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Entries in Sketches (67)


The Joy of Creating Handmade Cards

Today in my Flickr account I came across a photo from my trip to Belize in 2007:

Pineapple Thank You Card

This photo reminded me how much joy I get creating handmade cards and giving them to family and friends. For many years I've preferred to create cards (when I plan ahead) because they're fun to do and are always received well.

And you know it's really much easier than you think. With computer card software being so popular, you can get pre-folded blank cards, complete with matching envelopes at any office supply or Target store. Most stores will have simple colored pencil kits, and as for pens, the Pilot G2 and Uniball Signo 207 work well.

I recommend sketching out your idea in graphite pencil very lightly, then draw over the pencil with the G2 or Signo's black gel ink. Erase the pencil. Color the card with the colored pencils, or if you wish, keep it black and white like my card above.

You can add a message inside, and be sure to write some kind of "created by" message on the back of the card. My line in college when I started creating cards was:

"Rohde Cards: When you're too cheap to send the very best."

Belize Thank You Card Story
As for the story behind the handmade card above, I was in Belize in July 2007, as a part of a church service group. A small team from the larger group paid a visit to a Mennonite family in the village of St. Margaret's, in the mountains of Belize.

The family we visited was incredibly hospitable to our team. They offered fresh pineapple juice and friendly conversation at their home overlooking the river, high on a hillside. I wanted to say thanks, but what can you offer a Mennonite family they don't already have — or will accept?

How about a handmade thank you card?! :-)

With this in mind, I drew up a little thank you card on spare construction paper, had our entire group sign the back and sealed both sides with leftover clear contact paper. Our team presented the card to the family, which they loved.

Go Forth and Create Handmade Cards!
So, visit the store this week and get your supplies for Mother's Day! Your mom will adore your handmade work, regardless of your drawing skills. Remember, it's not about your skills as an illustrator, it's about sharing from your heart!

Photo Credit: Laura Winslow


SXSW Interactive 2008 Sketchnotes

SXSWi 2008 Sketchnotes: First Spread

Welcome BoingBoing readers! Be sure to check out my follow-up post called Lessons Learned from my SXSW Sketchnotes too!

SXSW Interactive 2008 Sketchnotes are up!
I've just completed scanning, tuning and uploading 34 pages of sketchnotes I captured in my pocket Moleskine sketchbook at SXSW Interactive earlier this week.

I think the sketchnotes turned out well, and it was no problem for me to continuously create them for nearly every session I attended. I certainly went through ink in my G2 mini pens — I'm glad I brought several along.

With the SEED Conference sketchnotes being pretty popular, I'm curious to see how these SXSW sketchnotes are received. While sketchnotes capture concentrated concepts for each session well, I think they're even better at awakening ideas stored in the minds of session attendees.

Speakers Featured
Here are the speakers featured in the SXSW Interactive Sketchnotes: Naz Hamid, Veronica Belmont, Casey McKinnon, Ryan King, Glenda Bautista, Ariel Waldman, John Gruber, Michael Lopp, Jim Coudal, Dan Rubin, Didier Hilhorst, Eris Stassi, Lea Alcantara (sorry for the Leah misspell in the notes!), Ben Brown and Frank Warren.

Finally, here's the FlickrSlidr Slideshow set:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did creating them! :-)

Stats on Flickr — Wow!
Sketchnote Stats

Check out Shaun Swick's very cool SXSW Sketchnotes 08 Flickr Set for another perspective.

Dave Gray does his style of sketchnotes on 3x5 notecards, check out his set from VizThink08.

Related Mentions:
Coudal Partners
Daring Fireball
Rob Hinchcliffe
Jeremy Greenawalt
Laughing Squid
The Guardian: Jemima Kiss' PDA Blog
Scot Hacker
SXSW Baby!
The Center for Graphic Facilitation
Alphachimp Studio
Inbound Gowanus
Electric Weekend
GlobalNerdy: Joey deVilla
iPlot: Tim Lebrecht
Paul Isakson
Karma Cool
FrogDesign Frogblog
Howie Chang
That's Right
Memoirs on a Rainy Day
Jason Santa Maria
Brand Flakes for Breakfast
My Back Channel
Hoi Polloi Report
CNET: Matter/Anti-Matter
The Opine
Danny Gregory
Boing Boing
Digital Web Magazine
Ship's Biscuit
Bionic Teaching
Newpress Blog of the World
Full Circle Associates
The Agenda: The Fifth Column
Garrison Reid
Under Consideration: Quipsologies No. 47
That Dismal Science
The 20x200 Blog
Palm Addict
Overnight Lows
OS Meus Apontadores
Boy Meets Blog
Picture Imperfect
About Design: R. Bird
Speak Up!
Alex Jones
BeaconFire Consulting
The Pen Addict
Live Exhaust
Jeff Lin
Flirty Sanchez
Nick Chapman
'skine art
Tommy Young's Idle Musings


