What I learned from my first sketchnote

What is a sketchnote?

I have seen colorful, hand-drawn, text-and-doodles images floating around here and there on the internet.  They are so cute!  I’ve printed some and hung them in our makerspace.  Each time I thought, “whoever came up with that visual is so clever!”

It turns out, these are “sketchnotes” and sketchnoting is a thing. It’s a way of taking notes, but with images instead of all text. Now that I know of it, I see sketchnotes more and more. They seem to be everywhere! I decided to try it out myself.

InnovatorsMindsetCh9SketchnoteWhat I learned

I based this sketchnote on passages I had highlighted while reading chapter nine of The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. (A great book, by the way.  I highly recommend it to all educators.)  Once I finished the sketchnote, I definitely felt like I had a deeper understanding of the chapter contents.  Only time will tell, but I also feel I will retain the information better now that I’ve sketched it out visually. The process forced me to boil down information into meaningful, memorable snippets, which is a good skill I need to work on anyway.

This wasn’t news to me, but it also made me remember I write crooked and am no “artiste.”  I can’t believe I’m even putting this ridiculous looking thing out there for the world to see!  Maybe it will inspire others by showing them that sketchnoting doesn’t have to be great and if I can do it, surely ANYONE can, and do it far better.

Despite how imperfect it is, I am a perfectionist, which makes me not well-suited to this process by nature. I wound up re-doing my first draft because it was messy, plus I had done it in pencil at first because I was afraid of mistakes.  I’m pretty sure that’s against the spirit of sketchnoting. Sketchnotes should flow.  It should be like doodling – active doodling while listening.  And that’s another thing, I did mine based on reading, where I think this is typically used in the setting of a conference or lecture.

I will do it again.  I’m interested in exploring further, and definitely want to introduce it to students.  I think it could be an extraordinary learning tool for some kids.  Even though the process is probably meant for visual note taking during a lesson, I imagine sketchnoting would be great when preparing for a test.  Converting convential notes into sketchnotes would help drive home the information.

Learn more
The 30-second briefing: What is sketchnoting? by Sarah Wright
Sketchnoting 101: How to Create Awesome Visual Notes by Matthew Magain
Follow people who are actually good at this, like Sylvia Duckworth and Mike Rohde
If you’re interested in the content of my little sketchnote above, here’s a post about it.


I am trying to learn more.  Comment with examples of using sketchnotes in education, to correct me where I’m wrong, and support me where I’m right.  Thanks!





  1. Had a good comment from a colleague, who put the benefits of sketchnoting in words far better than I did: active doodling = internalizing the concepts (a means to own the concept, not rent the concept). I also can see this as a tool for students to demonstrate/ communicate their understanding – create a thinking map.


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