the sketchnote handbookI wrote earlier about discovering the art form of Zentangle, and while I have been enjoying making the little designs, I had no clear idea what to do with them. Well, I have finally found the book that’s made it all click for me—[easyazon-link asin=”0321857895″ locale=”us”]The Sketchnote Handbook[/easyazon-link] by Mike Rohde.

‘Sketchnote’ is the name Rohde gives to visual note-taking. In the first book, he applies this to notes taken during a live or real-time lecture or presentation. A follow-up book applies technique to other uses.

The benefit of visual note-taking (using illustrations, sketches, icons and doodles to enhance your written text) is two-fold: it engages both halves of the brain and it forces you to focus on the most important ideas.

Rohde offers tips for how to improve your listening skills and get down information, some of which were useful to me (for example, you can jot down the first few letters as a reminder, then go back and fill in the words). He also offers suggestions for where you can focus your visual attention, such as lettering, bullets, frames, connectors and people.

I started using the Sketchnote technique to keep a daily journal, and have been loving it. I can use the art techniques I have learned through my art work to make borders, frames and decorations to structure my daily journal page. I have enjoyed using quick little doodles to keep my food log, to track my productivity (I have been drawing a little gas meter picture and filling it to the top, or near it, depending on how productive I was) and to make little sketches of people I talk to, places I go and so on. I wanted to include photographs too, but I am hoping I can get my drawing skills improved enough through daily practice that I can make little sketches instead; already, the Beloved has noted that my printing and handwriting seems to be improving, and I have been experimenting with making fancy titles and other font experimentation.

The books are both a little on the pricey side, but the second one comes with video content as well; I have found the books to be a worthwhile purchase for me, and I am thrilled to at last have a practical use for the art skills I have been developing.

Previous articleSelf-publishing and DCMA abuse: Could you be a target?
Next articleLatest Android Developers Dashboards figures show Lollipop start to register
"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. Resonating on the review of The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde:
    A good test of comprehension (see Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in the Cognitive Domain, 1955) is casting one’s perceptions into a different form whilst remaining true to the essence of the fact, concept, principle or generalization being described. This marks the border between recall and comprehension.
    As a student in the time before personal computing, I would always recast my notes as soon as I could. Diagrams and text became more accurate and complete. Questions arose and that set the upcoming agenda to seek resolution. This exercise was most productive for me.
    Learners today have all that and much more. My old transformative note taking habits have found new venues in the digital age. One thing I like to do with topics that seem important to me is to create an eBook about that subject using Apple’s iBooks Author. Initially, at least, this eBook exercise is just for me. My diagrams can now be animated, my observations can take the form of still and moving images that I produce myself or find on the vast internet and use as-is or re-purpose.
    One’s sketch books can now be so much more.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail