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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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Dispatch: A Sunny Spring Update!


It's a cold, but sunny spring in Milwaukee, and I'm excited to be doing the Dispatch again! If you're new to this newsletter, welcome.

Here's what I've been up to:

I've been testing out a visual work schedule (see in the photo above). The idea of creating a daily visual schedule came from Cal Newport. I've adapted it for the last few weeks as a way to keep my workday on track in my Bullet Journal. It works great!

I was a guest of Piktochart for a Sketchnotes 101 Blab session (a video conferencing platform) and had a fantastic time! You can watch a replay of the session or read Jacqueline Jensen's recap.

I've been considering what to do next with the 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge book project now that the book with Peachpit is cancelled. I've spoken to other publishers and have been considering my options. I've made no decisions yet, but whatever I choose to do, you'll hear about it here first. Stay tuned!

This edition of The Rohdesign Dispatch has been redesigned, with a lighter, brighter look and feel, thanks to Chimp Essentials from Paul Jarvis. Let me know what you think of the new design.

It feels great to be back!

Interesting Links

♥ Guide to Choosing a Felt Tip Marker Pen - Another fantastic resource from on how to find the right felt tip marker.

♥ Strategic Paper Replacement: iPad Pro & Apple Pencil - Joe, the Gentleman Stationer, goes in depth on the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as a paper and pen replacement. I won't ever eliminate pen and paper, but the iPad Pro and Pencil are fantastic drawing tools.

♥ The Doodle Institute's Free Doodle Video Collection - My friend and fellow doodler, Diane Bleck, offers a free course called Sketchbook Basics to get you started drawing in a sketchbook.

♥ Top 12 Bullet Journal Hacks - Speaking of Bullet journal, check out this great collection of ideas from Boho Berry.

♥ Custom Sketchbooks from Book Block - Have you ever wanted to create a custom sketchbook from your own art or photograph? Well, now you can and for prices starting at just £10 (about $15).

Private Sketchnote Workshops

I've taught private sketchnote workshops at universities like Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan; agencies like mcgarrybowen in NYC; and institutions like Sibley Hospital in Washington DC. I'd love to teach your team too. Let's talk.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like my newsletter? I think you'll love reading my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Check 'em out!

The Sketchnote Handbook

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.
Buy the Handbook

    The Sketchnote Workbook

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.
Buy the Workbook

Use code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off my books at Peachpit.


30-Day Sketchnote Challenge Book Update

I have unfortunate news. The book I announced about a month ago, The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge, will not be published with Peachpit Press.

30 Day Sketchnote Challege Cover v3

Here’s what happened

Pearson, the parent company of Peachpit who published my books, is laying off 10% of its global workforce. 

Most of my book team at Peachpit were among the unlucky ones, including my fantastic editor Nikki McDonald.

Nikki has guided me in creating two bestselling books with Peachpit: The Sketchnote Handbook, and The Sketchnote Workbook (both still for sale).

I was shocked.

I’m very grateful to Peachpit for the books we’ve created together, but after hearing the news, I requested a release from my book contract. It didn’t make sense to create this new book without the help of my full team.

(Pearson informed me this week that they’re cancelling the book contract.)

Peachpit will not be publishing The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge, but that’s not the end of this book idea.

What’s next?

I’m still considering my options. I might crowdfund The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge as a printed book, an online course, or a daily email course. I still believe a 30-day guided course on sketchnoting is a great idea.

However, I also know that writing, illustrating, and designing books is demanding, time-consuming work. It’s hard on me and my family. I’ve decided to take a little time before making a decision. 

While I’m figuring out which direction to take with the book, I plan to experiment with 30-day ideas, testing them with a small team.

I will also restart my twice-monthly newsletter, The Rohdesign Dispatch, featuring links on visual thinking, tools and ideas. Sign up here for free.

Why I love to teach sketchnoting

This sudden shift in direction got me thinking about why I love sketchnoting. Here’s what I’ve realized:

I write books, teach workshops, share ideas, and encourage others to sketchnote because I believe everyone is creative. I’m fulfilled when I help people discover and develop the creativity already inside them.

