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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.
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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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Thursday
Oct172013

The Long, Slow Overnight Sensation

Nathan Reading The Sketchnote Handbook

I'VE HAD A FEW PEOPLE TELL ME recently that they're pleased to see my "meteoric rise" or my "internet fame" increasing around The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Typeface.

While I'm not sure about meteoric rising or internet famousness, I have been thinking about how I got where I am now and what wisdom I can share with you.

Here are 3 things that occurred to me.

1. Play the Long Game

I've found it important to think of your body of work with a long-term view. When I do things, I aim as much as I can to think about how a project or opportunity will impact me over the next many months or years.

By choosing to illustrate REWORK in 2009, my reputation as a book illustrator grew and afforded me opportunities to illustrate many more books. My track record as an illustrator helped me land The Sketchnote Handbook book offer. REWORK continues to provide opportunities for work four years later.

Case in point: REMOTE, the new book from 37signals coming October 29. Doing REWORK opened a door to create 71 more illustrations for the new book.

Questions to consider:

  • If I take this project, how will it impact my body of work?
  • What future clients will choose me, based on work I'm accepting now?
  • If a potential project pays well, but negatively impacts my reputation, is that really a long-term win?
  • How does this opportunity move me closer to my long-term goals?

2. Invest Success into New Opportunities

Investing one success into another opportunity is another valuable lesson I've learned. To write The Sketchnote Handbook, I created a typeface with Delve Withrington to make the book easier for me to produce. I then made the typeface available for sale. The book's success was invested in The Sketchnote Typeface, which has sold well and has appeared in several web and mobile applications already.

Questions to consider:

  • How can I take momentum, goodwill or ideas from one successful project and invest them in another opportunity?
  • Are there partnership opportunities I might consider to make a project investment a win-win for myself and someone else?
  • Who (potential customers, clients) might benefit from something I'm doing or have done, that could create a new opportunity?

3. Embrace & Invest in Community

I'm a proponent of building strong communities because I think they're healthy, rewarding and make people better people. I believe embracing and investing in communities brings opportunities to keep the long-term engine running.

In 2009, I started Sketchnote Army as a way to share the work of other sketchnoters because it was hard to see new work easily. Because of that investment in building a community, I created an opportunity to make friends with many sketchnoters.

When the time came to invite featured sketchnoters to be part of my book, the process was met with excitement. The 15 featured sketchnoters in The Sketchnote Handbook represent the community so well—there's a great blend of women and men from around the world in those 30 pages. Having the community also aided my collecting other sketchnotes for the rest of the book.

Questions to consider:

  • What kind of community do I wish existed?
  • Who else can help me kickstart this community?
  • Can I join a community to share my skills in, to help make it better?
  • How can I encourage others in my community?
  • What opportunities can be created with others in the community?

I've found these three elements critical to my own long-term successes and hope they can play a part in yours, too.

Resources

Here are a few resources that have helped me in these areas:

  • Die Empty - an excellent book by Todd Henry about getting your best work out and creating a consistent body of work.
  • Steal Like an Artist - A kickstart of a book by my friend Austin Kleon about taking the perspective of an artist, in whatever work you do.
  • Anything You Want - A great book on the value of slow, humane growth and doing things yourself by Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby.
  • Sell your by-products - An article by Jason Fried about taking what look like by-products to you and turning them into value for others.

This article also appeared on Medium.

Friday
Sep132013

The Sketchnote Handbook Kindle Edition

IT'S BEEN NEARLY A YEAR since The Sketchnote Handbook was released on November 30th, and the book is doing great. Excellent buzz continues to come in, there are 96 reviews on the Amazon book page and there are live workshops, video courses and a follow-up workbook in the works now.

The one bit of tarnish on the book was the release of a broken Kindle edition in December, shortly after the print book was released. Because of technical issues, the entire middle of The Sketchnote Handbook was blank.

Kindle Edition Fixed!

I'm now very pleased to report that FINALLY, the Kindle edition of The Sketchnote Handbook is available for about $14 at Amazon.

Tsh kindle

The Kindle Edition is a "Print Replica" edition — not a typical ePub format — because the Sketchnote Handbook is completely illustrated and would have been crazy to release as a text-only Kindle edition. You must have an iPad, Android tablet, Kindle tablet, a Mac or PC to view the Kindle book.

There are also Kindle Editions of the book at Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France and Amazon Japan.

This edition took way too long to resolve this issue, but at least it's fixed now and available for people that want it. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday
Aug152013

Creating a Custom Mitchell Leather Briefcase

FOR A LONG YEAR, I worked on my first book, The Sketchnote Handbook.

I spent 3 months writing my proposal and negotiating the contract, 7 months writing, sketching, illustrating, scripting and shooting the book and video. It was the hardest, most demanding project I've ever done.

When it was complete, I wanted to get something special for myself as a reward and a reminder — I chose a beautifully hand-crafted custom leather briefcase from Mitchell Leather in Milwaukee's Third Ward.

Mitchell Leather Compact Classic: Front View

A few weeks ago I picked up my completed compact briefcase, and am thrilled with the quality, the detail and of course the wonderful leather scent!

Specs & Construction

For the majority of the briefcase, I chose Horween leathers: Cognac Dublin, a medium brown leather that's tough, yet supple and classy, and for the darker highlight, Horween Brown Chromexel (CXL), also tough and beautiful. For the internal liner I chose a lighter weight tan leather, and the finishing touch — nickel-plated brass hardware for contrast.

Custom Mitchell Briefcase: Completed Parts & Pieces 8/5

Construction took about 7 months — David Mitchell's skills are so in demand, he's running a backlog for these briefcases and other leather items. You can read about David and his shop, or watch this excellent short video about him, created by my friend, Brian Artka:


The Selection & Building Process

The process began with my order. I spent time with David, selecting my leathers and hardware and telling him how I would be using the case. This case would become my daily carry-all, with enough room for my main items and that's all. I have a tendency to carry more than I need, so this was a way to limit my daily items. I have a Timbuktu backpack for heavy loads when needed.

Daily items included: a 13" MacBook Pro (or Air), power supply, a full-size iPad, one large Moleskine notebook, one or two pocket Moleskine Sketchbooks for sketchnoting events, pens and pencils, space for cords and adapters and enough room for a book, magazine or a folder of papers for projects.

The Mitchell Compact Briefcase was a perfect fit for all of the items I need to carry and nothing more.

Once I had the model, leathers, hardware choices and details settled, David took a deposit and put me on the waiting list.

Construction

In August, about 7 months later, I was curious, so I paid a visit to Mitchell Leather. David happened to be starting my case, so we went up to the factory and showed me the raw pieces, getting prepped for construction.

A week later, he sent more images as he finished the case. Here are David's photos of the case in progress:

Mitchell Compact Briefcase: Buckle Step 1

Mitchell Compact Briefcase: Buckle Step 2

Mitchell Compact Briefcase: Buckle Step 3

Mitchell Compact Briefcase: Buckle Step 4

Custom Mitchell Briefcase: Shoulder Strap Hinges

Custom Mitchell Briefcase: Completed front inside panel

Custom Mitchell Briefcase: Sewing on the pen and business card holders

Custom Mitchell Briefcase: Completed Parts & Pieces 8/5

Completion!

The final piece turned out great — colors, leather weight, and of course, that leather scent really sealed the deal.

Compact Classic Horween Cognac Dublin with Brown CXL 010 12in.jpg

Mitchell Leather Compact Classic: Interior View

If you'd like to see all of the photos from the construction process, check out the complete Mitchell Briefcase Flickr set.

Having the case for a few weeks now, I'm finding it's a perfect size for what I really need and nothing more. By getting the size just right, the case has kept my load light and manageable.

My challenge: to accept the normal wear, tear and markings on the leather that will give the case personality and character. Starting with a perfect case makes this hard, but as I see the case getting worked in, I'm loving it even more.

Wednesday
Jul242013

Window of Time

167466986125212827_471614.jpg

WE EACH HAVE A WINDOW OF TIME.

Most of the time I don't even think about the time I've spent or what's left of my life. Most days, I live in the moment.

Sometimes, when I'm having a great day, or my kids do amazing things, or I realize how much I love my wife, a fear sneaks in to ruin things. It's the fear that my window of life will close.

That sneaking, stinking fear, left unchecked, can lead to depressing thoughts. When it tries to ruin my day, I call it out.

Instead of focusing on endings, I appreciate the window of time I have left.

Instead of dwelling on mistakes, I remember what I've learned from them and how they make me better.

Instead of feeling flawed, I remember that everyone is flawed and there is beauty in imperfection.

Within my window of time I choose whether my impact on others will be positive or negative.

I hope you to fight against the fear too. Make a positive impact. Leave a beautiful life behind that inspires others to live lives fully, just as you did.

Embrace your window of time.

Monday
Jul152013

Sketchnote Typeface: MyFonts Sticker Promo

WE’RE AT NO. 40 on the Hot New Fonts List at MyFonts with The Sketchnote Typeface. Now we want to push it to the top of the list and we need your help.

To help us get there, Delve and I are offering a free Sketchnote Dingbats sticker sheet to the next 50 orders of The Sketchnote Typeface at MyFonts.com. Buyers get a little something fun and purchases can help push us to the top of the list.

Sketchnote Dingbats Sticker Sheet

The sticker sheets are UV resistant, vinyl stickers, produced by Sticker Mule. The 4x6 sheet of stickers features type tidbits as well as dingbats you can stick on your laptop, notebook, bicycle — wherever you like.

If you’ve already purchased The Sketchnote Typeface at MyFonts or directly from Delve Fonts, you also qualify for the free sticker sheet!

The Process & Rules

Here's the process and promotional rules to qualify for a free sticker sheet:

  • Purchase The Sketchnote Typeface at MyFonts.com starting July 15, 2013.
  • Any/all past Sketchnote Typeface purchasers will qualify.
  • Complete the Delve Fonts contact form (be sure to include your mailing address to qualify).
  • Indicate in the comments field where you purchased.
  • One sticker sheet per customer.
  • Sticker sheets will be mailed out via USPS in approximately two weeks.
  • Postage is included (no charge to you).

Request Your Sticker Sheet Today!

We’re very excited about getting these sticker sheets out to you, so pick up your copy of the Sketchnote Typeface at MyFonts and enter your info to claim your sticker sheet at the Delve contact form today!

Sketchnote Typeface Interview w/ Delve & Mike on CMD+Space #51

Delve and I were guests on Myke Hurley's 5by5 Network show, CMD+Space last week. We had an hour to talk about how we created the font, tools and processes we've used and to answer some questions for Myke and his listeners.

NewImage

CMD+Space #51: Creating a Typeface, with Mike Rohde & Delve Withrington

July 10, 2013 at 4:00pm • 53 minutes
This week Myke is joined by Mike Rohde and Delve Withrington. They discuss what it takes to build a typeface.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support — we really appreciate it!

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