My Freelance Sketchnoting Process

After years of turning down freelance work in order to focus on building instructional materials for folks learning how to take visual notes, I recently re-entered the world of freelance sketchnoting.

And I’m glad that I did.

In the video above I share the full details.

Below you’ll find a quick rundown.

The Project

I worked with the online learning platform Mighty Networks to create a video about their approach to community design.

The video is called How to Use Community Design to Build a Successful Online Community.

The Backstory

About two years ago I moved over my online learning community to Mighty Networks because of the way they blend together courses and community.

In conjunction with that move I decided to revamp the community elements of Verbal to Visual, and to help me with that move I signed up for their Community Design program.

I thoroughly enjoyed that course, and shared my sketchnotes from it in a video called What I Learned About Community Design.

A few of my sketchnotes from Mighty Networks’ course on Community Design.

As it turned out, the folks at Mighty Networks kept hearing about that video from folks joining their platform, and they reached out to see if I’d be interested in making a video on community design for their YouTube channel.

Considering my interest in the subject matter and the recent workshop series Sketchnoting Side Hustle, there was just too much alignment, so I said yes.

The Process

During the Sketchnoting Side Hustle workshop series, I put together this one-page description of the video creation service I’m starting to offer again:

A one-page service description for folks interested in hiring me to make a sketchnote video.

For this project I decided to write the script first (following a rough outline that Mighty Networks sent over), and then work on the visuals.

For an overview of my video creation process, check out this video: Whiteboard Animation Workflow (in that video I share my approach when using analog materials, but it’s similar when using digital tools).

For the drafting and recording of the visuals I used the app Concepts, which I’ve explored in a handful of videos that you can watch here.

Here’s what the initial drafting looked like:

I gave myself lots of rectangles to fill with ideas for video frames.

Once the black and white version of the sketches were approved, I moved onto experimenting with color:

Adding background color takes more time than simply changing the color of written text, but I think it pays off.

We landed on the version that includes color backgrounds, since those visuals pop off the page a lot more than just colored text.

The help with the recording process, I numbered each element to remind myself of the order in which I wanted to draw and write things (to keep it tied well to the script).

Final step before recording: number the elements so I don’t forget the order in which to draw them.

To record the visuals, I connected my iPad Pro to my laptop and used the program OBS, which I’ve found to be more reliable and result in a higher-quality video compared to using the iPad’s built-in screen recorder.

I then edited together those sketches with the narration (which I recorded separately) using Adobe Premiere Pro.

If you’re interested in making hand-sketched videos and would like a deeper dive into these topics, then check out our course How to Make Sketchnote Videos.

The Impact

Now that the video is up, all that’s left to see is the impact that it has over time!

The goal is for it to provide stand-alone value for those interested in the topic of community design, while also letting folks get to know Mighty Networks and perhaps work with them in the future.

For my part, I enjoyed the process and look forward to taking on more video projects in the future.

To help with that, I reached out to my contact at Mighty Networks to ask for a testimonial, and she was kind enough to share these words:

“Doug created a custom video for us based on a course we run. He went deep into the material and his brief and script were so detailed I knew exactly what to expect every step of the way. We’re thrilled with the finished product and it’s gotten more views than our typical videos.” -Jane Stecyk, Mighty Networks

If you’re interested in working with me, feel free to reach out:

Start Your Own Sketchnoting Side Hustle

If you like the idea of using your own visual thinking skills to help others work through challenges and share important ideas, then check out our latest course Sketchnoting Side Hustle, where we’ll help you develop a service or product to earn an income with your skills.

Craft a side project in which you merge your interests with your sketchnoting skills to create work that will get you paid.

Throughout the course I’ll help you pick a side hustle that’s well-suited to your skills and interests, and then get it off the ground so that you can start earning some income on the side.

The four-session workshop version of that course is now available!

You can check out more details here.