I’m a visual learner. I like to draw things as I absorb information. I enjoy doing sketchnotes while I’m at a conference. See YOW! Sydney 2018, Australian Testing days and Agile Australia as examples of these sketch notes in practice. It helps keep me in the moment and focused on the talk material. It’s also a nice thing to hand to the speakers as they get off the stage. Here is my workshop material for learning sketch noting:
Table of Contents
Everyone can draw
You brain is a pattern recognition machine and will turn almost anything into something you recognise. Even your random squiggles can turn into birds. Try this squiggle birds exercise out as a warm up:
Mind mapping is a good way to start with visual thinking. You have your central idea in the centre of the page and all of your ideas related to that idea radiating out if it:
You can use a mindmap to brainstorm ideas like, “How do I test a username/password field?”. Michael Bolton has a this fabulous mindmap just for this problem:
you can do sketch noting without drawing. You can start with lettering and things like bullets, frames and connectors:
I use banners everywhere
Build up a library of icons
There are many common icons you’ll use. I often draw light bulbs, locks, poop emoji’s and tools (what does that say about the state of technology?).
Use colour to highlight ideas
It might feel like you are back in primary school colouring in borders but I love adding shadows and some colour highlights to my sketchnotes to really make them stand out/seem more 3D.
Practice your stick figures
people are often used to communicate abstract ideas. There’s lots of different styles out there and you will find your own.
Give it a go
The next time you are watching a lecture/presentation on youtube, try and take some sketch notes and let me know how you go.