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Entries in Sketchnotes (78)


Meeting Steward Sketchnote Illustration

The Basics of Meeting Stewardship Illustrsation

Today I received a nice surprise: a copy of Associations Now magazine in the mail with my latest sketchnote illustration appearing on page 57.

In September I was commissioned by the magazine to create an illustration to complement an article by Jeff Hurt on the basics and benefits of bringing a meeting steward for meeting planning.

In 2009 I was hired to illustrate a cover and feature story on Visual Thinking. The Associations Now staff and their readers loved the sketchnote style, so when I had a chance to create a follow-up piece, it made sense to follow a winning formula.

I was given the space of a single magazine page for my art — either the top of two pages for a horizontal piece or a single full page for a more vertical piece.

Concept Sketches

First I did some pencil sketching to figure out elements I wanted to use and to figure out the best format — either horizontal or vertical.

In the sketch below you'll see I began playing with elements from the article text in a horizontal format. I really liked the feel but was feeling that I would need too much space vertically, even in a horizontal format to make the flow work right.

Meeting Steward Concept Sketch - Wide

Since I liked the detail of this sketch, I drew up another concept to work out how the same elements would look on a single page, in a vertical format:

Meeting Steward Concept Sketch - Full Page

This seemed to work better from a flow perspective as you can see on the right page as I mapped out how generally the eye should be drawn across the illustration.


Once I had the direction, I started by laying down light pencil shapes on paper at actual size and then inked in elements of the piece. After the ink dried, I erased the underlying pencil and scanned in the art to modify for production in Photoshop.

I wanted to add a little color to the piece, though I really liked the cream and black look I've developed for my sketchnote art. I decided to add warm red highlights specifically to the arrows, as a way to draw the reader's eyes through flow of the conference imagery.

The Basics of Meeting Stewardship Illustrsation

Final art was sent to Associations Now and worked great for the article. As a side benefit, the art director was able to reuse arrow art for feature quotes on the following pages to carry the theme all the way through the article.

You can read the online version of the article at Associations Now magazine.


Eloqua RPM Sketchnotes for JESS3

I'm very excited to share a set of sketchnotes I captured for creative agency JESS3 back in June. The resulting video and microsite for Eloqua are now live, so I'm free to talk a bit about my sketchnote work for this project.

The Challenge

I was hired by Leslie Bradshaw, president and CEO of JESS3, to listen in on a presentation of Revenue Performance Management (RPM) with Eloqua Chief Marketing Officer Brian Kardon.

My goal was to convert the ideas, themes and concepts into sketchnotes.

Brian spoke about management concepts from the industrial revolution through the present and their context as a precursor to the next revolution in management, RPM. The end result was a concise overview of Brian's RPM presentation as a set of sketchnotes.

Here are six pages captured during Brian's talk:

Eloqua RPM Sketchnotes 01 & 02
Eloqua RPM Sketchnotes 03 & 04
Eloqua RPM Sketchnotes 05 & 06

I had connectivity issues with the online slide presentation, so I closed my eyes and listened. I found my focus sharper hearing only the audio over the phone. It's good to know I can produce great work even if technology doesn't cooperate. :-)

Video & Microsite

JESS3 and Leslie really loved my sketchnotes, which they used as a resource for their team toward creating a short, animated video about RPM, which you can see here:

Here's an overview of the project from the JESS3 case study:

Written and produced in collaboration with Eloqua, the Future of Revenue video identifies breakthrough ideas – scientific management, total quality management, supply chain management – and looks at the competitive advantage enjoyed by early adopters. The narrative culminates in the emergence of RPM, a systematic approach to analyzing and predicting the results of a business’ largest and least understood cost center: marketing and sales.

Be sure to check out the Eloqua Future of Revenue microsite to see the complete package.

I had a great time on the project working with Leslie, the team at JESS3 and with Brian at Eloqua. Thanks guys. I can't wait to do it again!


Creating REWORK Slides on the Road

It was Friday, and I'd just arrived in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2010 Interactive festival.

I was enjoying the vibe, warm spring weather and seeing old friends, when I received an email from David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals.

David was preparing a deck of slides for his talk 'Why You're Not Done Yet' set for Sunday at 11am, when he realized he could really use several new pieces of art for the presentation.

He asked if I'd be willing to knock out 3 illustrations and I said yes. Of course, I'd decided to leave my Canon flatbed scanner at home.

How in the world would I get 3 new illustrations into the 37signals Photoshop slide document?

Solving the Drawings First

First things first. I had to solve the drawing challenge before I could focus any energy on making them into slides.

David provided good descriptions of what he needed for the slides, so I started there.

Here are the 3 slides I needed to create artwork for:

1. Giving up is good
2. Restate the problem
3. You can always do less

I grabbed my Moleskine and started thinking on paper. Here are my solutions:

1. Giving up is good

On this slide, my first thought was to use typography. While sketching out the type for GIVE UP! a white flag popped in my head as a perfect, universal metaphor for giving up on something. I added it above the words:

One down.

