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I saw a post from someone who had created a Sketchnote of one of Scott Hanselman’s talks.  It was the first time I had seen this as an defined process for note taking.  As I get older and technology moves faster I am finding that it is getting harder to keep up and remember everything I need to learn.  This approach looks like it could be part of the solution.  This post documents my findings as I start to use sketchnoting.

One of the things I noticed as I learned more about sketchnotes is that I have seen this approach used before in industry books.  Specifically the “Head First” series had the look and feel of a sketchnote.  It seems the authority on sketchnotes is Mike Rohde.  I took the time to go through his workbook and videos.  I wish I had started with his handbook.

Not being an artist by any stretch of the imagination I wasn’t sure how difficult learning this skill would be.  I’m always up for a challenge though and I am finding it fun to exercise my drawing skills.  One thing that I have found that makes it easier is to Bing other people’s drawings to get ideas.

As has been mentioned in a number of articles I perused it is difficult to take notes on a tablet.  Most of this has to do with the touch control available in most of the current generation of devices.  Of course your mileage will vary.  I have tried drawing with both my Surface Pro and HP Spectre 360 with varying success.  I think newer generations like the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book will do much better.

I took a look at Moleskines but I like having a bigger drawing surface.  I am finding that a 8 1/2 x 11 graph paper spiral note book is my sweet spot.  It makes getting your fonts right easier and better alignment.  The thinner the pens you are using for your fonts can also make things look better.  The biggest problem with some of these thin pens is that they tend to bleed ink making it harder to keep clean lines, but those are the trade-offs.

Overall I am enjoying the process and it is helping me remember more of what I am working on even if it is mostly just because I am writing more.  It takes more time, but the relaxation factor is also a benefit.  It also gives you an easy way to review what you have been learning which will re-enforce topics so I would say it indeed will help you keep up with technology if implemented regularly.  I would suggest that anyone give this a try and see if it fits your style.  Have fun.