Buy my Books!

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

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.
Read more about Mike →

SIGN UP! Get the Rohdesign Newsletter.

« REWORK Artwork on ABC News | Main | SXSW Interactive 2010 Sketchnotes »

Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2)

A few weeks ago, my guest article Illustrating REWORK (Part 1 of 2) appeared on the 37signals blog, Signal vs Noise. In that article I shared how Jason Fried and I worked together to create illustration ideas for the business book, REWORK.

Today, Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2) appeared on Signal vs. Noise, to complete the story. In part 2 of the guest article, I reveal my process for translating pencil sketch concepts described in part 1, into final artwork ready for print production.

Here's an excerpt from part 2:


Using batches of approved pencil sketches, I began inking illustrations for the book. Batching was important for inking the illustrations, as I could get into a groove and knock out multiple pieces at a time. It also provided a consistency of style, important with such a large group of closely related illustrations.

When I live-sketchnote an event, I listen to a speaker and capture ideas in real-time, using only a gel pen and a Moleskine pocket sketchbook. On the REWORK project I had the luxury and flexibility of taking a more methodical approach to the final illustrations for the book.

Chances were high that I’d see late, last-minute changes in the publishing process and I wanted the ability to make those changes quickly. Rather than inking each illustration as a complete unit, I inked multiple elements separately which were scanned and stitched together in a layered Photoshop document.

First, I created a variety of separate elements on a single spread for multiple illustrations, then used the elements which worked best after scanning the entire page into Photoshop. –Photo by Brian Artka.

Here’s a photo of the final illustration, printed in REWORK. This photo shows how various elements were scanned and stitched together in Photoshop to create a single, unified illustration. –Photo by Brian Artka.

Read: Illustrating REWORK (Part 1 of 2) and Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2)

A big thank you to Brian Artka for shooting my sketchbooks for both of the articles, and Gabe Wollenburg for proofreading and editing tips on the pieces.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to the 37signals Podcast No. 9. At 28:43 into the podcast, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson and Matt Linderman talk about why they hired me for the illustrations and their perspective on the illustration process. Here's the MP3 file.

Review 5 Chapters

Check out Scribd to read 5 chapters of the book, including my illustrations.


I'm very excited now that REWORK has been released. It became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller only a week after release! If you pick up a copy, please leave a comment here about the illustrations.

Order REWORK at Amazon

Reader Comments (3)

Amazing work man! Cheers
March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLee Graham
I have read rework and I love it. I read it in 3 hours and cannot stop talking about it. I was looking for a picture of the book so I can post it on my site and stumbled into your site. I love the illustration it fits perfect with the book, ( I have bought 3 copies by the way to pass on to my business partners.) Great job!
March 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkrys kirkpatrick
@Lee Thanks!

@krys thanks for the great feedback! I love that the book is impacting you so positively. That was the intention f integrating text and images as we have. I hope your business partners enjoy REWORK as much as you have and give it away to their friends too. :-)
March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.