2008 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar Preview

This week I've completed the final eight sketchtoon illustrations for my 2008 Sketchtoon Calendar, which will be going on sale soon:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I've had lots of interest in my sketchtoons, so I've decided to post samples of each calendar page on Flickr and share the previews here. I'm planning to have the calendar ready for sale by next week Saturday, just in time for Christmas.

Once I complete the cover illustration, I'll be creating the calendar with an on-demand printing service. I've used use Cafe Press for calendar printing in the past, however, I plan to check out other on-demand printing services. If you have a service to recommend, let me know with a comment below.

Be the First to Know!
If you're interested in the 2008 Sketchtoon Calendar, and want to be the first to know when goes on sale, email me.


Great Miquelrius Resource:

Mike Rohde's Sketch Kit (Open)A few weeks back I received an email from Todd Berryman, a radio host at 92.3 WTTS FM in Bloomington, Indiana.

Todd found me because I use Miquelrius notebooks daily for logo, icon and web design work. He wanted to know where I buy mine, as he was having trouble finding them at his local Barnes & Noble.

Since I'm on my last Miquelrius sketchbook, this issue hit close to home.

I haven't found them at my local B&N either. I figured they were simply out of stock. This email got me thinking — I should really locate a good online source for Miquelrius notebooks. Just in case.

Todd mentioned, the online store for Miquelrius USA. Sure enough, they have a good selection of the soft-cover books I love so much, and several other options as well.

From Oops to Oh Yeah!
I ordered 3 green notebooks, but accidentally chose lined books instead of gridded. I immediately emailed the ShopMiquelrius help desk and within hours, I had personal emails back from Jennifer and her staff, letting me know they would take care of the error. Wow, that's what I call service!

I'm ordering all of my Miquelrius notebooks from from now on. Yeah, they sell the notebooks I need at a decent price, but what sold me was how well they treated me, and how quickly they solved my problem.

An Affiliate Idea
Because of my personal contact with Jennifer, I asked if they happened to have an affiliate program for their products. Since I use the products and love ShopMiquelrius's service, why not share the resource with others and earn a few dollars leading buyers to them?

Jennifer said they didn't have an affiliate program in place, but she was very intrigued by the idea. After a little research and requests of the director, she got the green light to launch a trial affiliate program for 3 months. Very cool!

Today their new trial affiliate program is live on the site.

Support a Great Source
Seeking a good source for Miquelrius notebooks? I invite you to try ShopMiquelrius by using my affiliate link.

If you like their service, sign up for the affiliate program yourself, so your friends can use this resource, ShopMiquelrius can sell more books, and you can earn a little something to buy more Miquelrius notebooks with! :-)

P.S. I wasn't paid to write this post, didn't receive any free notebooks, and have only signed up for the affiliate link a few moments ago. I'm just a very happy customer who wants to share this great resource with other Miquelrius buyers, and to help grow and thrive. It's the least I can do.

P.P.S. Just got word from Jennifer that ShopMiquelrius is having a Thanksgiving sale: 10% off all purchases for registered, logged-in users, from Noon EST November 15th through 11:59 PM on November 18th. To get the discount, use the code THANKS07.


John Coltrane: Impressions Music Sketch

John Coltrane: Impressions SketchLast week, I had to get my mind in a logo sketch groove after working on the computer most of the day.

To do this, I sometimes choose a music-driven exercise to get into the rhythm of sketching.

Music Sketching
Pick a fresh page in your sketchbook, then queue up and listen to a piece of music, while expressing what you're hearing and feeling on the page.

Don't worry about making it "right" because it's based on how you feel at the moment. Because it's open and free, this can relax you to enjoy the feel of pen or pencil on paper.

This process really helps me focus in on the music, loosens my hand up and gets me in the right frame of mind for sketching.

Above is the sketch created while listening to Impressions by John Coltrane, a wonderful piece which itself helps me loosen up for sketching.

Give it a try sometime!

Related Links
Music-driven Moleskine Sketches