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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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The Sketchnote Workbook Update 7 - Sketching The Workbook Video

Here's a brief video on my book design process using sketches and a written manuscript. This should give you a good idea how my process works when sketching out the entire book at a 10,000 foot level.

I'm about to complete the sketching phase this week and jump right into inking after that, which presents new challenges and opportunities.


### Tumblr'ed
Follow my daily process of designing, illustrating and shooting video for this book at my Tumblr. I'm really digging the tool for documentation.

### Limited Edition Boxed Set
Several readers are interested in a boxed set once both books are published. The books would be signed and the enclosing box would have hand-drawn illustrations in limited quantities (maybe 25). If this sounds interesting, [drop me a note]( and I'll add you to my pre-interest list.

### Pre-Order!
Yes, you can [pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon]( That's the best way to ensure your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready.

Sketchnote Workbook

Thanks for reading and watching!


The Sketchnote Workbook Update 6 - Delayed But Not Defeated


THINGS HAVEN’T GONE AS PLANNED THE PAST FEW WEEKS. That almost feels like an understatement as I key the words.

My wife had a back issue that required surgery about two weeks ago. She’s doing well after a successful operation, but recovery is slow and our three kids all need attention. Life will be different for a while.

Of course, this unplanned event happening while writing, illustrating and designing a book is, let’s say, less than ideal. But family is first, no question.

Friends and family have been a huge support in this tough time. My editors, Nikki and Jan, have been very understanding, fighting for a 14-day extension to get me back on track.

This week I’m finally back to working on the book.

### Sketches
I’ve been planning out chapters by turning the manuscript for each chapter into small pencil sketches called thumbnails. This one change has accelerated my work. I’m working at a 10,000 foot view of the book, while still providing the detail I need to convey the pages to my editor and to ink the illustrations.

Originally, I’d drawn two-page spreads on a single sheet of letter-sized paper:

2 page spread

For the smaller thumbnail sketches, 4 two-page spreads will fit on a single page. You can see the difference in this thumbnail sketch sample:

8 page spread

This iteration goes to show that even a proven process like the one I had for The Sketchnote Handbook can continue to improve.

### Video
We are now half finished shooting on-location videos! We've shot videos 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7, with videos 1, 4, 8 and 9 left to go. We still have to shoot sketchnote samples, record voiceovers, and Brian has to edit everything into a cohesive unit.

800 bookshelf cam

Our videos are turning out fabulous. They're all shot on-location, showing off several unique Milwaukee locations. I can't wait for you to see them!

We're excited about the long video sequences of me creating sketchnotes from start to finish. We'll be adding voiceovers that describe what I’m thinking as I work, and we'll add graphics to share tips as the video plays.

Rig food

Food sketchnote

### Tumblr
If you’re curious about the process of designing, illustrating and shooting video for this book, check out [my Tumblr site]( I’ve rediscovered Tumblr as a great space for updates that are larger than tweets but smaller than full-on articles.

800-CEO-READ Sketchnote Map

### Pre-Order!
Yes, you can [pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook]( at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready.

Sketchnote Workbook

### Limited Edition Boxed Set: Interested?
I'm starting to kick around the idea of a special, limited-edition boxed set of both books. The books would be signed and the enclosing box would have hand-drawn illustrations in limited quantities (maybe 25). If this sounds interesting, [drop me a note]( and I'll add you to my pre-interest list.

### Get the Boulder Rolling…
Now that my wife is better and we have help from friends and family, it’s time to get the Sketchnote Workbook moving again.

This is how life is. We have to adapt to the situations we cannot predict. My son Landon was born during the making of The Sketchnote Handbook, so I know this feeling—and I know I can make the Workbook happen.

Thanks for all of your kind words and support!


The Sketchnote Workbook Update 5 - Video Shoots & Sketches Ahead

THIS PAST MONTH WAS A BLUR. I’ve flown to Texas for workshops in San Antonio and at SXSW in Austin, have completed the Workbook’s manuscript, and have shot two of nine videos.

