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The Sketchnote Handbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, designed to teach regular people how to create sketchnotes.
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The Sketchnote Handbook: Update 4: Digging In

THE SKETCHNOTE HANDBOOK project is now stretching out before me, with much left to do. I'm both excited and a little freaked out by this, with excitement winning at the end of the day. I've known this would be a tough, exciting project. I remind myself of this when I worry about what's to be done.

The Process, Chapter 1 Text & Sketches

Never having written a book, I've been adapting the process I use for my other design and illustration projects to the Sketchnote Handbook process — thinking, writing out ideas, pencil sketches and final art — all approached with an iterative mindset. This approach is working well because it's familiar to me.

For chapter 1, I've started with a table of contents (TOC in the biz), worked through with Nikki at Peachpit. From the TOC I have written chapter 1 in three drafts. Using the first chapter text, I sat down over the course of three evenings sketch out a rough map of the entire chapter's page structure in pencil.

Here is a sample rough sketch from the first spread of the chapter:

Tsh sketch 01

Sketching out ideas is helpful in my design process — in this book writing and illustrating project it has proven true again. The experience of turning words into drawings, type treatments and layouts has been helpful.

Having a sketch of the chapter to compliment my writing has been perfect in figuring out what works, what doesn't, where to expand and where stick with ideas. These rough sketches have also been ideal for sharing direction with the Peachpit team and my book advisory team.

Cover Designs

Something I'm learning as I experience a book writing process — many things are moving at the same time. I suppose in this case, with a book and video there are more threads than usual. One of the important threads to take care of very shortly are the cover designs for the book and DVD.

I have several ideas in my head for covers, which all feature hand-drawn sketchnote-style typography and images. I want the covers to be simple and memorable, and apparently they need to work at full size and as a thumbnail (for selling on websites). Nice challenge, eh?

Next Steps

The next step is a revised pencil sketch of chapter 1, to fix things, refine ideas and get the layout and imagery pretty well set for the inking stage to follow.

My goal is to completely finish chapter 1 all the way to final production with InDesign files and high resolution scans. Once we have the process settled, I believe it will help streamline the production of the 5 remaining chapters.

I'll be starting the video production with Brian Artka soon. Brian is working hard on the video test we did a month ago, which I'll post here when ready. In the mean time, you can check out the out-take video he's already created.

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Reader Comments (2)


Thanks for the update, and the out-takes reel!

I'm really looking forward to seeing both the book and the DVD (hope you are shipping to the UK). It's great that you are sharing so much about the process.

I'm still at the early stages of my sketch noting but enjoy trying it out at meetings and presentations - It really helps info to 'stick'

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnwin

Thanks for the encouraging words John - ill be sure to share more soon!

May 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterMike Rohde

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