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 in Sketchnotes (78)

Friday
Apr252008

SXSW Sketchnotes on Evernote

logo-open-50.gifYesterday made my Evernote SXSW Sketchnotes notebook public and searchable, following a friendly Twitter request from the Evernote team.

This Evernote notebook of sketchnotes is a great example of how well Evernote's server-based scanning and character recognition works on hand-drawn text.

Give it a try!

Tuesday
Apr082008

Sketchnotes at Photoshop World

I love it when my sketches inspire others to draw.

I intentionally choose to share my drawings, sketches and sketchnotes on the web as a way of encouraging others in their own drawings, sketches and sketchnotes.

Photoshop World Sketchnotes!
On Monday, I learned that Amanda Kern, professor at Valencia Community College in Orlando Florida was inspired by my SXSW Sketchnotes. But she went a step further and encouraged her students capture sketchnotes while attending Photoshop World last week. Wow, that is so cool!

2393435974_f676296da0.jpg

From Amanda's post on her Photoshop World experience:

If you happened to be at the conference you may have noticed many of us sketching away in our sketchbooks during classes. Several of us had attendees and speakers comment on how we took such great notes during the conference.

With inspiration from Mike Rohde’s awesome sketchnotes, I proposed the idea of creating sketchnotes to students who were awarded Photoshop World Scholarships. They’re a great reflection of just how many great things were thrown our way during the conference. I’m quite impressed with how they turned out. Sketchnotes provided a creative way for us to document the experience.

I love this! It's wonderful to see students exploring the idea of sketchnotes, finding out how to make something unique and interesting for others to see, but also rich and detailed for their own memories of the event.

Amanda, thanks for trying sketchnotes, I'm honored to have inspired you guys!

Related Links
Amanda Kern's Blog
Photoshop World Sketchnotes Pool on Flickr

Saturday
Mar222008

SXSW Sketchnotes: Additional Observations

It's a bit over a week since posting my SXSW Sketchnotes and I've been fascinated watching the meme and images make the rounds. It started small, with mentions on Twitter and then blogs with links, images or both in postings (currently at 66).

Mike Rohde and Sketchnotes from SXSW 2008

On Thursday, I notice a huge increase in Flickr emails with favorites and comments on the sketchnotes, so I checked my RSS feed searches for 'sketchnotes' and found that both Boing Boing and Digital Web Magazine featured them.

The Digital Web Magazine article was an intentional collaboration between Matthew Pennell, Tiff Fehr and me, but the Boing Boing mention was organic, via a post by Laughing Squid earlier in the week.

My observations about this whole experience?

People like to share things that make them look good — If you do something unique and interesting, people love mentioning your work to their friends, especially if it makes them look good. Being the first one to find something cool can earn credibility with a network of friends.

Word of mouth is powerful — I couldn't have planned the path or the speed with which the sketchnotes would have taken any better their own path via word of mouth. This reminds me how powerful word of mouth is. I know in theory how quickly good or bad messages can spread — this experience reinforced it for me.

Share your work with your network to "seed" it — I had several friends who I first shared the sketchnotes with: Twitter friends who attended SXSW and the speakers at the events I covered with my note-taking. I also mentioned them to longer-term friends like Jim at Coudal, Armand at Moleskinerie, as well as newer friends like Matthew & Tiff at Digital Web Magazine, who contacted me prior to SXSW. The old adage that you should build your network before you need it is really true. Having the trust and friendship beforehand makes all the difference.

Creative Commons Licenses Encourages Image Posting — I firmly believe that hosting the sketchtoons on Flickr with a Creative Commons license allowing re-postng with attribution made it super easy for bloggers to include images on their sites. This further encouraged visitors to check out the set, my site and even dig into my archives or email me directly.

Things you do outside your main work can improve your reputation — I'm a professional designer and art director, specializing in logo, web and icon design, yet am gaining notice via sketchnotes. This is a good thing, since my sketchnotes show how I listen, process information, think, analyze information and capture it visually. While completely separate from my professional work, it is at the same time at the very heart of that work, showing how I solve problems for clients.

