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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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Entries in Sketchnote Handbook (35)


The Sketchnote Handbook: Book Version Details

SOME OF THE QUESTIONS I hear again and again about The Sketchnote Handbook include: How are the different versions of The Sketchnote Handbook similar and different from each other? Is the video in the Video Edition the same as the DVD? Is there an eBook version I can buy?

To clarify the different versions of the book, I've detailed each version below:

1. The Sketchnote Handbook - Video Edition

I feel this edition is the best value because it includes the fully illustrated book, with detailed information about how I came to sketchnoting,Tsh video structures of sketchnotes and how to create sketchnotes yourself, with great worksheets in chapter 7. It also includes a code that lets you access all 20 of the the streaming videos (1 hour 10 minutes worth) at

The special video edition of the book offers a different perspective on sketchnoting than you get from the book alone that's both immediate and complementary, while still unique and compelling.

In the book, I show you sketchnoting techniques for translating ideas into simple drawings and type; in the video I actually put you in the room with me so you can watch as I work and see how the drawings emerge from my pen and unfold on the page.

The video edition provides access to 1 hour and 10 minutes of beautiful, documentary-style video tutorials. You'll see me in action as I demonstrate the drawing and sketchnoting techniques discussed in the book. Beyond the book, the video edition includes a series of episodes where I sketchnote a talk live — from start to finish — at an on-site event.

As I sketchnote the live talk, you can see what it's like to take visual notes in real time, how quickly I need to draw to capture big ideas, and the types of visual choices I make when taking notes with pictures.

2. The Sketchnote Handbook

Tsh regThis edition is the same printed book as the Video Edition — a fully illustrated book, but with no video component whatsoever. It has detailed information about how I came to sketchnoting, structures of sketchnotes and how to create sketchnotes yourself, with some great worksheets in chapter 7.

This version is great if you just want the book.

3. The Sketchnote Handbook - PDF eBook

Tsh reg pdfThis edition is the same as the printed book, but in PDF eBook format with your name watermarked into the PDF. it is the same fully illustrated book, with no video component, and has the same information about how I came to sketchnoting, structures of sketchnotes and how to create sketchnotes yourself, with some great worksheets in chapter 7.

This version looks great on an iPad, and is a good choice if you just want the book.

4. The Sketchnote Handbook - DVD Video

Tsh dvd This is the complete video series on DVD. It has the same content - 1 hour and 10 minutes of beautiful, documentary-style video tutorials as included as streaming video in the Video Edition of the book. You can watch over my shoulder as I sketchnote concepts and a complete event from start to finish — all on one DVD.

This is a good companion to the regular book, the eBook PDF version or if you prefer a physical DVD disc.

5. The Sketchnote Handbook - Online Video

ShowCover aspx This is the complete video series online, in streaming format. It is the same content - 1 hour and 10 minutes of beautiful, documentary-style video tutorials as included in the Video Edition of the book. You can watch over my shoulder as I sketchnote concepts and a complete event from start to finish — all online.

This is a good companion to the regular book, the eBook PDF version or if you prefer streaming video.

5. The Sketchnote Handbook - Chapter 4 PDF

Tsh ch4To see what the book looks like, we've created a sample chapter PDF you can download.

It includes the complete front-matter (copyright, table of contents, acknowledgments, introduction, author bio) and the full index, so you can really see how the book's illustrations look, see the structure and get more details on other chapters before you buy. Looks great on an iPad by the way!

More Questions?

There are a variety of options for you, so I hope this more detailed description of each version helps you find and buy just the edition you need. If you have questions, leave a comment below or drop me a line.

40% Off Pre-Order Coupon Thru 11/30/2012

In a little over a week The Sketchnote Handbook will be released, but if you pre-order from Peachpit between now and November 30th, use the coupon code SKETCHNOTEPO for 40% off the cover price of the print editions of the book.

35% Off Coupon Thru 12/31/2012

Peachpit is offering 35% off with coupon code SKETCHNOTE now through December 31st, which works on every edition and is especially useful for the PDF and DVD versions mentioned above.

November 30th can't come soon enough!


The Sketchnote Handbook: Update 12 - Free Chapter 4 PDF!

I'M EXCITED to share something new today you're going to love — a free PDF sample download of The Sketchnote Handbook!

Chapter 4

The free PDF sample includes front matter — praise, copyright, dedication, acknowledgments, about the author, table of contents, and the introduction. It also includes all of Chapter 4 "The Sketchnoting Process" featuring two sketchnoters — Eva Lotta Lamm and Michelle George, and the complete index.