2. Restate the problem

For this one, I thought of simple ways to get this idea across. What about (A) the words RE-STATE and PROBLEM stacked with arrows pointing to each other?

Too complex. Then I flipped the word PROBLEM backward and stacked another PROBLEM word going the right direction below (B) — simple and effective:

Two down.

3. You can always do less

The last slide graphic took a little more pondering. After letting it brew a while, an idea came to me related to resizing objects in design software.

What about the word LESS in the lower left corner of a rectangle with an arrow pointing from the upper right corner back at LESS? Yep, perfect:

The third and final piece down and out.

I sent iPhone photos of the sketches to David and he loved all 3 ideas.

Solving the Scanner Problem

But how would I get these 3 ideas from my Moleskine onto my MacBook and into the master Photoshop slide document?

That's when I thought — why not use my iPhone's camera?

I found good natural lighting and shot photos of the 3 sketches as close-up and straight-on as possible. Photos were synced to my MacBook and into iPhoto.

The iPhone's camera quality was just fine.

In Photoshop, I played with levels, contrast, brightness and sharpening to get the art to the same quality as the rest of David's presentation images, to match the scanned REWORK illustrations he was already using.

Slides Done. Ready to Rock

When the slides were done, I sent David a set of PNGs for his presentation:

David was pleased with the new art and the Saturday afternoon delivery.

Mission Accomplished

On stage Sunday morning, David's slides looked great. I loved solving the challenge creatively and technically with the limited tools I had on the road.

Next time you find yourself faced with a challenge and what seem like limited tools, revise your assumptions. Think creatively about how you can embrace limitations and use what you have to solve the problem.


SXSW Interactive 2011 Panel Picker: Visual Note-Taking 201

It's SXSW Interactive 2011 Panel Picker time!

I've proposed a session for Visual Note-Taking 201, featuring the same crew of good friends from Visual Note-Taking 101 — Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and Austin Kleon, to talk about more advanced techniques.

Vote for our panel today!

Here are more details:

Visual Note-Taking 201

In Visual Note-Taking 101, Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, Austin Kleon and Mike Rohde shared their unique approaches to visual note-taking, teaching their own visual note-taking techniques to a packed house. The audience drew along during this interactive session, learning visual note-taking techniques on the spot.

In Visual Note-Taking 201, the same team of visual note-takers will share their advanced visual note-taking techniques. They will share ideas on capturing complex and abstract ideas on paper, in clear understandable ways.

Once again, the audience can draw along, learning new techniques on the spot. In this interactive session you will learn how to create infographic style visual notes, embedding rich meaning into simple and understandable packages of information.

Panelists will share their approaches to listening and information processing when capturing live notes, suggest their preferred tools of the trade and talk about effective ways to share visual notes once they've been captured.

This panel will also feature an extended Q&A time to answer questions from the audience on best practices for visual note-taking and challenges audience members may have faced in their own visual note-taking experiences.

Questions Answered

  • How can I capture complex ideas simply and effectively?
  • How are visual notes like infographics?
  • How can I learn to 'cache' and manage information when doing live visual notes?
  • What are some recommended supplies I can use? (e.g. pens, pencils, markers, paper, books, etc.)
  • What are ways I can share my visual notes? (e.g. Flickr, Twitter, etc.)


SXSWi 2010 Visual Note-Taking 101 Panel with audio & slides (from Austin Kleon).
Tracy Muller's experience at at Visual Note-Taking 101
SXTXSTATE article on Visual Note-Taking 101
Charlotte Hillenbrand's experience at Visual Note-Taking 101
The Conversation Podcast 20 - Visual Thinking (with Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and I)
The Big Web Show 16 with Sunni Brown, featuring Jeffery Zeldman & Dan Benjamin

Please go vote for Visual Note-Taking 201!
(login/signup at required)


Chez Panisse Dinner Sketchnotes

Chez Panisse Dinner Sketchnote

Above are the sketchnotes I captured from my dinner at the Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley, CA, captured July 2010. I was on a Gomoll Research + Design business trip with Kate Gomoll and Kris Hunt, when I created these.

I brought a Moleskine sketchbook along with a 0.7mm gel pen (which is always in my pocket) so I could try capturing a dinner as a sketchnote. I've already captured events, travel and my iPhone unboxing — why not my first ever dinner at Chez Panisse?

Chez Panisse Sketchnote In-Progress

Enjoyment of the food came first, of course. I took photos of each dish with my iPhone for later reference. No sense letting wonderful food like this grow cold while sketching it (I was of course very careful not to spill my food on my Moleskine).

Later I learned that people seated at the next table were interested in my sketches, though they never came over to get a closer look. The waiter was very interested and suggested that I email him my work (which I'm about to do after posting this article).

Having this little sketchnote to refer to after the fact has provided me with a time capsule of rich memories. I can still taste the tartness of the boysenberries of the desert when I look at this sketchnote. Mmmm, good!

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