Don’t try to capture everything.
Instead, go for the salient points,
interesting quotes, and other items
that jump out. You’ll be surprised by
the depth of your sketchnote.
Use the Q&A time to verify and
finish up. Fill in the gaps—if you are
unsure about something, ask the
speaker a question—complete areas
you may have missed, and color or
shade your sketchnote. You may not
have time to come back to your notes
for a while, so it is better to finish
during the session. Let’s be honest,
sketchnotes are ultimately notes—
how often do you return to complete
Miriam Sturdee is a postdoctoral fellow in
sketching and visualization at the University of
Makayla Lewis is a research fellow at
Brunel University London.
Nicolai Marquardt is a senior lecturer
in physical computing at University College
also help to find a stiff board (or
other material) to lean on. You can
also work straight into your tablet
or touchscreen laptop, but it might
be best to start with simple pen and
About the use of colors. For now,
why not start with black and one
pastel or light color to emphasize
important points, and a gray marker
Practice icons you think you will use
regularly. For example, if you study
smart watches, a watch icon that you
can draw quickly and in different
orientations will be invaluable.
Likewise, generic terms such as “AI”
might be represented by a robot head
or a computer with a face.
Arrive early. It will give you time
to find a good seat, preferably near
the front. From up close you can
draw a quick portrait sketch of the
speaker(s), read all the slides without
squinting, and are less likely to be
disturbed by people coming and
going. While you wait for the talk to
begin, check the talk title, prepare
your page, and get all your pens in
Figure 2. Sketchnote of Brad A. Myers Lifetime Achievement Award presentation at CHI 2017.
common pitfalls that some of us
have encountered. Remember the
sketchnote mantra: ideas not art.
Nobody expects a beautiful drawing.
Instead, keep practicing creating
visual notes; you will see progress
and find a style that works for you.
Choose your tools wisely. We’ll
return to tools in a later blog post,
but for now, find a good pen that
flows well and is consistent, and
some paper or a sketchbook. It may
DOI: 10.1145/3281661 COPYRIGHT HELD BY AUTHORS