Go ahead! Grab your copy of this free download, so you can get an idea of how the book turned out. I'm convinced once you see the book sample, you won't be able to stop yourself from pre-ordering the book. :-)

If you choose to pre-order from Peachpit, use the code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off the book's price, shipping and anything else you buy from When you buy through my link, I get a 10% author's referral reward.

Book Launch Party - Thursday December 6th

If you're near Milwaukee and would like to come to the launch party, please RSVP. The event is happening Thursday, December 6th from 5:30-8:30 PM at Translator, 415 E Menomonee Street in Milwaukee's Third Ward.

Video shoot in progress

We're serving soup, bread, butter, crackers and Milwaukee Brewing Company beer and other non-alcoholic refreshments, then I'll teach some sketchnoting techniques you can try out during Len Kendall's presentation.

We'll share our sketchnote work and I'll be selling and signing books to complete the night.

The first 20 who RSVP and show up at the event first, will receive a free, signed copy of the book. I'm emphasizing both RSVP and showing up to claim the book, to make sure everyone on the list has a fair shot.

"Success is Being There" Article

Today also marked the release of a new interview of me by Lisa Walker-England called Success is Being There at JourneyCraft.

Lisa and I sat down for an interview a few weeks ago, and I had a great time describing what brought me to sketchnoting and how the release of my new book is the culmination of 5 years hard work. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"To put it simply, he was good at “being there.” Mike’s consistent attendance at conferences with the same speakers, sketchnotes in hand, eventually to his illustrating REWORK. Faithful execution on that project led to more illustration gigs and finally to his opportunity at Peachpit."

I think the piece turned out great — thanks Lisa!


The Sketchnote Handbook: Update 11 - Launch Prep

IN THREE WEEKS, on November 30th, The Sketchnote Handbook will launch. I'm counting the days. I can't wait to see the book and hear reactions from readers.

Sketchnote Handbook: Chapter 4 Sketch

These past three weeks have been spent preparing for the launch — lining up review copies of the book with influencers, doing interviews with a variety of sites, planning the launch party, updating the book info page and thinking of creative ways to promote and get word out on the book.

Sketchnote Handbook: Chapter 4 Illustration Sample

Just when you think your work is done, it's really just beginning. I'm finding the promotion of the book in advance of its release is hard work in a different way, but hard work nonetheless. Of course, when you have a book you love to share with others, it's also rewarding to tell others about it.

Last Minute Changes

The week after I delivered the final files, we found a few flaws in the final work that we scrambled to fix for print production. In one case, I was looking at the final PDF and saw one of the guest sketchnoters' art was being clipped off improperly. We were able to repair that and a few other tidbits.

I've been learning to be very persnickety about details. If I hadn't been tuned into the final work while browsing pages, I might have missed this flaw and been embarrassed with improperly printed artwork.

Updating the Book Page

Another important task was getting The Sketchnote Handbook book page tuned up and ready to get pre-orders going. The initial page, created during the rush of creating the book, was pretty rough. I spent several days tuning, adding detail and finally have a decent page in place.

The Sketchnote Handbook Cover

I still have more to do, like a blogger's resource, links to the different book options and other details, which I'll add before launch. If you have ideas or suggestions, please let me know what you'd like to see.

I'm working on getting Chapter 4 released as a free PDF download and one video from the video series released to show you what the book really looks like before you buy. It only seems natural to share book and video samples not only for you, but for the people you want to share the book with too.

Keep your eyes here for book excepts and video releases.

Launch Party: December 6th

I'm also planning a launch party for the book with my friends at Translator for Thursday, December 6th from 5:30-8:30pm. I'm planning on serving soup and bread for a light dinner before I sign books, teach some basic sketchnoting techniques so we can all sketchnote my friend Len Kendall's presentation.

I'm working on a special giveaway for the first people to RSVP for the event, so again, keep an eye open here for more information on that special opportunity. It should be a great time, so mark your calendars!

A Little Progress, Every Day

After a few weeks of reflection, I'm appreciating the process of creating The Sketchnote Handbook in a way I couldn't while creating the book. I can see that a project of that size required consistent, daily progress.

On other, smaller projects, if I was pressed, I could pull and all-nighter or three and knock out the work. But with the book, that just wasn't an option. Not even two weeks of all-nighters could get me to a completed book. It required a long-term, 7-month journey of daily progress.