I feel behind, but that’s good. It keeps me cranking.

Sketches are next, along with scripting and shooting seven more videos in March and early April. Brian Artka will take the raw footage, shaping it into a cohesive story for our May video deadline.

Video Shoots

The last two weeks I’ve been on location at Milwaukee’s Stone Creek Factory, shooting scripts written by Gabe Wollernburg with Brian, my video storytelling Jedi master. Footage and b-roll for chapter 5: Sketchnoting Documentation and chapter 6: Sketchnoting Travel Experiences are done. Seven shoots are left.

Brian cam
ScriptsBrian shooting

We’re having a great time capturing these videos. You’re going love the on-location, documentary style we’re using to tell the story of this video series.

Final tour
High shotPourover sketchnotes
Lotta booksThats a wrap

This will be a 2-hour video, heavy on actual sketching and helpful tips, with just enough of me on camera to set the stage. I can’t wait to see the final videos.

Follow the video shoots in pictures on Instagram or my Flickr photostream,

Sketches Ahead

For this stage, I’ll use the approved manuscript to lay out the entire book, page by page, as pencil sketches.

This worked great for the Handbook. In fact, it’s pretty amazing how similar my pencil sketches look, compared to the final, printed book. The sketching stage is critical for the inking and production, which follow it.

Chapter 4 Sketch

Final Chapter 4 Spread

I’ll use printed templates from the Handbook to sketch out the pages. Looseleaf sheets let me move book pages around as needed and when I run out of templates, I can print more.

A book map is also created to help me see the book at a high level and lets me determine where I may need to add or subtract pages within each chapter.


Sketching is hard, but a ton of fun. With the established design I’ll inherit from the Handbook, I’m hoping I can keep pace with my very tight schedule.


Yes, you can pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure your copy is delivered as soon as it's ready.

Go, Go, Go!

I have to keep the Sketchnote Workbook train rolling, so it’s time to get back to work. Thanks for following the process. I'll update you again soon!


The Sketchnote Workbook Update 4 - I Need Your Sketchnotes!

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I'm taking a break from writing to ask of you all a favor: 

I need your sketchnotes!

Don't worry about your drawing skills, 11424788096 4d24e20501 n because I want to encourage all levels of sketchnoters with the book.

Chapters I'm writing now will require sketchnote samples, to show readers what the end results can look like.

I have samples of my own, but want a wider variety, just like the variety of work used in The Sketchnote Handbook.

Sketchnotes I Need

Here are the sketchnotes I need for the Workbook:

  • Idea Generation - Using sketchnotes to generate and capture ideas you have for writing, building things, design, whatever you are creating.
  • Idea Mapping - Sketchnotes that show ideas mapped out. Maybe you've mapped out a writing project work projects, your life plan, etc..
  • Planning - Sketchnotes you've used to create a task list, plan a project (large or small), plan a vacation or even your garden layout.
  • Idea Documentation - Any sketchnotes you've created to capture a recipe, a series of steps in a process are great. Brewing coffee, baking a pie, etc.
  • Travel - Using sketchnotes to document your travel experiences and vacations. Sights you've seen, daily activities and so on.
  • Food & Drink - Sketchnoted meal, coffee or tea experiences, like coffee cupping are great. I would love to see a wide variety of food choices.
  • Movies - Watch your favorite film and sketchnote details like the characters, plot, setting, conflict and resolution, your observations, etc.
  • TV Shows - Capture the details of your favorite TV show episodes. Map out characters as you watch to see how their character develops over time.
  • Sporting Events - Sketchnoting competition, like the Olympics, a baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball or football game, noting key plays, final score, etc.
  • Music - Capture the feeling you have listening to or watching your favorite music. Sketchnote the band members, lyrics, the tracks played, etc.

