasizes that you don’t need to be an artist to create sketchnotes; anyone can make them out of five basic shapes: the circle, square, triangle, line and dot.

In The Sketchnote Handbook, the medium IS the message: Its content is not communicated via endless paragraphs of boring text, but by a series of colorful black and orange sketchnotes. Just paging through this fascinating book drives home the point that images can communicate far more in a very compact space than multiple paragraphs of text. The book is divided into 7 sections:

  • What are sketchnotes?
  • Why sketchnote?
  • Developing listening skills
  • The sketchnoting process
  • Types of sketchnotes
  • Sketchnoting approaches, hierarchy and personalization
  • Sketchnoting skills and techniques

The Sketchnote Handbook is a valuable primer for this powerful yet easy to do learn of visual note taking, which can be used for brainstorming and capturing ideas using everyday tools – a notebook and a pen or pencil.

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