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Entries in Illustration (17)


Lessons Learned from Illustrating the $100 Startup

Chapter 10 Art Master FINAL

TODAY I was honored to see my article, Lessons from Illustrating the $100 Startup appear on Chris Guillebeau's Art of Non-Conformity (AONC) blog.

Chris invited me to write a piece about how the illustrations were created and lessons learned through the process — of course I said yes!

Here's a little preview:

IN THE FALL of 2011, Chris Guillebeau reached out to me with a top secret project he was working on. It was his $100 Startup book and he needed illustrations to amplify the words he was writing in the book.

If not for my friend Jon Mueller at 800-CEO-READ, I might have declined the project, because at the time I was incredibly busy with multiple projects and was planning to write a book on sketchnoting.

I’d known a little about Chris, his blog and his book, AONC, but it was Jon who highly recommended Chris’s book project. So, I decided to go for it.

Go read the full article on Chris; AONC blog.

Chris doesn't give out guest posts lightly, so I'm incredibly honored to have been featured on his AONC blog today.

The $100 Startup is another great project I'm so proud to be part of because I think it helps people start businesses creatively, improving lives and offering new opportunities.

Thanks Chris!


Summit Series Basecamp Sketchnote Booklet

Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Book: Cover Detail

IN JANUARY, the Summit Series team commissioned me to attend and capture sketchnotes at Basecamp, a meeting of 650 invite-only guests in Lake Tahoe's Squaw Valley. I had a great time, met a variety of interesting people and enjoyed live-capturing my experience in sketchnotes during Basecamp weekend.

Typically, I post sketchnotes online, or create a PDF of the sketchnotes for attendees of events. I this case I felt strongly that a booklet, created from the sketchnotes would make a great after the fact artifact of the event for the all of the Summiters at the event in Squaw Valley. Audrey and the Summit Series team loved the idea so we began the process of designing a booklet from my sketchnotes.

Designing The Booklet

Using the multiple pages of sketchnotes I'd scanned, Audrey and I made typo fixes, adjustments and additions to the content, preparing it for printing. Laura, Lindsay and the Pinball Publishing team were my first choice, as they printed the popular Scout Book for our Visual Thinking 101 panel at SXSW 2010.

Here's a sketch of the booklet concept, where you can see me thinking through the booklet's cover design and interior structure:

Booklet concept

When our direction was set, I combined sketchnote scans with newly created elements and laid out an InDesign document for Pinball's new Mega Booklet, a 5x7 Scout Book with more space than the popular 3x5 version:

Booklet InDesign

Once the final art was approved, my production files went to Pinball Press for printing. Here are images of the booklet on press:

Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Book Plates on Press
A Basecamp Sketchnote Booklet plate on press at Pinball Publishing.

Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Printed Book Signature
Basecamp Sketchnote Booklet signature sheet, fresh off the press.

Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Cover Press Sheet
Cover and back cover signature press sheet.

Welcome Note and Packaging

Audrey also provided a welcome note for the final packet, which I hand-write and scanned for print production. The note was printed on a single sheet of duplex card stock (light stock glued to kraft stock for the back), which was then placed into a kraft envelope for shipping to each Summit attendee.

Here are a selection of the final Summit Basecamp Sketchnote Booklet photos, taken by the Pinball staff after printing, cutting and binding:

Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Booklet, Note & Envelope Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Note & Booklet Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Booklet & Note Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote TOC & Page 01 Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Peter Diamandis Detail Summit Basecamp: Sketchnote Booklet (Back)

View: Virtual Summit Basecamp Sketchnote Booklet (flash required).
View: Summit Basecamp Sketchnote Booklet Photos (Flickr)

Final Impressions

The entire booklet turned out great! I'm excited to see how Summit Basecamp attendees like the final booklet — since our aim in capturing sketchnotes and producing a booklet from them is to remind them of their own great weekend experience in the mountains.

If you're a Summiter who has received one of these booklets. please leave a comment with your thoughts. I and the Summit Series team would love to hear your feedback on this fun way of making an artifact from sketchnotes.