That's a great life reminder that the toughest and most rewarding things I can do (parenting, managing my heath and more) are long-term, daily journeys.

New Articles

There are a variety of new pieces up related to The Sketchnote Handbook you can read and watch:

Author Blogging & Book Marketing Done Right - Roger C. Parker talks about this series of posts documenting the book writing process.

Sketchnote Handbook Video Promo - this video was shot by Amy Van Vechten at Peachpit last spring, when I paid a visit to Peachpit.

7 Questions with Mike Rohde in Rejuvenate Meetings - A Q&A about the new book and sketchnoting.

Come on November 30th!

I can't wait for launch day on November 30th! In the meantime, your pre-orders of the book are encouraged and appreciated. It would be great to sell so many of these books that Peachpit has to print more!

To pre-order The Sketchnote Handbook from Peachpit, use the code SKETCHNOTE for 35% off of the list price through December 31, 2012.

I highly recommend the Video Edition, which includes the book and a code in the back for the 1 hour 10 minute streaming video, including an on-site video of me sketchnoting a talk live. This version is the best value.

Look for more updates as launch day nears - thanks again for your support!


The Sketchnote Handbook: Update 10 - Delivery!

IT'S DELIVERED! The Sketchnote Handbook is off to the publisher. Whew!

Checking over the final chapters for the publisher on the iPad - today is the final day! :-)
Reviewing the final PDF files on my iPad.

I'm near the end of The Sketchnote Handbook project, with the covers, 224 interior pages, master videos and video packaging files sent to Peachpit for final print production. Now my focus turns to preparing for launch and promotion of the book and video.

It's oddly surreal to be done with all of the writing, illustration, design and production tasks. Something massive took over my life for many months and I think I've adapted to the flow of pushing to get it done so well, that with it complete, there's a bit of a vacuum.

More of chapter 7 in the can - miles to go before I sleep...   Chapter 6 - done in B&W, off for proofing. Chapter 7 & 8 to go then it's book production time!
Snapshots of artwork during production.

A Long, Hard Road

I have to tell you, the last month and a half has been a crazy, sleep-deprived marathon of pushing and clawing to complete the book. Days and days of nearly continuous work from morning until late at night, with breaks for eating and sleeping. Many of those nights I had no idea how I would pull it all off.

They best advice given to me during this project was from one of my advisors, Stefan Bucher, He told me the key to writing a book is to make progress every single day. Many nights I would drag myself to bed, feeling drained, only knowing that I'd made some progress. That was enough to keep me going.

In September, some of the pressure was not knowing when our baby would arrive. Looking back, I think Landon's arrival on September 19th was probably ideal. It forced me to let go of the project and take a little break, though even on days at the hospital, I was always making progress. And once he did arrive, that unknown situation was lifted, so I could focus on the book and finish strong.

Adding color is my final production step. It's really looking brilliant with the Pantone 021 in place.
Producing the final pages of the book in Photoshop.

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

I've come to realize that writing, illustrating, designing and producing print-ready artwork for The Sketchnote Handbook, along with the shooting and producing The Sketchnote Handbook Video has been the single hardest project I've ever done, hands down.

I've done my share of huge projects — they don't even compare to the hundreds of hours poured into this book and video. Had I known what I was in store for when I accepted this project, I might have declined it.

However, all of the projects I've been most proud of have followed a similar pattern. In some way, not knowing the pain and challenges when I begin is how I trick myself into the big, daunting projects I end up being most proud of.

There were many times I wanted to take the easy way out, but chose the harder way. For me, this is a life's work project. I hope you'll sense my love and dedication when you read the book and see the video.

What's Next?

With all of the final files off for production, it's time to prepare for the book launch, review the final galley proof (a mocked up book to show how the book will look when final) and promote the book ahead of release.

I'm also resting up a bit, taking my wife out for some dates to compensate for the months of work at night, spending time with my kids and just getting restored mentally. Writing also impacted my eating and exercise routines, which I need to get on track again. So, normal life, more or less.

Book Promotion

I already have some promotional ideas in the works — once I have those finalized I will share them here. One of my tasks is to update the book page with more samples, blurbs and other info — look for that soon.

In fact, here's an interview just posted by Collaborate Meetings Magazine, about how I came to sketchnoting and some insights about the book.

I'm also open to other ideas if you have them. I'd love to setup interviews for websites, or appear on podcasts to talk about the book, either before or after launch. If you'd like to propose something, get in touch.

