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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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Friday
Jan312014

Interview: Tobias Gutmann & Face-o-mat

LAST YEAR, I saw Tobias Gutmann and his Face-o-mat mentioned in my friend Dave Gray’s weekly newsletter, so I reached out for an interview.

What is a Face-o-mat? Here's a video overview:


And now, here's my interview with the Face-o-mat's creator, Tobias Gutmann.

Hello Tobias! It’s a wonderful honor to interview you!

Hello, nice to hear from you!

Tell me a little about yourself. You are a Swiss citizen born in Papua New Guinea. What’s your back-story?

tobiasWell, I did grow up in Papua New Guinea, walked barefoot all day long and had a tree kangaroo as pet.

They say I’m Swiss, but about half of my life, I lived far from the country with white mountains, chocolate and cheese.

In Berne, Switzerland I studied my BA in visual communication, then worked in Tanzania for 6 months, before moving to Sweden.

You now live in Stockholm, Sweden (one of my favorite cities) how did you end up there and what are you doing in Stockholm?

I was looking for a new environment, that could inspire me. I have never been to Sweden, so I decided to move to Stockholm and study my MA in Storytelling (Graphic Design and Illustration).

I love the idea of this hand-made portrait machine, the Face-o-Mat you’ve created. How did you come up with the idea?

I found some cardboard, glued it together and painted Face-o-Mat on it. I just felt like drawing portraits, so I tried to make a fun experience out of it.

I thought it would mainly attract kids, but then the hipsters, whole families and even old people with grey hair wanted to have their portrait done. I was surprised to see how many different people were attracted by the social machine.

What led you to building the machine? Were there any technical challenges?

The first Face-o-mat was for a christmas market at Konstfack.

I did not plan to travel with it from beginning. It was quite a struggle, when I started traveling with the huge box on busses and subways in Stockholm.

When I got invited to Milan, I decided to rebuild the Face-o-mat. I collaborated with designer Pål Rodenius to develop the new machine, which had to be smaller, lighter and easier to set up. The new box out of MDF survived long distances and bumpy roads.

In Tokyo Face-o-mat’s wheels fell off. I was tired and the Face-o-mat was heavy, then the guys at Idée Garage made a brand new skateboard for Face-o-mat. That was awesome!

Tell me how your Face-o-Mat process works, especially with just 3 minutes per portrait!

(little interview within the interview)

Tobias: Welcome to Face-o-mat.

Guest: Eeehm, what is this?

Tobias: You get your face on a paper, with an optional „Facelift“ and you also choose if it should be „Classical“ or „Avant-garde“. Do you wanna try?

Guest: What is Facelift and Avant-garde?

Tobias: Facelift transforms your face into whatever the machine decides. It can for example be an animal or a chair. The „Avant-garde“ setting visualizes what Face-o-mat sees behind your face.

Guest: Ok, let’s try with a slightly avant-garde Facelift. After 3 minutes...

Guest: Goodness!!! I look like my sixth grade teacher!!...

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How do you determine how to draw a person? How much do the selectors and talking with them influence in the portrait process?

The settings people choose is a starting point, but then anything can influence the drawing; how people act, what they say or even the background music.

I don’t have time to think. I just draw, then something happens on the paper.

How do you charge for the portraits and do the people pay before or after the portrait is done?.

There is a small slot, where Face-o-mat swallows money.

Sometimes people don’t have money, then I draw them for free and sometimes people pay more than expected. In Face-o-mat I try not to create a hierarchy.

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Do most people choose a standard portrait or facelift? Why do they go one way or the other?

There is a high risk that something unpredictable could happen when choosing to get a Facelift. Some people like that kind of adrenaline, others go the safe way and choose Classic.

Actually, the choice they make, says a lot about the character of a person. I encourage people to be bold in their choices. I mean, it’s just a drawing on a piece of paper.

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How do people react to the Face-o-mat? Are they generally excited and have fun?

Some are shy and some are nervous. Many people are curious and ask questions, they appreciate the talking part of Face-o-mat.

I’ve had some really interesting conversations about life. Lot’s of people smile, laugh and are very positive. That is the fuel, that Face-o-mat is running on. Without all the lovely visitors, Face-o-mat would be very sad.

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Has anyone ever become angry or upset with a portrait you’ve done of them with the Face-o-Mat?

