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Mike Rohde (Color - Square)

ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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Entries from January 1, 2009 - January 31, 2009


Sketchnoting SXSW Interactive 2009

SXSWi 2008 Sketchnotes: First SpreadDoom and gloom. Meltdown of the global economy. Real estate prices dropping, layoffs, businesses closing and more bad news bombards us daily.

2008 was a rough year and 2009 is off to a rocky start. These are challenging times.

In spite of the bad news around us, I've decided to focus on the positive. To focus on the opportunities in this new year and not let the negativity dominate my outlook or perspective.

For me, this begins with SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas, March 13-18, 2009.

SXSW Interactive Official Sketchnoter

One hugely bright spot in 2009 is the honor of being the Official Sketchnoter to SXSW Interactive. In 2008, my first ever SXSW, I used my Moleskine pocket sketchbook and G2 pen to live capture several of the panels and sessions in sketchnote form.

At the time I was capturing the event for myself and the small band of followers who enjoyed my work from SEED 1 and SEED 3 conferences and other events I'd captured in 2007 and 2008. What surprised me was how popular the SXSW 2008 sketchnotes became. Just a week after posting the sketchnotes, they appeared on 80+ sites, including Daring Fireball, R.BIRD, FrogDesign, Jason Santa Maria and Boing Boing!

I'm very excited about working in an official capacity this year. I think the toughest challenge will be which panels to attend and capture. I have a list of panels I'm looking forward to, but I also know how panels often overlap. It should be fun. :-)

Get In Touch

I'd love to meet new people at SXSW, so if you're attending and would like to talk over coffee at the event, drop me a line with SXSW in the subject line and say hello, and if you like, follow me on Twitter.

I'm attending the 2009 Avalonstar Bowling Extravaganza on Saturday, March 15th, and my co-conspirator Brian Artka and I are organizing some kind of small gathering at an Austin location during SXSW Week, we'll announce soon.

Stay Positive!

Be thankful for what you have in your life. Be ready for opportunities. Circumstances can bring you down — don't let them ruin your outlook. Stay positive!

Related Links
SXSW interactive
SXSW Interactive 2008 Sketchnotes
SXSW Ning Group
2009 Avalonstar Bowling Extravaganza


8 Questions on Art Direction, Design & Sketchnotes

Mike Rohde Portrait: Cream BricksSeveral months ago, my friend Larry Wright asked if I'd be up for a detailed interview about design, art direction and sketchnotes. I loved the idea and agreed, responding to Larry's questions via email.

We met at the first SEED conference in 2007 and we've kept in contact since. As a developer, Larry is fascinated by design and after sitting next to me as I produced the SEED 1 sketchnotes, was curious about the sketchote process.

Here are some excerpts from the interview, first, my thoughts on art direction:

"In my view, an 'Art Director' is a designer with a 50,000 foot meta view of design projects they work on. They are involved all the way from listening to the client and stakeholders on a project, through the conception of an idea to the design, development and production the idea."

On my design process:

"Once I understand the challenge, I read my notes, and synthesize the goals for sketching. I use pencil sketches to help work out ideas that can solve the challenges I’m facing. These sketches are presented to clients with what I call “rationale notes” explaining the whys of my design concepts."

And on my sketchnotes:

"I find taking notes and sketching really reinforce what I’m capturing in my head as a speaker talks. Sketchnotes are not meant to be word-for-word stenographer notes, but interpretive. I capture what I feel is important, which makes sketchnotes personal."

The full interview: Mike Rohde - Designer, Blogger, Sketchnote Artist is available at Larry's site. Do check it out and consider following Larry Wright on Twitter!

Thanks Larry!


Spreenkler Sketchnotes: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Spreenkler Sketchnotes Tryptych

Last night I had an opportunity to attend the Spreenkler January meeting, to hear Milwaukee's Mayor Tom Barrett speak about his vision for sustaining creativity and innovation and answer questions at The Residences at Hotel Polomar's sales office.

I wasn't intending on sketchnoting the event, as I'd left my blank Moleskine sketchbooks at home. However, I did have my Moleskine notebook and a G2 gel pen along, so I decided spur of the moment to see what would happen.

Turns out that Mayor Barrett had some great things to say, which I was able to capture in sketchote form, shown above.

Thanks go to Steve Glynn for starting up Spreenkler to give Milwaukeeans more opportunities to connect and generate excitement in the city and this area, and to Mayor Barrett for speaking and taking questions.


Mike's Chocolate Espresso Chili Recipe

Chocolate Espresso Chili

By popular demand, here's my crock pot recipe for Chocolate Espresso Chili:

1 lb ground beef (ground round)
2 14-oz cans of chili beans (w/ chili seasoning optional)
2 14-oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 8-oz cans of tomato sauce
1 16-oz jar of chunky salsa
1 white onion, diced
1 milk chocolate bar (43g)
2 1.5-oz shots of espresso
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground paprika

1. Brown the ground beef and onion in large skillet and drain.

2. In a crock pot, combine the ground beef and onions, beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, chocolate bar, espresso, chili powder and paprika.

3. Cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours if you need it sooner). Stir occasionally.

4. Serve. I like chili with cheddar cheese, corn chips and sour cream on top.

I've found the chocolate makes the chili a little sweet, the espresso adds a bit of smoky richness and the paprika becomes a subtly smooth taste that blends in nicely.

The crock pot makes this one easy to make and kinda forget until it's time to eat, especially handy if you need something ready to eat after work.

To reduce calories/fat, swap out the beef for chicken or veggie crumblers.

If you make this recipe, leave a comment and let me know how you like it.