Top Five Tips For New Sketchnoters (VTV Episode #11) - Verbal To Visual - Doug Neill - visual note-taking, sketchnoting, doodling, materials, constraints, text, imagery, layout, color, intent, filter, ideas, action

Top Five Tips For New Sketchnoters

Depending on how comfortable you are with a pen in your hand, the prospect of sketching out ideas might be daunting to you.

I hope it’s less so after you watch the video above. In it I share my top five tips for new sketchnoters (that will likely help you out even if you’re not new to visual note-taking).

For a more in-depth skill-building experience, check out An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking – an online course that will help you to build and apply your skills to your personal and professional life in meaningful ways.

Top Five Tips For New Sketchnoters (VTV Episode #11) - Verbal To Visual - Doug Neill - visual note-taking, sketchnoting, doodling, materials, constraints, text, imagery, layout, color, intent, filter, ideas, action

Tip #1: Start With Affordable And Accessible Materials

Don’t worry about finding the perfect pen and the best notebook. Start with easy-to-find materials that won’t break the bank.

My favorites: 3×5 index cards, legal pads, Strathmore sketchbooks, and the Pentel Energel 0.7 pen.

Tip #2: Set Up Constraints

Don’t face the blank page without a plan.

Decide up front what styles of text you’ll use, how you’ll lay out ideas on the page, how simple/detailed your images will be, and how (if at all) you’ll use color.

A little prep up front saves a lot of stress in the act.

Tip #3: Use Intent As A Filter

What do you want to get out of this particular note-taking session?

By answering that question before it starts, it will be easier to know which ideas you can let fly by and which ones you really need to get down on the page.

Tip #4: Don’t Be Precious About How It Looks

This isn’t Visual Artistry 101. It’s Visual Ideas 101.

Don’t shoot for a pretty picture.

Shoot for useful ideas expressed in a helpful way.

Tip #5: Don’t Let The Image Be The End Of It

Okay, so you took some notes, posted a picture on Twitter, and got a few favorites (maybe even a retweet!).

All done, right?

WRONG.

It’s what you DO with the ideas that matter, so don’t let the image be the end of it.

Focus on that, and everything else will start to fall into place.

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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.