I 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.