Considering my vision, a publisher offering or cancelling a book is really just an implementation detail.

Thank you

I appreciate your continued support. I wish my first book update offered better news. But I don’t view the cancellation of my book as an ending. I see it as merely a change in direction, possibly even a new beginning. The route may change, but the journey will always be about teaching, sharing, and encouraging creativity through sketchnoting. 

I hope you’ll join me, wherever this next path may lead.

— Mike Rohde


My New Book: The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge!

I'M WRITING A NEW BOOK! I'm working with Peachpit on The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge. This will be book 3 in my sketchnoting trilogy, and it's scheduled to launch in early fall 2016.

Here's the new cover design in aqua, black, and orange, with new icons that represent the 30-day challenge:

30 Day Sketchnote Challege Cover v3

What's the new book about?

The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge is different than The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook—it's designed to guide you through simple daily drawing exercises and mini-projects to improve your visual note-taking skills over a 30-day period. It's a directed, process-based approach that methodically improves your sketchnoting a little bit at a time.

All new content!

This new book will feature all new content, including tons of tutorials showing you step-by-step how to create simple drawings that you can use over and over again in your sketchnotes.

Book Concepts

We're running these how-tos along the bottom of every page throughout the entire book. I want to pack this book full of great, easy-to-master drawing tips to simultaneously help you build a fantastic icon library and boost your confidence in your own drawing skills.

Sketchnotes from around the world!

Just like the Handbook and the Workbook, I'll feature the work of sketchnoters from around the world. I love inspiring readers by sharing the work from the many friendly and welcoming sketchnoting community members.

I'll be sharing a form in a few weeks where you can apply to be a featured sketchnoter in the book, so stay tuned!

Where did the concept come from?

I've been inspired by a few key experiences:

Keeping a daily logbook since January 2014. I've found that by doing little bits of sketchnoting every day, I see gradual progress in my thinking, creativity, and openness to new ideas.


Shawn Blanc's Focus Course. The Focus Course helped me envision a step-by-step approach to improving sketchnote skills that's fun, practical, and delivered in small, bite-sized pieces that won't overwhelm you.

Focus course

Teaching tons of sketchnote workshops. I've been all over the world, teaching sketchnoting to hundreds of students. I've found that a methodical, layered approach to building skills is the most effective way to help non-artists feel comfortable and excited about visual note-taking. I can't wait to pour what I've learned from my workshops into this book.

Workshop kc

I'll document my process right here.

For The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook, I loved documenting the experience of writing them with updates, photos, and sneak peeks. Once again, I'll document the experience while creating The 30-Day Sketchnote Challenge, right here on the blog, on Instagram, and on Twitter.

The Dispatch will change a bit until the new book is complete. In order to focus on writing, I'm pausing the Dispatch format until September.

Thank you!

Thanks so much for your support as I craft this new book. I'm excited to create a new way for people to enter into sketchnoting.


World Sketchnote Day 2016: Monday, January 11, 2016

IT'S A NEW TRADITION! Every year on January, 11th, starting in 2016, we'll celebrate World Sketchnote Day!

World Sketchnote Day

For 24 hours on January 11th of each year (starting in 2016), sketchnoters and sketchnote enthusiasts across the world will celebrate the technique that disrupted note-taking and visual communications!

2016 Official Hashtag: #SNDay2016

What is World Sketchnote Day?

In 2007, I coined the term "sketchnote" and over the years it has been adopted by a huge number of people around the world.

I and Mauro Toselli at Sketchnote Army want to gather our friendly and welcoming community of sketchnoters to share our love for sketchnotes and to express our sketchnote-nerdyness.

World Sketchnote Day IS for everyone, from beginners to experts, and enthusiasts to professionals. If you can create marks on paper, you are welcome to join us!

How to celebrate

Share the Love! Let your Friends know about World Sketchnote Day.

Espresso Sketchnote

Celebrate by sketchnoting something and sharing it with #SNDay2016

The simplest way: jump in the challenge and create one or more sketchnotes working on these themes:

  • "Sketchnotes are..."
  • "Sketchnotes changed my life because... "
  • "I wish I could create a sketchnote for... "
  • Don't forget to share your work with the #SNDay2016 hashtag!
  • Grab some post-its, a marker and decorate your office, the bus, the train, the subway while commuting, the gym — everywhere with mini-sketchnotes, then share photos with the world
  • Hang a large piece of paper somewhere and start a visual conversation with work colleagues or even strangers
  • Gift yourself or a friend a new pen/pencil/marker
  • Gift yourself or a friend a new notebook
  • Build a hand bound notebook and draw a gorgeous cover on it
  • Create a small sketchnoted coloring book for your own kids, nephews or little friends

Don't forget to share with #SNDay2016 hashtag to let us know!

We're celebrating by giving away prizes!

Sign up and tell us how you celebrate for a chance to win one of the prizes offered by our Awesome Sponsors! It's easy: just fill the entry form on the World Sketchnote Day page.

Join the Ask-a-Pro conversations with our Supporters all day long!

Make the most out of the World Sketchnote Day by asking real sketchnote professionals for suggestions, tips, and tricks. See the Awesome Supporters to know how to get in touch with the "Pro"!

Join us for World Sketchnote Day and let's have some fun!


Dispatch: The Sum of Our Experiences


2015 was a great year for me. I was fortunate to travel to Nashville, Prague, Boston, Kansas City, NYC, and Portland all in one year. I remember each experience and treasure each discussion I had along the way. If I saw you on the road this year, thanks for your support!

I'm taking a break to review and rest up for 2016. I have several exciting announcements to share soon, so stay tuned. See you in January!

Happy 3rd Birthday Sketchnote Handbook!

December 2nd was the 3rd birthday of The Sketchnote Handbook, so Peachpit and I are giving you the gift of 35% off! Use code SKETCHNOTE3 on the paper book, ebook or a bundle at Peachpit. It's a great way to share sketchnoting with someone this holiday season.

Podcast Interview: The Optimized Geek

I had a fantastic interview with Stephan Spencer on shaping ideas and remembering experiences through sketchnotes. Have a listen!

Private Sketchnote Workshops

Did you know I teach private sketchnote workshops at places like Ross Business School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, mcgarrybowen in NYC and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC? I'd love to teach sketchnoting to your team too. Interested? Let's talk.

Interesting Links

♥ Confessions of a first time sketchnoter - Neil Williams, product management lead at GOV.UK, gave sketchnoting a try, and documented his experience. Great insights from a first time sketchnoter.

TED: Why are these 32 symbols found in caves all over Europe? - Take 12 minutes to watch Genevieve von Petzinger describe the 32 symbols she's found all over Europe. Visual thinking is very, very old.

♥ Chris Spalton: Sketchnoting in Norwich UK's business community - My friend and Sketchnote Workbook contributor Chris Spalton is using sketchnotes to visualize company meetings for his clients. Go Chris!

♥ Analog Products/Digital App Makers Round-up - A nice overview of blended analog+digital tools from my friend Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk.

♥ JetPens YouTube Video Channel - Last week I found the JetPens video collection and learned about Tomoe River paper. What a fantastic resource!

♥ What You Miss When You Take Notes on Your Laptop - Harvard Business Review's Maggy McGloin argues for the advantages of analog note-taking, citing the recent study by Mueller and Oppenheimer.

Reach out and say hello.

Send me an email or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Bestselling Books

Like my newsletter? I think you'll love reading my two bestselling books on sketchnoting. Check 'em out!

The Sketchnote Handbook

The Sketchnote Handbook
teaches regular people how to draw simply, think visually and create sketchnotes.

Buy the Handbook

    The Sketchnote Workbook

The Sketchnote Workbook
illustrates many new ways you can use sketchnotes to think and make your life better.

Buy the Workbook

Use code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off my books at Peachpit.