Thank you Team Summit Series and Pinball Publishing for making it happen!

Photos: Pinball Publishing

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!


Build Magazine: Sketchnote Illustrations

Build Magazine Illustrations: Cover

IN NOVEMBER 2011, I was hired by Build Network to create an illustration for their premier issue for an article on visual thinking for business called Want to Capture Ideas So They Stick? Draw Them. The article featured Dan Roam, Sunni Brown, Charlotte Hillenbrand, Jeannel King and myself sharing how visual thinking and doodling can help you think and solve problems better.

At the time I was completely focused on illustrating Chris Guillebeau's new book, The $100 Startup, so rather than decline the illustration, I brought the project through the company I work for — Gomoll Research & Design, so I could work on it during daylight hours.

Just a few weeks ago we received the printed issue of Build magazine and the final sketchnote style illustration turned out just great:

Build Magazine Illustrations
Build Magazine Illustrations: Story Detail
Build Magazine Illustrations
Build Magazine Illustrations

To read the article, check out a larger screenshot of the piece in my Build Magazine Illustrations Flickr set.

Thank you Ashely O'Broin for choosing me to help illustrate the premier issue!


Sketchnote Guide to Speaking at SXSW

SXSW INTERACTIVE is one of my favorite events of the year, so when Shawn O'Keefe from the SXSW organizing team contacted me about creating a guide for speakers with sketchnote illustrations, I was all in.

Organizing the Details

Shawn provided a list of 9 messages he wanted speakers to remember as they prepared for their panels, which included:

  • Be at Your Green Room an Hour Before Your Session
  • Stay on Topic During Your Session
  • Watch the Time During Your Session
  • Show Your Passion for Your Topic - Have Fun!
  • Get a Good Night's Sleep the Night Before Your Session
  • Treat Fellow Speakers and Audience with Respect
  • Speak into the Microphone and Look at the Audience When You Talk
  • Remind Your Audience to Rate Your Panel or Presentation
  • Start Thinking About SXSW PanelPicker 2013 (Entry Process Starts June 25)

I began mulling these ideas over in my head and then moved to sketching out the concepts that appeared, using pencil and paper.

Sketch Concepts

SXSW 'Stay on Topic' Sketch

Each concept was sketched out for Shawn's review, with notes in the sketches and included in the Basecamp project we used to communicate. One of my favorite concepts was of an x-wing fighter from Star Wars (Death Star trench scene) related to the "Stay On Topic" recommendation.

All 9 concepts were sketched out, reviewed and approved by Shawn and the team, so I began inking up the ideas.

Inking and Final Design

As I started inking the images, I also began thinking of the best way I could organize the 9 elements into a cohesive, logical unit, easy for a SXSW speaker to scan and understand.

SXSW 'Stay on Topic' Ink

Each image was inked in my Moleskine sketchbook, scanned and edited in Photoshop. There, I remove dirt, fix contrast and generally optimize the images for their eventual vectorization.

Finalized images were processed with Vector Magic, so I can easily work with the final vector elements in Adobe Illustrator. This approach lets me easily size images up and down without quality loss and creates excellent art for print production.

Designing the Flow

I realized that re-ordering the images in a flow that would make more sense to a speaker was the right way to go — starting with a good night's sleep and ending with the Panel Picker to encourage speaking at next year's event.

I worked the separate illustrations by adjusting sizes and adding bits of typography, until a cohesive illustration emerged after a few iterations. Shawn and the team at SXSW loved the final piece:

Sketchnote Guide to Speaking at SXSW (B&W)

After final updates, the art was sent off to the printer. Here's the final image, mocked up on Neenah Environment Desert Storm, the card stock it will print on:

Sketchnote Guide to Speaking at SXSW (Kraft)
Sketchnote Guide to Speaking at SXSW

The speaker card will be inserted into every speaker packet, with the goal of better preparing all SXSW speakers for their panels.


Thanks Shawn, Hugh, Caroline and the entire SXSW planning team for choosing me to communicate this message in a fun, unique way.