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The Sketchnote Workbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, showing how to use sketchnotes in new ways, along with advanced tips and techniques.
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The Sketchnote Handbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, designed to teach regular people how to create sketchnotes.
Learn about and buy the book →
Download a FREE chapter →

Mike Rohde (Color - Square)

ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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Sketchnotes for Thinking Things Through

Home Mac Setup

Before I bought a new 13" MacBookPro with 4 USB C ports to replace my MacBook Air, and wasn’t sure what cables I might need. I spent time researching cables and adapters, but that didn’t help me see what I really needed to make my new MacBook system work.

Instead of buying items I wouldn't use, I used sketchnotes to see what my work environment would look like to help plan my purchases.

I grabbed my Studio Neat Panobook and a bold Neuland Outliner, and laid out the future work area as a loose sketchnote.

Once I saw the sketchnote, I knew which cables and adapters I'd need, and ordered them.

Sketchnotes are a tool to help you see your way through problems, no matter how small or rough your sketches are.

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Teaching Sketchnotes To Teachers

Sketchnoting Education

Last month I was in California and Texas, teaching teachers how to sketchnote, then helping them build curriculum to teach sketchnoting to their students.

Here's what I learned:

Teachers are excited about sketchnoting

They get especially excited when they see how it helps improve student understanding and participation in the subjects they're learning.

In Fresno, California, teachers were already using sketchnoting in science classrooms and labs are seeing a positive impact, because their students are drawn into subjects through visualization.

In our all-day sketchnote workshop, teachers learned sketchnoting for themselves, then crafted new curriculum ideas to integrate sketchnoting into their classrooms.

Here's a sample curriculum idea for science fair boards:

Curriculum whiteboard

In Austin, Texas, an engineering teacher told me he'd been a skeptic during my kickoff keynote, as I shared sketchnote samples and taught basic sketchnoting skills. Still, he decided to give sketchnoting a shot during his 2 days of professional development, and found himself sketchnoting everything he was learning. He became a fan, and was excited to share it with his students.

Sketchnoting is giving teachers new ways to teach

Throughout both of my teaching sessions in Fresno and Austin, teachers were getting insight about integrating sketchnoting into their classrooms.

Some teachers had allowed sketchnoting for students, but hadn't explored it deeply themselves. That's precisely why I was invited to teach sketchnote workshops—to share principles and exercises. Teachers saw first hand what their students were so excited about, and it was awesome!

Avocado sketchnote

Sessions yielded fantastic ideas:

Science teachers planned to have students sketchnote scientific articles to better understand facts by visualizing them. They loved the idea of making a comprehensive visual icon library for their science students to use in their science notebooks and reports.

An english teacher planned to have small groups of students visually map the works of Shakespeare on large sheets of paper. He was excited to try a fresh approach, helping his students see literary masterpieces in a different way.

Two librarians planned to have students sketchnote the books they're reading, to get a deeper understanding through visuals. It was awesome to see teachers excited about sketchnoting in the classroom!

I'm excited to keep teaching sketchnoting

Teaching is hard work, but is rewarding when I see the results so immediately. I want to keep teaching more teachers how to sketchnote, and how to share these idea with their students.

If you or your school are interested in a workshop, reach out.

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My Little Commonplace Book

The Commonplace Book

I've had the itch lately to capture ideas, quotes, images and other tidbits in something dedicated to the task. I had a little book years ago for this purpose, and just found it again.

I've revived my Leuchtturm1917 pocket-sized commonplace book by adding a few new quotes and drawings to it.

I'm making an effort to add more artwork and capture whole chunks of text or images I want to keep. Most of all I want to stop being so precious about what I put in that little book. Having to be perfect didn't work before, so it's time to loosen up.

Years ago I'd pressured myself to make every quote perfectly fit into book, with beautiful, error-free lettering. That mindset killed its usefulness, and it got lost on my bookshelf.

Now I have started scribbling, playing, and using this thing, so it can have value, imperfections and all.

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Tasty Food, Brush Pens, and Little Baron Figs

The Baron Fig Pocket version of the Confidant notebook has become one of my favorite tools for making food sketchnotes.

The littlest Confidant is about the size of a deck of 3x5 inch index cards—the perfect size for the road. I carry a Pocket Confidant, a Pentel Brush Pen, and a Flair Marker when I travel, which makes for a perfect lightweight sketchnoting toolkit.

I'll let the sketchnotes speak for themselves:

Sabari Nihari

Tasty Indian food I had with my friend Yusuf on Chicago's Devon Avenue.

Basil Thai

A delicious Thai dinner with my wife in Charlotte, NC.

Mazorca Tacos

Mazorca truck tacos in Milwaukee's Third Ward with my friend Brian.


A late night snack with my wife at Amelie's French Bistro in Charlotte, NC

Friends Sushi

A tasty bit of Sushi in Chicago. I drew the chefs, and they loved it.

Le Ceni's

A traditional French meal at Le Ceni's on Montmartre, Paris

Ubu Cafe

Charcuterie board and wine at Ubu Cafe in Paris with my wife and friends.

Ottos Burger

Juicy burger with my wife at Otto's Burger in Hamburg, Germany.


Lunch with friends at Bulerei, Hamburg, Germany.


Burgers with my wife and son Nathan at Bareburger, NYC.

Aroydee Thai

A Thai lunch at Aroydee in NYC.


Classic pizza with family and friends at Lombardi's Pizza in NYC.

Kawa Sushi

A sushi dinner on my own at Kawa Sushi in Milweaukee.

Red Espresso

Red tea tasting with my Nespressio and Red Espresso capsules at home.

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Super Bowl LII Sketchnote for Philly Fans!

Superbowl LII Sketchnote

Last night I throughly enjoyed Super Bowl LII, watching the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33.

Typically I sketchnote the action live, while I watch my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers. It's a fun, useful exercise to keep focused and sharpen my sketchnoting skills.

Here's a high resolution, letter-sized PDF scan of the sketchnote for Philly fans who want a little something to print and hang on the office wall to remember your new favorite game. Enjoy!

Download the Super Bowl LII Sketchnote PDF (2.6MB)

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