Author: Chris Wilson

  • The Best Sketchnote Blogs for Your Inspiration

    As great as books are, blogs are also of great value. After all, a good blog will be updated frequently and include more specific examples rather than a general rules of thumbs that you see in books. As such, you should check out these wonderful Sketchnote blogs. Some aren’t education specific and as such, they might offer other insights, some of which might not be so useful and others will be.

    1. The Sketchnote army blog

    The sketchnote army is a collection of different sketchnoters sketchnotes and interesting tools, resources and videos. It also hosts the sketchnote army podcast which is full of interesting interview and discussions with sketchnoters from different fields.

    2. Mike Rhode

    I’ve mentioned Mike a few times before already, that’s for good reasons as he is the originator of sketchnotes. His personal site and newsletter feature a round up of great design, drawing and sketchnoting items from around the web. Sometimes he shares a post on the basics of typography, sometimes on how to draw someone’s face and sometimes it’s a podcast on pens.

    3. Verbal to visual

    Verbal to visual is run by Doug Neil and focuses a lot on videos (more on that in a future email) but he also offers some sketchnoting courses on his site including the basics of sketchnoting, how to make sketchnote videos and a new course coming soon on Sketchnoting in the classroom.

    4. Sylvia Duckworth

    Sylvia has put out an astonishing number of sketchnotes on different topics within education. Her blog not only has sketchnotes, but also posts on education as well.

    5. Kathy Schrock’s sketchnoting in the classroom

    Okay, this isn’t so much a blog as a page with great links to all things sketchnoting and education. This includes items on sketchnoting, sketchnoting in the classroom, tools to Sketchnote, videos and more. It’s a great place to get lost on for a while like a good wikipedia page.

    What great sketchnote blogs do you know?

    This list will continue to grow and update as I find out about more great sites. If you’d like to recommend one, leave a comment below and say why.

  • 5 Great Sketchnoting Books for Education

    One of the things I’ve found really helpful to introduce sketchnoting and visual noting taking into my own teaching, is to look at different fantastic books around using visuals for learning and effective communication. After all, communicating and aiding learning are vital tasks that we do as teachers everyday. These great sketchnoting books can help stimulate your thinking and provide you with new ideas for how you can implement visual effectively in your teaching.

    Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde

    The first book on Sketchnoting is from Mike Rohde, the man who invented (or came up with the term) sketchnoting. In this book, Mike introduces the concept of sketchnoting, why you should Sketchnote, different elements in sketchnotes and he covers some basic techniques that will aid your sketchnoting.

    Sketchnote Workbook by Mike Rohde

    Personally I feel this book is even better than the handbook as it covers practical assignments to start experimenting with sketchnoting in different areas of your life. This will help you discover different tools and design ideas to use in your sketchnotes as well as see examples of sketchnotes and get you practicing your chops as well!

    Visual Notetaking for Teachers

    This book is targeted towards general education teachers in America. It includes a lot about how the brain works and how using doodling can help. The writer mentions about teaching English in a “second language context” (people living in a country where English is spoken) and towards the end of the book there are some practical ideas of how to implement sketching in your classrooms.

    It’s a good book but it’s not a definitive guide for how to implement these ideas in your own context

    Sketchnotes for Educators

    This books is by Sylvia Duckworth whom has become quite famous for her sketchnotes around education principles. If you’ve seen someone share a sketchnote about education online, it’s probably one of hers. In this book, there is a collection of her 100 most popular sketchnotes that you can use, share and adapt as well as links to online versions.

    The Doodle Revolution

    This books isn’t strictly about sketchnoting but it is about using visuals and drawing to aid in thinking. This is certainly targeted more towards adults and business settings, but there is some useful information on how using visuals can be an aid in “non visual tasks”

    What Other Great Sketchnoting Books do you Know?

    This isn’t a definitive list, there are many more books on sketchnoting, visual notetaking, and graphical facilitating, mostly looking at things from a business perspective, but these are a great starting point.

    Do you know of any other great sketchnoting books?