I Want Your Existing Sketchnotes

Have sketchnotes in the categories bellow? Great! submit them.

Create New Sketchnotes

Want to create new sketchnotes for the book? Great! I need new ones too.


Specs for existing or new sketchnotes you're submitting:

  • Must be your own original work.
  • Must be G-rated because lots of kids will read this book.
  • All drawing quality sketchnotes are acceptable! I want variety.
  • Must be a sketchnote. Both text and images used together. It can be more text or more images, but must use both text and images together.
  • Can be black and white or color. Be aware that the final art will be printed in black and gray. Colors can be adapted nicely to grays in Photoshop.
  • Low res scans or photos are OK. I'll need high res if chosen.
  • If chosen, I will have a usage document for you to sign and return.

DEADLINE: Submission deadline is March 15th. Sooner is always better!

Submit Your Sketchnotes!


The Sketchnote Workbook Update 3 - Manuscript, Music & SXSW

THE SKETCHNOTE WORKBOOK is coming to life. I'm working hard with a deadline looming. Today, it's a struggle to write out my ideas. Other days, the words seem to flow. Every day I make progress.


The Manuscript

I'm writing chapter 4 of 9 right now. The entire written manuscript is due at the end of February. Just writing that made me sweat a little.

I've been writing the drafts using the syntax called markdown in Writer Pro for the Mac. Writer Pro offers an interesting workflow feature that separates writing into Notes, Writing, Editing and Reading. In each state the typeface, cursor and highlight change to help you work through your text.

You'd think a change so simple would have little impact, but I've found it useful to mentally move between these 4 steps in my writing. Markdown gives me a basic level of structure for my writing, but not too much. It has the right balance to keep me focused on crafting words.


Writer Pro exports my markdown file to a Word doc format, which my editor Jan reviews, using Word's track changes feature. Word is definitely not my favorite writing tool, but the track changes feature is a requirement to manage our collaborative writing and it works well.

Sketching Ahead

Once the text is finalized, I'll begin sketching book pages: selecting sketchnote samples and other design details. Sketching is key step because it determines the book's structure and design, which I'll use for inking and production.

Chapter 4 Sketch

Workbook Video

Of course I couldn't just do a book. I'm also creating a new 2-hour video with the same team from The Handbook: Brian Artka, Gabe Wollenburg and Stephen Mork), plus Amber Pierce for instructional design support. We're scripting as my chapters are completed and will begin shooting in March.

Video Soundtrack

The Workbook's video soundtrack is finalized! It was created by Stephen Mork, who created the Handbook video's soundtrack. I challenged Steve to make a musical piece that's new and yet related to The Handbook's video soundtrack. He did a fabulous job. Here's the final soundtrack:

San Antonio & Austin, Texas

PosterOn Friday, March 7th, I'll be in San Antonio, Texas for a student sketching workshop for my pal Michael Clayton at University of the Incarnate Word and giving a sketchnoting mini workshop at AIGA San Antonio on Friday night. I had a great time in San Antonio last year and am excited for a repeat.

I'll be in Austin on March 8th, putting on the Sketchnoting: Move Your Doodles Out Of The Margins workshop for 60 SXSW attendees with Eva-Lotta Lamm, Craighton Berman and Patrick Ashamalla. We aren't sure what to expect, but it should be a blast.

Story Signals Podcast Interview

Just yesterday I appeared on Matt Ragland's Story Signals podcast. I had a great time chatting with Matt about dealing with adversity and opportunity, ways to stay generous and a little bit about The Sketchnote Workbook. Listen in.


Yes, you can pre-order The Sketchnote Workbook at Amazon. That's the best way to ensure a copy is delivered to you as soon as it's ready.

Keep Making Progress

I keep telling myself to just keep moving, making progress every day. With 10 weeks to go, it will be a crazy ride, but as I learned from The Handbook experience, it can be done.

Thanks for your support everyone!