Thursday, October 14, 2021

How To Sketchnote Like The Pros

This month we are showcasing Microsoft MVPs from around the world who have explored new ways of engaging their audiences – specifically by using social media and their creativity. 


The sketchnoting community is composed of professionals from around the world who utilize different software applications to visually demonstrate their knowledge with pictographic descriptions and flowchart explanations.


Sketchnoting is used to construct visual representations of abstract ideas, and there are many ways to go about it. 


Although they are separated by more than 10,000 miles, MVPs Luise Freese of Germany and Rebecca Jackson of Australia share a connection thanks to their love of sketchnoting.


Luise was happy to provide an answer to our inquiries with a visual example of how she utilizes the sketchnoting software sketchpad to organize her thoughts, the flow of her arguments, and bolster the strength of the points she wants to make. Check it out below!





If you’d like to know more about how to communicate ideas by sketchnoting, Luise provides some interesting insight into how MVPs can set up visual vocabulary. Here are her tips:


  • It doesn't need to be pretty to be understandable.
  • Look at emojis; try to re-draw them.
  • Look at this project from Noun Project: Free Icons & Stock Photos for Everything ( to get inspiration.
  • “Draw, draw, draw - don't stop. It’s not about art, it's about communication. The fact that your drawing looks like the ones you did as a 7-year-old might be because you stopped developing your drawing skills at that age when your teacher told you it was ‘not good enough.’” 


You can learn more about Luise’s journey and read up on some interesting tricks and tips every week at her blog, M365Princess, or her Twitter feed!


Meanwhile, Rebecca also provided insight as to how MVPs can communicate more effectively using memetic forms of communication.


“To start a habit or improve anything you need to practice and sketchnoting is the same. I have notebooks full of experiments with different handwriting and font styles, common images and icons to build visual vocabulary and I still will use videos or podcasts to do a little sketchnoting practice,” she says.


For ‘techies who want to learn how to draw,’ Rebecca offers words of encouragement:


“You CAN draw: Drawing is a skill and a perfect illustration is not necessary to convey an idea or embed a concept in memory. There are heaps of online resources to help prompt you on how to draw basic objects and concepts to include in your own notes,” she says.


What’s the trick to making an illustration really stand out and convey a message? 


“Less is more,” says Rebecca, “I used to get caught up in the idea of capturing everything, but that is not what it is about. It’s a visual summary. A representation of what you think the key messages are. Focus on what you think is useful and important and you will get the most value.”


Rebecca has a blog post that covers a very high-level guide to getting started on sketchnote for those who are interested: Get visual and start sketchnoting – Rebecca Jackson

If you’d like more insight, check out Rebecca’s Bits and Bytes sketchnote slide deck on Flickr.

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