    P.s. Check out this list of great analogue sketchnoting tools 

  • The Essential List of Analogue Sketchnoting Tools

    Okay, let’s talk analogue sketchnoting tools. While tools aren’t everything, getting the right tools can help you a lot. They can add an enthusiasm for creating you and your students’ sketchnotes. Ultimately, you only need a pen and paper…or pencil…or whiteboard marker. But these analogue sketchnoting tools can open up some creative options and different effects in your notes.

    Pens and pencils

    There are hundreds of variations around pens and pencils. Strange for something that many of us use everyday. These variations can lead to different styles and looks on paper as well as different feelings when we use them. As such, you may never find the perfect pen or pencil, but you can have a lot of fun playing with different ones.

    Basic pen or pencil

    Although pencils are great for sketching, I prefer using a pen. It means I can’t spend too long on each icon or doodle and have to accept my mistakes, this is really important if you’re trying to follow a talk or lesson. It’s also easier to read. Of course you can go with a pencil first and then use a pen later if you like or whatever.

    For Pens, I really like the uniball air pen line. They have a good amount of bite in paper and have a nice inky look. I tend to use a black pen with a second red one for highlights. These are my go to tools.

    For a pencil, I tend to use a mechanical 0.75m pencil, though I don’t mind using a typical classroom HB pencil. Recently I have been playing with using a lead holder as an alternative as well.

    (Psst, you might want a lead pointer for those as well as an eraser and an eraser shield)

    Chiseled pen

    Pens which have a chisel end, these let you experiment with switching between thicker and thinner ends. Useful for creating different containers or fancy typography. These can be great for creating more text, headings and dividers.

    You could use a fountain pen, or certain permanent markers to get this effect, but chisel tip calligraphy pens are great for small scale work.

    Adding some colour

    As great as black ink on white paper is, adding some accent colours can really help key elements standout and make your notes more interesting. Personally, I really like using just a black and a red pen with perhaps a grey shading pen, but it’s completely up to you. Maybe you want all the colours you can get your hands on.

    Brush pens are great for adding some paint like strokes, but simple felt tips can go a long way as well. Personally, I also keep a red uniball air to provide some variation to my main red pen.

    Dry markers

    If you have a non electronic whiteboard, then you probably have some dry markers. Personally I love using dry markers with a whiteboard as you can erase elements as you go, meaning you can draw a picture, rub out part of it and then redraw to create a completely different image. Like a face which changes from happy to sad and so on. They’re great for practice and evolution over a period of time.

    Paper

    Of course you need something to use your pens and pencils on. While any old paper will do, if you don’t want the paper to bleed through and appear on the other side, there are some choices that are better than others. In addition, paper comes in different forms and these forms can help lend to certain tasks and styles of notes.

    Notebooks

    I have a bit of a thing for notebooks (it’s all my dads fault after her gave me one when I was 14 to keep myself organized and it turned into my external brain. I usually prefer ones with a hardcover so they survive traveling in my bag, things like Moleskine or even better Leuchtrum notebooks are the best (in my opinion) but there are some good rip offs that you can find too. My other top tip is to use dotted square paper. This has the benefit of providing guidelines for where to write or draw, but fades into the background unlike using squared or lined paper.

    Index cards

    I love using index cards to write down quick notes, practice an icon idea and to break down different bits of information which I can rearrange later. There’s nothing magic about these small bits of paper…but there really is. I recommend getting a set and keeping it by your desk and at your teaching table.

    Postits

    Similarly, postit notes have a magical nature to them. They are so useful to hand out to students and let them create a graphic, write a sentence or whatever and then stick it to a larger piece of paper or somewhere in the room. You could use bits of paper with some glue or tac, but postits are much easier.

    Betabook

    Betabooks are basically a mini whiteboard book. I don’t know about you but I love whiteboards as whiteboard pens are fairly easy to draw and write with and you can wipe parts out and then start again. Betaboards lets you have a mini whiteboard you can take in a small bag. Mini whiteboards are cheaper and are great to have in the classroom, but a beta book you can take anywhere.

    What Analogue Sketchnoting Tools do you like?

    There are a lot more analogue tools that you could check out and you can experiment to find the tools that you like. In the meantime, try out some of these tools mentioned about and see what results you can get (or even just use what you have on you and get started now).