Buy my Books!


The Sketchnote Workbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, showing how to use sketchnotes in new ways, along with advanced tips and techniques.
Learn about and buy the book →
Download a FREE chapter →
Watch a FREE video sample →


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.
Read more about Mike →

SIGN UP! Get the Rohdesign Newsletter.

Entries by Mike Rohde (861)

Monday
May022016

Dispatch: Sunny Days and Sketchnotes

Gas bldg deco sun

It's May in Milwaukee, and I'm happy to see the sun finally peeking through the clouds. Next up, warm weather!

I'm loving my new 9.7" iPad Pro and Apple Pencil more each day. I'm adapting to the Pencil and FiftyThree's Paper, creating sketchnotes with them all the time. They've already become important tools for my work.

Missed my iPad Pro & Apple Pencil observations? Read 'em here.

NibSqueak Podcast Interview

I was a guest on NibSqueak, Collective Next's visual thinking podcast featuring John Colaruotolo, and Bree Sanchez. I shared the genesis of my visual thinking journey, and ways sketchnoting can be applied inside large and small companies. Have a listen!

Sketchnote Mini-Workshop at Marquette

A few weeks ago I presented my Sketchnote Mini-Workshop at Marquette University's Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship. Attendees to my After Hours talk had a blast. Thanks Megan & Holly!

Upcoming Sketchnote Talks & Workshops

I have a few sketchnote presentations in the works, including one this October in Philadelphia. I'll announce any events here—stay tuned!

Interesting Links

♥ Philip Coppola spends nearly 40 years illustrating New York City's Subway Stations - A fascinating mini-documentary film about Philip Coppola's passionate side-project to draw (sketchnote) the designs of every NYC subway station by hand. Inspiring!

♥ Improve Your Handwriting with These Fantastic Resources - One of the basics of sketchnoting is legible handwriting, so be sure to dive into this page full of useful handwriting resources.

♥ 100 Days of Lettering - Designer Tiantian Xu set out to improve her lettering skills with a deliberate, 100 day journey. She started by copying letters, gradually moving to complex challenges as her confidence and skills grew. Also see her 100 Days of Doodle!

♥ The Drawing Effect - This research paper by Wammesa, Meadea, and Fernandesa demonstrates the positive power of drawing on memory, compared to just writing words. For a visual overview, check out Rob Dimeo's sketchnote summary of the findings.

♥ How sketchnoting has changed my life as a teacher - Educator Matt Miller started sketchnoting a year ago—this article shares how thinking visually has changed his thinking and approach to teaching.

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.

Sunday
Apr172016

Dispatch: I Love the iPad Pro & Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil & iPad Pro Impressions Sketchnote

When the 9.7" iPad Pro was announced, I knew it and the Apple Pencil were the tools for me. I picked them up 2 weeks ago, and have been exploring them both ever since. I love 'em!

The Pencil is impressive. The detail is fantastic, despite some of the hardware details I thought could be improved.

Read my review of the 9.7" iPad Pro & Apple Pencil

IMG 0431

If you've been on the fence about an Apple Pencil and either iPad Pro, go visit a local Apple Store and try them out. They're fantastic!

The Sketchnote Workbook wins Best Design Award from Publishing Professionals Network!

The Sketchnote Workbook won a best overall design award from the Publishing Professionals Network (PPN)! It won for excellence in overall design. The Sketchnote Workbook will be showcased at PPN's Annual Book Show, in San Francisco this July. Woohoo!

Interesting Links

♥ Free Learn Cursive Script Video Course & Worksheets - Hand letterer Ian Barnard's video cursive class and worksheets aim to improve your script. I love Ian's calm pacing, especially for new students. See Ian's lettering courses, and his site.

♥ The Benefits of Using Doodling and Sketchnotes in the Classroom - Teacher Deidra Gammill, Ph.D writes about the benefits she's seen using sketchnoting in the classroom. She shares practical tips for implementation, and challenges for teachers.

♥ Can Handwriting Make You Smarter? - The Wall Street Journal covers the recent laptop vs. longhand notes study by Mueller & Oppenheimer, testing the effectiveness of both kinds of notes. Two takeaways: Don't capture verbatim ideas—synthesize as you write, and intentionally review your notes to reinforce ideas.

♥ Guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen - A fantastic resource from JetPens on choosing a fountain pen. I love fountain pens, but they're a bit mysterious. Now I understand them much better.

♥ Think Clearly: Visual Thinking Boot Camp - My friend and fellow visual thinker, Mathias Jakobsen is going on a world tour, teaching his all-day, Visual Thinking Bootcamp in Buenos Aires, Zurich, London, Mexico City, Vancouver, Paris, Copenhagen, Aarhus, and more! Sign up to be notified, or request your city be added to the tour.

♥ Sketchnote Mini-Course Survey - I've already received 83 replies and would love your feedback on the concept of focused, sketchnote video designed for mobile phones. Takes 2 minutes!

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.

Friday
Apr012016

Dispatch: Reprinting the Sketchnote Icon T-Shirts!

Cotton Bureau Tees 2016

The Sketchnote Icon t-shirts I created in 2014 are getting worn out because I wear them so much. I 've decided to re-print a new batch of adult and kids tees with my friends at Cotton Bureau.

Adult T-Shirts

Shirts come in Vintage Black, Midnight Blue, or Storm (purple) up to 2X in men's or women's sizes. Get 3X-5X sizes on Gildan shirts. Or choose the Heather Black pullover sweatshirt for cool nights:

https://cottonbureau.com/products/sketchnote-icons

Shirt orders are open through Tues April 12, 2016. Act quickly!

Kids T-Shirts

Kids can get sketchnote icon t-shirts and onesies too, with Cotton Bureau's kid's tees in black, blue, and purple:

https://cottonbureau.com/kids/products/sketchnote-icons-kids

Thank you!

Interesting Links

♥ Kathy Schlock's Guide to Everything: Sketchnoting in Education - Kathy has created a fantastic resource page on sketchnoting for educators (or anyone else for that matter).

♥ An Index of Ideas - Shawn Blanc has been creating an index of ideas in the back of the paper books he's reading. It helps him capture thoughts and ideas. You could capture the same index in a single journal for access to the ideas from every book you've read.

♥ The Perfect Journal - Author mentor Tim Grahl was frustrated with all of the notebooks he used for journaling, so he captured his specs and created a perfect journal with a 5" x 8" three-ring binder, various papers, and more. Check it out and leave feedback!

♥ Pentel EnerGel: A Comprehensive Guide - JetPens has created a fantastic resource for my favorite gel pen. If you're seeking a new pen, read this article and give Pentel Energels a try.

♥ Who needs handwriting? - This Freakonomics Radio episode covers the value of handwriting from both advocates and critics. It definitely got me thinking about the topic. via James Saretta.

♥ Sketchnote Mini-Course Survey - I'd love your feedback on the concept of focused 30 minute sketchnote video designed for mobile phones. It'll take about 2 minutes to complete the survey. Thanks!

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.

Friday
Mar182016

Dispatch: A Sunny Spring Update!

NewImage

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 JetPens.com 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.

Thursday
Feb252016

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