I'm now considering a few products created from the SXSW Sketchnotes, including an e-book with high res images and added notes, and an on-demand or limited edition printed version of the sketchnotes, for sale to those who would like a copy. If you have interest in either of these items, please leave a message in the comments.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has mentioned and linked to the images, or left comments here or on Flickr. Your kind words have been greatly appreciated! :-)

Stats on Flickr — Wow!
Sketchnote Stats

Photo: John December

Sunday
Mar162008

Lessons Learned from my SXSW Sketchnotes

SXSWi 2008 Sketchnotes: Great Design HurtsI've been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction my SXSW Sketchnotes have received this week.

They've been featured on all sorts of sites, from Coudal Partners and Daring Fireball to Laughing Squid and The Guardian's Jemima Kiss' PDA Blog — and on Twitter!

I've decided to capture my observations here and share what I've learned:

A Fast Spreading Meme
I'm fascinated at how quickly the sketchnotes spread across the net. On the Tweet scan and RSS searches for my name, "SXSW Sketchnotes" were popping up all over and being re-tweeted like crazy. I seeded the first few links to SXSW speakers and a few friends, but at a certain point the mentions took on a life of their own.

Readers Like Personal Accounts
People seem fascinated with personal accounts of events. Sharing a unique, personal perspective is a powerful way to communicate. Sketchnotes are one way that attendees to the panels can re-live an experience. Even those who never attended the event can glean ideas from this kind of text+visual note style.

The Human Touch Attracts Readers
I'm finding that readers enjoy the human touch of my sketchnotes, which were hand-drawn in real time at the event. They're a little imperfect, yet very readable and understandable. Their impressionistic nature seems to be engaging readers in a different way than photos or computer-generated text from SXSW Interactive.

Sketchnotes Awaken Memories
For many SXSW attendees the sketchnotes seem to awaken positive memories, even several days later. This is one of the reasons I keep a travelogues when I go on trips. Notes and sketches of my activities help me recall clear memories — even years after the trip. Hopefully this will be true of my SXSW Sketchnotes in the future.

New Opportunities
I've been approached several times this week about doing "sketchnote" style illustrations for a couple of projects. It appears that something unique, like my sketchnotes, can lead to new opportunities to do more of them.

Creative Commons Frees Up Images
All of the sketchnote scans and photos have been uploaded to Flickr with a Creative Commons non-commercial, attribution license, which frees people to place my images on their sites with attribution, and no need to ask permission. I love this!

In a nutshell, the SXSW Sketchnotes have been a phenomenal success. Both SXSW attendees and outside observers seem to resonate with them, and they tell one angle of the human experience I had while in Austin. I most certainly plan to do more sketchnotes as I attend conferences, based on the reception of these and other sketchnotes I've published.

As I discover new effects from the sketchnotes, I'l be sure to add them here.

Stats on Flickr — Wow!
Sketchnote Stats

Wednesday
Mar122008

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
Thinkcage
The Guardian: Jemima Kiss' PDA Blog
TechMeme
Scot Hacker
SXSW Baby!
MetaNotes
The Center for Graphic Facilitation
Alphachimp Studio
EverydayUX
Inbound Gowanus
Praxis101
AdRANTs
Palabrerío
etherbrain
lab:kloud9
Electric Weekend
BizRevolution
GlobalNerdy: Joey deVilla
iPlot: Tim Lebrecht
Paul Isakson
PoppyTalk
Karma Cool
FrogDesign Frogblog
Howie Chang
Moleskinerie
Viaspire
That's Right
20seven
Memoirs on a Rainy Day
pica+pixel
Jason Santa Maria
Brand Flakes for Breakfast
My Back Channel
Hoi Polloi Report
SpinCity.org
CNET: Matter/Anti-Matter
The Opine
Danny Gregory
Boing Boing
Digital Web Magazine
Nortypig
Ship's Biscuit
Bionic Teaching
CCLaP
Newpress Blog of the World
dev.upian.com
Full Circle Associates
The Agenda: The Fifth Column
Garrison Reid
Under Consideration: Quipsologies No. 47
That Dismal Science
The 20x200 Blog
Palm Addict
Aperte
Overnight Lows
OS Meus Apontadores
Boy Meets Blog
Picture Imperfect
Miiitch
Horse1Asia
About Design: R. Bird
Speak Up!
Caminews
Alex Jones
Shaunline.com
Ozoux.com
TeamForty
BeaconFire Consulting
The Pen Addict
Live Exhaust
Candyjar
Jeff Lin
Flirty Sanchez
Nick Chapman
'skine art
Tommy Young's Idle Musings
weBranding
unquiet.hart