The 50/50 Rule Of Visual Note-Taking

Taking visual notes requires the combination of a number of skills: handwriting that’s legible and dynamic, drawing that’s recognizable, layout that’s clean, and the use of color that’s helpful.

Thankfully, even if you don’t yet possess all of those skills to the degree that you’d like, there’s another way to improve the notes that you take.

It’s that second, equally-important component of sketchnoting that I dig into in this episode of Verbal To Visual Video.

The 50/50 Rule Of Visual Note-Taking - Verbal To Visual Video Episode 14 - Doug Neill - sketchnoting, visual notes, doodling, skills, constraints, fears, results, process

There are plenty of fears and potential roadblocks that might keep you from giving visual note-taking a go or sticking with it after just one or two attempts.

Here are some of the things that I frequently hear:

The Roadblocks To Sketchnoting Confidence - verbal to visual - doug neill - visual note-taking, doodling, I can't draw fast enough good enough, room, layout, spacing

To alleviate those fears and help you step over or around those roadblocks, I give you The 50-50 Rule of Visual Note-Taking:

The 50/50 Rule Of Visual Note-Taking - verbal to visual doug neill - sketchnoting, doodling, skills, constraints, process

By developing your own visual note-taking process, you have the ability to leverage your current skills to the maximum extent possible.

All it takes is setting up a few constraints for yourself:

Visual Note-Taking Constraints - verbal to visual doug neill - sketchnoting, doodling, text, layout, image, color

The two major implications of The 50-50 Rule are the following:

The Implications Of The 50/50 Rule - verbal to visual doug neill - visual note-taking, sketchnoting, doodling, skills, constraints, process, apply, improve

So go outline a process that sounds good to you, apply that process in a real situation to see how well it works, and then improve that process based on what you learn.

Along the way you’ll be improving your skills as well.

The combined effect of stronger skills and a better process is a boost in your confidence and a jump in the overall effectiveness of your notes.

Put this rule to the test and let me know what you find out.

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Want To Dig Deeper?

If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.

If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos.

And if you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom.