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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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Entries in Books (42)


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.


The $100 Startup Illustrations

$100 Startup: Cover 2

A BOOK ILLUSTRATION opportunity came along last September I could not pass up. Chris Guillebeau reached out to me after seeing and hearing about my REWORK illustrations for 37signals and Crown.

Chris was seeking my help in conveying the ideas in his second book, The $100 Startup, which just released this Tuesday. I accepted the project and had a great time working with Chris, bringing his writing to life with illustrations.

In celebration of the launch, I'm sharing a selection of illustrations from the book here. To see the entire set of illustration photos, visit The $100 Startup Flickr Set.

The best option? Buy your own copy of The $100 Startup — it's great book.

$100 Startup: Intro Page $100 Startup: Intro Page Closeup $100 Startup: Chapter 1 Closeup $100 Startup: Chapter 8 $100 Startup: Chapter 9 Detail $100 Startup: Chapter 10 $100 Startup: Chapter 10 Chart $100 Startup: Chapter 12 $100 Startup: Chapter 12 Chart 2 $100 Startup: Chapter 13

Thanks Chris!


Writing a Book on Sketchnoting!

EXCITEMENT would be an understatement in describing how I feel about getting a deal to write a how-to book on sketchnoting for Peachpit Press.

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Von Glitschka, I was introduced to Nikki McDonald at Peachpit Press. I pitched my idea to her about a book designed to show people — regular people — how to include sketchnotes in their regular note-taking process.

Nikki and Peachpit loved the idea and made an offer. On Saturday, I signed the contract to write, illustrate and design the book.

Book Details

Here are some details about my forthcoming book:

  • Final Title: The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
  • I will write, illustrate and design the 240 page book, with lots of help from the team at Peachpit and a variety of friends.
  • The book will be visual — crafted in my sketchnote style. Sketchnotes should be teaching sketchnoting, after all.
  • To make it work as a sketchnote, I'm creating hand-drawn sketchnote fonts to achieve the look while maintaining complete control over the written text.
  • A variety of top sketchnoters will be featured in the book. I'll share the principles of sketchnote technique using my work and theirs, along with our tips and tricks from years of live sketchnoting work.
  • There will be a section dedicated to hearing, listening and capturing ideas, along with many practical tips and how-to techniques you can use right away.

I've already started writing, creating fonts and contacting sketchnoters for the book, so this is rolling down the tracks, full steam ahead!

Discovering and capturing what I and other sketchnoters do, in a process which can be shared and taught to others should be an interesting and challenging task. I'm both excited and a little scared — a good sign.

Keep tuned here as I work through the book. I'll try to share updates here and there as they make sense, though I know book-writing is a tough business. If I'm quiet on the blog for a while, now you'll know why.


I'd like to thank my friend Von Glitschka for the connection, my acquisitions editor Nikki McDonald for her guidance, my agent David Fugate for his wisdom and my lovely wife for her encouragement.


Book: Clients From Hell

ImagesA little while ago, I received an advance copy of the new Clients From Hell book from the curators of the Clients From Hell website I enjoy visiting from time to time.

If you've never heard of Clients From Hell (the website or the book) they're a curated compilation of anonymous quotes, quips and comments from real clients by their designers, shared with the world for the amusement of other designers.

Some examples:

"For some reason I am not able to attach the 3’x8’ signs to the email, to send it off to be printed. Is there any way that you can change it to be ‘KB’, instead of ‘MB’? The ‘KB’ ones always seem to work better for me."
CLIENT: “This isn’t a criticism, but I wanted to point it out.”
ME: “Okay… what’s the problem.”
CLIENT: “This business card you designed for me is upside down.”
"Whenever I have any extra cash, I buy Vitamins, Protein Powder and Graphic Design. In that order."

The book is great. It's a portable paper version of the website you can keep next to your computer for a chuckle, or as a reminder of how great your own clients are.


Living a Better Life Story: Storyline Conference

Million Miles

IF YOUR LIFE WERE A STORY, how would it read?

In his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, author Don Miller asks that question of his own life. He found the state of his life pretty mundane.

He became fascinated with story and its structure, learning the elements of story in order to examine his own life and seek ways to change the story he was living into a better one.

For Don, that meant hiking to Machu Picchu, seeking and finding his long-lost father, riding his bike across America to raise funds for wells in Africa and founding a mentoring program for fatherless boys. Quite the change in story.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years was a great book. It challenged me to think more deeply about the life I'm living, how I'm leading my family and what kind of impact I'm having on others. I'm thinking about my life in ways I hadn't before.

In some areas of my life, I love like how my story has unfolded. In other areas, I'm not as happy about the story I'm living. There's plenty of room for improvement.

Most of all, I love the idea that God is writing a story with my life and invites me to be part of that writing. The opportunity to live a more interesting life and to encourage others to live better stories with their own lives is fascinating and exciting.

The Storyline Conference

Saturday, my wife and I signed up for Don Miller's Storyline Conference in Portland, Oregon to learn ways we can write a better life story, together.

I learned about the Storyline Conference and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years through Don Miller's blog. I enjoy his writing, so when I saw his post about the conference, I was intrigued with doing something more with my own story.

The Storyline Conference is a two day workshop in Portland, Oregon. Attendees hear stories from Don Miller, use workbooks to find out where their own story is headed, and through the process, write a better story of their lives. Music and other surprise experiences during the 2 days should create a unique experience.

Here's the promo video:

Looks like a great experience in a great city!

This spring I missed SXSW due to illness, which was a big bummer. Choosing to experience Storyline, the city of Portland and experience it with my wife is a wonderful reward after missing SXSW. We're both very excited.

I'm also planning to sketchnote the Storyline Conference. If Don is OK with it, I'll post my sketchnotes on Flickr and here on my blog. I'm excited to learn and then share story concepts with others curious about writing a better story with their own lives.