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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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Tuesday
Feb132018

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.

Amelie's

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.

Bulleri

Lunch with friends at Bulerei, Hamburg, Germany.

Bareburger

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

Aroydee Thai

A Thai lunch at Aroydee in NYC.

Lombardi's

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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Monday
Feb052018

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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Saturday
Feb032018

Three Keys To Better Sketchnotes

Vikings vs. Packers Sketchnote


The Green Bay Packers lost star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and I was frustrated at the team's terrible play this season. I decided to experiment with the format of my game sketchnotes, becoming looser and having more fun (since it was a good bet my team would lose). This little experiment changed my entire perspective on sports sketchnotes for the better.


Ten years ago, I coined the term sketchnoting and began shaping what this word means to me, and to the world.

I helped create a sketchnote community, wrote two bestselling books, and teach sketchnote workshops around the world to help people learn and practice sketchnoting.

I’ve noticed three keys to creating better sketchnotes.

1. Keep an open, positive mindset

More than drawing ability, an open, positive mindset is the foundational key to sketchnoting. It's an openness to learning new things. It's the power to see things differently, to choose what you capture, and how to draw it out on the page.

If you begin with the idea that you're closed to new ideas, you’ve already blocked in your abilities.

I'm a Green Bay Packers fan, and this season my team was terrible without our star quarterback or a good defense. Facing a lost season, I let go of the rigid sketchnotes I used to take for a humorous, looser style for my sketchnotes of games.

I had fun sketchnoting games again. Now I see my sketchnoting practice differently because my mindset was open to change.

Change your mindset to a positive, open one, and your sketchnoting will improve.

2. Believe you already have what it takes

Wherever your drawing quality is at, it’s good enough to start. It may not be as good as you want it to be, and my goodness it can always improve. but it’s enough.

I say “Ideas, Not Art” because it reframes a student's perspective from “I can't draw because I must create gallery-ready artwork” to “I can draw to communicate ideas.”

We have everything we need to communicate visually. Some are further ahead than others, but I have seen the roughest, most rudimentary sketches communicate ideas more effectively than beautiful artwork from talented artists.

We tell ourselves stories about what we can and can't do. One of those stories is how we can or can't draw, and that’s something we can control  by changing our perspective.

Change your perspective from needing to draw like DaVinci to that of a child trying to communicate, and you’re suddenly good enough to begin.

3. See each sketchnote as an experiment

Every time you sketchnote, you’re running an experiment. It's an opportunity to learn and play with new approaches. You win when you push yourself a little, and learn something new.

If you're too focused sketchnoting as a performance—to be seen and judged by other people—it can freeze your flow. You can lose spontaneity and start worrying about failing and messing up.

If everything is an experiment, failure is a learning opportunity.

My own growth-improving jumps have come when I have pushed myself (or have been pushed) to experiment with ideas that might fail. Mistakes are often where I learn the most. Our job is to have grace for ourselves and learn what we can from them.

Live football game sketchnotes were an experiment when I started them in 2015. I wondered if I could capture my experience of a game visually. This year the experiment was loosening up my take on the games to having fun with the process.

That's why I tell people that sketchnotes are first for themselves and then for others. Once we sense that this work will be judged, we tend to clam up and worry about mistakes: mis-spellings, running out of space, or drawing badly.

Maybe we don't have to share everything with the world. For a little while, try getting loose and keeping a few experiments for yourself.

Change your approach toward improv comedy and away from creating a perfectly scripted comedy film.

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Saturday
Dec022017

The Sketchnote Handbook is 5 Years Old!

The Sketchnote Handbook 5th Birthday

5 YEARS OLD!

5 years ago, on December 1st, 2012, the Sketchnote Handbook was released into the world. It's been a whirlwind since then. The book has been translated into German, Russian, French, Chinese, Czech, and Ukrainian. Pretty cool.

Thanks all for the support you've given to me, my books and my projects.

As a thank you. here's my Sketchnote Mini Workshop (32 min) sharing the basics—a presentation I've given around the world in all sorts of settings. I hope you find it as useful as my books!

Happy 5th Birthday, Sketchnote Handbook!

Mike Rohde

Thursday
Dec012016

Happy 4th Birthday, Sketchnote Handbook!

The Sketchnote Handbook 4th Birthday

4 YEARS OLD?!

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 amazing support you've given to me, my books and all of my projects.

Happy 4th Birthday, Sketchnote Handbook!

P.S. If you'd like to send a sketchnoted birthday greeting to The Sketchnote Handbook, use #sketchnotehandbook4th on your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media posts.

Mike Rohde