Hand-Sketched Slides for Presentations

I just wrapped up the first of three webinars that I’m hosting this summer for teachers who are weaving sketchnoting into their classroom, using it as an instructional tool but also teaching their students this skill.

I’d like to highlight how I shared ideas throughout that webinar, because I think you might find it worthwhile to try something similar the next time you have a presentation to give.

One Idea Per Card

The core idea here is to sketch out each idea that you’d like to share on a single index card. One simple visual plus a bit of text.

Welcoming participants to the webinar, and giving folks the chance to say hello and introduce themselves.

Even though I was presenting ideas in a digital way, I enjoyed having ideas sketched out on physical index cards.

That provided the flexibility, in any given moment, to pick up the card with the idea I wanted to explore next, hold it up to the camera, and chat about it.

Simple imagery and a clear title make it easy for you to pick which idea to bring in next.

An added benefit is how quick and easy it is to create these types of slides: you can do it just with a sharpie and some index cards.

If you mess one up, just toss it in the recycling and grab another.

The small size of index cards provides a helpful constraint to make sure your slides don’t get too text-heavy.

What I find to be helpful about index cards in particular is the size constraint.

You can’t fit a ton of text or imagery on any individual card, so that helps you steer clear of slides that are too text-heavy and that aren’t actually that helpful.

Even simple diagrams can help anchor impactful ideas.

So the next time that you have a presentation to give, consider doing it with sketched slides on simple index cards.

You might enjoy the prep process (and the presentation process itself) a lot more that way.

Dig Deeper

Are you a teacher interested in helping your students develop their own sketchnoting skills? I built a resource kit to help with that, called Sketchnoting in the Classroom:

Add sketchnoting to your toolkit as an instructor, and help your students develop their own visual thinking skills!


If you work outside of the education setting but still want to build your visual thinking skills and apply those skills to your personal and professional life, you might enjoy An Introduction to Visual Note-Taking:

Reconnect to making marks by hand as you learn to use text, layout, imagery, and color to engage your visual brain.

You can also check out full course library here.

Good luck making your next presentation a bit more visual!