SKETCH NOTES! How to and why

An aid to learning, creativity & mindfulness!


So what are sketch notes? Well, for me they’re a learning tool.

They’re also an opportunity for mindfulness and some peace and time to get away from the technology. I don’t know about you, but I can find the technology a bit draining. So it’s good to get away from it sometimes. That’s why I love analogue tools such as my notebooks, pens and pencils.

So how do you do this sketch notes thing? Well, I tell you how I do it. I just listen to a podcast or a YouTube video or something like that, and I’ve got a pad in front of me and some pens, and I just doodle, just draw.

It’s the words that leap out at me are the real meat of this. I’ll do some little pictures maybe to highlight certain things. You and I could listen to the same thing, be doing sketch notes on the same topic, and our sketch notes could be completely different, because it’s not so much about taking notes, as our unique take on what we’re listening to.

The image above is notes from podcast I listened to. It was Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO with Richard Hammond. I just use a black pen – I like the Uni-ball Air1 – and just let go and see what comes out.

I think what this is doing is feeding our creativity but we’re being creative at the same time.

The colouring bit is partly just for fun, but it’s also an opportunity to revisit these notes, to absorb this information more deeply. This is where the fun part helps because we learn better when we’re in a good mood.

These notes are from another Diary of a CEO podcast, this time with Simon Sinek. You’ll see here the pink – that’s coming through from the other side of the page which was a bit annoying so I’m going to use some thicker paper from now on.

But that means there’s a whole new world of art notebooks and pens to explore, which is actually quite exciting, to be honest.

These are some notes I made from Adam Buxton’s podcast.

Adam Buxton is a comedian in the UK. He does a really interesting podcast, and interviews loads of great people. I hadn’t got to the colouring stage at this point, just highlighting things in red.

“You can’t fatten the pig on market day!”

This is the whole spread. I think that’s something really interesting, and so much more engaging to look back on than digital notes. You can always scan these of course and stick them in an app somewhere if you want to. But I also think the slowness is part of it, especially the bit where your colouring these words in.

I think sketch notes are an important part of an creative endeavour or productivity practise, with mindfulness benefits too. Why not give them a try?

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Adam Buxton
Diary of a CEO

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