Book Tour Ideas

I'm starting to think ahead on how to handle the book tour, which is challenging with a new little baby in the mix. I can't take a week-long trip around the country. That would be tough on my wife and my day job. However, I'm imagining local single-day tours, starting in the midwest and maybe expanding as the book is out there, gaining readers and fans.

If your company or organization would be interested in a possible tour stop when the book is released, I'd love to hear your ideas. drop a line and let's talk.


One way you can really support me now is by pre-ordering The Sketchnote Handbook online. I highly recommend the Video Edition, because you get both the book and video together, for a great price. Here are the places where the book can already be pre-ordered:

Thank You

I want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has encouraged me as I've fought my way through this project. Emails, tweets and kind words really have supported me through this project and I hope to make you all very proud and pleased with this book and video.


The Sketchnote Handbook: Update 9 - Home Stretch

TWO DEADLINES ARE LOOMING: I'm working hard to keep moving out updates to the book and video, and our third child could be born at any time.

Some days I feel overwhelmed with all that needs to be done with the book and preparing for the baby, and other days I feel energized. However I may feel, I just keep plugging away, making progress every day.

Book Illustration & Design

This past week was a good one, as I've been able to ink illustrations, scan them in and build chapters 1 Groovin', inkin' and drinkin'through 4. I'm just about halfway through the book, as chapters 5-7 have a larger page count, but feature worksheets and samples of sketchnoter work by a variety of people.

I was fortunate to locate some bristol card stock at the art store that replicates the surface of the Moleskine sketchbooks I love. Having great paper and great pens makes all the difference.

The final, inked art has been scanned at 600 dpi, which works well for quality and detail. I've been keeping the contrast on the art high, so the final pages will have a clear, crisp look and feel.

Instagram has worked perfectly for sharing my work as I've progressed. You can also see those images in my Sketchnote Handbook photo set on Flickr.

Chapter 1 completed - time to jam on chapter 2 inking. Chapter 2 is now built and off for proofing. Inking chapter 3 tonight! Chapter 3 in progress... Chapter 3 B&W - in the can. Monday it's inking and building out chapter 4. Closing in on chapter 4 being built. Feeling good!

I'm preparing to spend the rest of the week and weekend inking, scanning and building out the last 3 chapters (5, 6, 7) so that next week I can make any typo fixes and add orange highlights.

Book Production

The final artwork is being built in Photoshop, because of the flexibility it offers as I'm turning sketches into final art. I can blend inked image scans with typography and tweak positioning in the app I'm most comfortable using.

Chapter 1, first spread - inked and built (round 1). Still need a spell-check & orange highlights applied.

We're using PDF versions of the illustrations to trade commentary, which works well. I can open the PDF of sketches or final art on the MacBook's screen, and make changes in Photoshop on my main LCD screen.

Once the final illustrations are proofed and prepared for 2 color orange and black, I'll import the high-res files into InDesign for page layout. I'll build the book from front to back, add page numbers and so on.

Cover art for the book and video packaging will be created separately, as those need to get to the printer a little earlier than the remainder of the book artwork.

I have much to do, but I'm feeling good about how the project is shaping up.

Sketchnote Fonts

Looking back, one of the best decisions I've made in the book project has been working with Delve Withrington to create fonts of my handwriting and headlines. The combination of a handwriting font for body text and a hand-drawn, squared-style headline font has saved numerous hours of drawing and writing.

Sketchnote Square - this is going to make book production ten times more manageable.

Ultimately, Delve and I will be offering a Sketchnote Family set of fonts for purchase, once the book and video are done. We're thinking end of 2012 or so, but we'll see. One thing at a time.

Featured Sketchnoters

I'm very pleased with the variety of work I'm seeing as the featured sketchnoters deliver their sketchnotes to me. There are only 3 of the 14 left to go before I have all of the art — I can't wait for readers to see these beautiful pieces.

The Video

The video is going well too. Brian Artka is busy editing the last of the 20 videos this week. When he's done, the huge video files go on a hard drive and will be shipped to Peachpit for production.

I need to produce art for the packaging as well as the on-screen menu for the DVD. Should be fun learning about this stuff.


Once again, thank you to everyone who has encouraged me. Writing, illustrating and designing a book is hard, hard work. Even harder when there's a video companion. Triple points for having a baby at the same time.

However, I can already see how the book and video will help people give sketchnoting a try and may really change some lives.

Can't ask for more than that.