Possibly. They usually don’t tell me. Sometimes I am afraid, to give away the illustration because I don’t like it. Face-o-mat never deletes or starts over again. What happens in the moment, is what people get.

I had customers who where not satisfied with their face-illustration, so they came back and tried again with different setting. Maybe with a bit more Facelift.

You’ve visited other countries with the Face-o-Mat. Why did you choose to go international and where did you travel to?

I didn’t actually plan to go international, it kind of just happened. I spent the summer in Tanzania, then received emails from Tokyo and London. I thought it would be exciting to test the concept in different cultures, so I followed, where Face-o-mat got invited.


Were there any language barriers in your international travels?

It’s a different experience, when visitors can not express themselves through language, but language barriers are not always negative. It doesn’t always need to be words. Gestures or facial expression say a lot and in the end the illustration is the language of Face-o-mat.

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Any future travels planned for you and Face-o-mat?

I have many new ideas and projects that I am working on, but if I get invited to a place, that would add an interesting new chapter to the Face-o-mat story, I will say yes!

Thanks so much Tobias for a little of your time. Any parting words of wisdom you would like to share?

If I would build the next iPhone, it would not have a screen, just a frame with a little window, to talk to your neighbor.

Learn more about Tobias and his fabulous Face-o-mat:

It's fun to scan through all of the photos of people and their Face-o-mat portraits. If you like what Tobias is doing, reach out and let him know!

Monday
Jan272014

The Sketchnote Handbook in Russian & German

I AM EXCITED to announce that The Sketchnote Handbook is now available in 2 new languages: Russian and German! Here images of the Russian and German translations, along with links to purchase them directly.

The Sketchnote Handbook (Russian)

This edition (Визуальные заметки) was published by Mann, Ivanov & Ferber and completely recreated in Russian, right down to the featured sketchnoter contributions! I was so excited to see photos of the book. Wow!

The Russian translation team included translator Kirill Naumov, editor Maria Krasovskaya, art director Alexey Bogomolov, editor-in-chief Artem Stepanov and marketing manager Vera Ezhkina. Special thanks to Anton Chernousov, a reader who first who suggested it be translated into Russian!

Das Sketchnote Handbuch (German)

I worked closely with Sabine Schultz at HJR and translator/artist Claudia Herling on this German translation of the book. They were just fabulous. We were able to collect a mix of German sketchnoters and have translations made of the featured sketchnotes of English, Aussie and American sketchnoters.

Claudia really did a great job capturing the feel of the book and converting my ideas into a native German-speaker’s mindset — so key in a translation for people who think and work in a different language.

Thanks also to featured sketchnoters: Tanja (Frau Hoelle), Craighton Berman, Boon Chew, Veronica Erb, Jess Esch, Alexis Finch, Carolin Kram, Eva-Lotta Lamm, Gerren Lamson, Matthew Magain, Ralf Appelt, Francis Rowland, Chris Shipton, Paul Soupiset, Oliver Bildesheim, and Michelle George.

On the horizon: Czech and Chinese translations. When those are ready, I will post an update.

Please Give Feedback!

If you buy a copy of the Russian or German edition, please leave a comment on how you like these translated editions. It would be great for Russian and German translation teams to read your feedback.

Publish The Handbook in Your Language

If you are a publisher interested in getting rights to publish The Sketchnote Handbook in your language, please reach out! I would love to connect you to the Peachpit team in charge.

Tuesday
Jan142014

Mike Rohde to Read, Hear & See

NewImage

I COLLECT my appearances across the web, especially since The Sketchnote Handbook launch. I post these things on Twitter, but they're lost in the swirl of the social media. Here are five recent appearances in case you'e missed 'em.

Article: Journey to Success - Freelancing Success

This was a fun interview with my friend James Dalman, who has been active in the Wordpress community for a long time. I had a great time sharing years of wisdom learned the hard way in this interview.

Article: Workspiration - Mike Rohde's Tools

In this interview, I share my tools with Ilia. It was revealing to go through my tools, seeing which things I really use day to day.

Article: Creative Market - How to Sketchnote

Recently, I've offered The Sketchnote Typeface family for sale at Creative Market. When my friend Gerren Lamson asked me for an interview, I had a great time sharing my thoughts with him and the community.

Podcast: Agile.FM Podcast with Joe Krebs

Joe Krebs, a leader in the agile community in New York City reached out to have me on his Agile.FM podcast. I shared what sketchnoting is and how it can help as part of the agile process.

