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 (82)


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!


Pecha Kucha Sketchnotes Talk: Video, Slides & Notes

On Tuesday May 11th I performed a Pecha Kucha presentation 'Lessons Learned from Sketchnotes' at PechaKucha Milwaukee #7 and had a great time.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation approach using 20 slides x 20 seconds per slide. The slides switch automatically, every 20 seconds until your 6:40 time is up.

Here's the video of my performance:

You can see that I was a little nervous at the start, but settled into a groove and focused on telling my story. As I got into the flow of the story, it felt great to see people in the crowd enjoying the experience. What a rush!

Check out my Pecha Kucha slide deck on Slideshare.

Public Speaking is OUT of My Comfort Zone

Public speaking is something I want to do more of, but it's something I feel I have much to learn about. My solution is to get into positions where I have to speak (and prepare) to move my comfort zone out farther and farther.

I think doing Pecha Kucha with the added challenge of tight timing has really moved me to a new level and I'm excited about speaking more and improving as a result.

Pecha Kucha Advice

For those about to perform a Pecha Kucha talk, I'd like to capture tips and things I've learned from this experience, in the hope that my knowledge can help you.

1. Choose a topic you know really well. — I felt completely knowledgeable about sketchnotes having discovered them 3 years ago. I've been practicing the sketchnotes as a discipline and a approach for a while now, which gave me confidence.

2. Invest time in preparation — I was most pleased in having invested a good amount of time in establishing a flow on a whiteboard and preparing a unified set of slides from that hard work. This also made me more confident.

3. Ideas and memorization — I decided to deliver my talk without any notes — facing the audience and talking directly to them without distraction. I know when I read a speech I stiffen up and don't sound natural and I didn't want that.

On advice of James Carlson my friend and Pecha Kucha presenter , I wrote out my talk within 20 cells of a spreadsheet, to help me see where it was generally long and short. Eventually those wordy texts were boiled down to 20 ideas I could memorize.

I didn't memorize the words related to the ideas, instead I memorized the ideas themselves in proper order (1-20) which allowed for spur of the moment improvisation within the structure.

This turned the talk into a storytelling performance rather than reading of cards or looking at the slides for cues. My slides instead supported the story I told, not the other way around.

4. Practice, A LOT! — I invested time in practicing my talk over and over again, probably 30+ times. I did the talk on my own, with my wife, work colleagues and friends until the story was in my head and flowed well. Repeated practice helped me calm down once I started talking.

5. Practice with Audiences — I think it's critical that you perform the talk multiple times, with your slides in front of real people. Performing the talk in private had some value, but as I performed the talk in front of others I received great feedback and reduced the stress I had speaking for others, bit by bit.

6. Nail the Timing — I found that by performing the talk with my slides and also with Peeky, an iPhone timer that buzzed every 20 seconds, I was able to get the words to the right length and feel how they worked with my slides.

I ditched the iPhone app after James Carlson suggested I become aware of my slides as they reflect off of hard surfaces and the crowd, so I could stay focused on the audience. That was a huge help for me in sensing the slides changing behind me.

7. Find Friends in the Audience — I always like to find friends in audiences if I can, as they help me connect with those I'm speaking to and provide the confidence that there are people out there supporting me.

I was blessed to have so many friends at Tuesday's Pecha Kucha, supporting and cheering me on as I shared my story. Thanks everyone!

Go Pecha Kucha!

If you have a chance to see or present at a Pecha Kucha night, go for it! The approach is challenging in a good way for speakers and lots of fun to watch as an audience.

I feel much more confident after presenting a talk at a Pecha Kucha night, and I hope lessons I've learned and shared will help others prepare for a talk of their own.

Thanks Jon and Dylan at 800-CEO-READ for the opportunity!

Related Links

YouTube: Video of my talk
Slideshare: Pecha Kucha slide deck.
Dwellephant: PECHA KUCHA RECAP • 5.11.2010

Page 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 ... 17 Next 5 Entries »