Podcast: Pencil vs. Pixel Podcast with Cesar Contreras

I love Cesar Contreras' new podcast. I had a great time talking with him about design, sketchnotes and work in this video / audio interview.

Enjoy!

Friday
Dec202013

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 2 - A Questionnaire

I'M WRITING The Sketchnote Workbook's table of contents right now, and I need your help. I want to hear how you use sketchnotes in your life.

Sketchnote Workbook Questionnaire

I've created a form to learn directly from you how you use sketchnotes. This will help me as I develop the Workbook. Use the link below:

Fill out The Sketchnote Workbook Questionnaire

It shouldn't take more than a few minutes, but if you have a bunch of ideas, take as long as you want to enter your thoughts.

No guarantees, but don't be surprised if I ask you to be included in The Sketchnote Workbook!

Thanks!

Mike

Monday
Dec162013

The Sketchnote Workbook Update 1 - Book Kickoff!

The Sketchnote Workbook: Cover DesignTHE BIRTHDAY PARTY is over for The Sketchnote Handbook but I have great news! I have a new contract with Peachpit to create a second book on sketchnoting called The Sketchnote Workbook!

One of the things I wished I could do in the Handbook was explore a wider variety of uses for sketchnotes. However, because we wanted to focus in detail on the idea of sketchnotes, it made sense to aim my usage of sketchnotes at the most immediately useful application—meeting notes and conferences.

So many people deal with work meetings or attend conferences and want to be engaged in those settings that showing readers how to immediately increase the value of note taking in meetings or conferences made a lot of sense.

Revealing the Adaptability of Sketchnotes

When my editor Nikki approached me about a follow-up book on sketchnoting, I'd already been forming ideas based on all of the feedback I was hearing at talks, book signings and in emails and from social media.

I've been trying to push the boundaries of sketchnotes for a few years—applying the concepts to travel journaling, capturing eating experiences, generating and making sense of ideas and even for whiteboarding concepts in small groups.

The National: Final

After all, if sketchnotes are a concise, visual way to map your ideas, why not start applying them in different ways to everyday life?

That's exactly what I will be teaching in The Sketchnote Workbook.

Emphasis: The Essence of Sketchnoting

Part of the approach will be to teach techniques and ideas from my perspective but to also include samples and tips and tricks from many other people who are using sketchnotes in interesting ways.

Moka Pot Kit with hand sketchnoted instructions from Mauro Toselli @xLontrax

I'm excited to share the myriad ways sketchnotes can provide value, from business and education to travel and idea generation.

Worksheets and Challenges

Another aspect of The Sketchnote Workbook will be to provide worksheets—some similar to what were present in Handbook and others that are new approaches.

Right now I'm imagining less structured challenges you can choose to take up with basic guidelines and an encouragement to post them to The Sketchnote Handbook Flickr group for feedback and new ideas.

If you have an idea for a worksheet or challenge you would like to see considered, please reach out. I am going to do a simple survey very soon with more detailed questions, so please look for that to be posted here.

Video Storytelling with Sketchnotes

I was a huge fan of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and especially those wonderful field trips he took to interesting places to see masters doing their thing. I can't wait to teach new sketchnoting techniques using video storytelling.

Video shoot in progress

We're planning two hours of video content, once again shot and edited by my good buddy Brian Artka. If you've seen videos from the Handbook, you'll know why I am so stoked to have a great video storyteller like Brian on the team. I'm also bringing back Steve Mork for the soundtrack, Gabe Wollemburg for scripts and Amber Pierce to assist with instructional design. A-Team, baby!

The Sketchnote Handbook - Video 2 from size43, LLC on Vimeo.

I'll be teaching sketchnoting skills on-site, covering idea generation, travel journaling and more. I loved how the video of my sketchnoting a talk by Jon Mueller turned out in the Handbook video, so we're using it as our template for Workshop videos.

Documenting the Journey

As with The Sketchnote Handbook, I will be writing regularly here about the book creation journey. I had such a great time doing it before, I am excited to share what's happening as it happens on the Workbook project, too.

I'll be sharing things on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter and right here, so please stay tuned to those channels!

If you haven't signed up for my Rohdesign Newsletter, you can do that below and get the latest updates via email:

http://rohdesign.com/newsletter

I'm so excited! Time to rock and roll!