Saturday, 30 July 2016

Purposeful Doodling: The Art of Sketchnoting

What is it?

Sketchnoting is a way of recording information using images, diagrams, connectors and text.  An amazing sketchnoter to look at is Sylvia Duckworth. There are three important components of sketchnoting: text, images and structure. When using text, it is important to consider the hierarchy of your ideas and highlight the most important aspects.  This can be done through using a different font, size or boldness. It is said that pictures are worth a thousand words, and this is definitely believed by sketchnotes.  You can use images and symbols to visualise important and complex ideas. Lastly,  to help make the structure clear you should use containers and arrows.  These help organise the flow of your sketchnote. If you want to learn more, Dorothy's post about sketchnoting is where you need to go.

Why sketchnote?

Instead of me writing about the benefits, have a look at this sketchnote!
Photo by Tanmay Vora

Having a go at creating a sketchnote

Sylvia Duckworth's presentation helped me a lot when creating my sketchnote.  This presentation could also be adapted and used to help your students begin to sketchnote.

I found it fun but also infuriating at the same time.  As someone who thinks creatively but does not have nice handwriting or drawing skills, I found it hard to transfer my ideas onto paper.  Another challenge was figuring out where to start drawing/writing, as I wanted to space out my text and images evenly.  Sketchnoting takes a lot of time, but I found that as I was doing it, my understanding of what I was sketchnoting was reinforced.  I had to think carefully about how I could summarise and synthesize what I wanted to say, which helped my understanding and memory.

This is the third of my attempts at sketchnoting my thoughts on why learners should share their learning online:

My advice... 

Do a rough pencil sketch to map out the structure of your ideas (size and style of font, words/phrases, symbols etc) and then do your sketchnote free hand.  Using pencil is too tempting to erase your work, and you could also leave smudges and holes in your paper. 

Using sketchnotes in the classroom

I can see the benefits of sketchnoting, although it would need to be taught in some detail before trying to use it in the classroom.  You could use sketchnoting in reading as a way to summarize the story, or write character profiles.  You could use it as a way to show your understanding of a concept in social studies, or a strategy in mathematics.   Another way you could use sketchnotes is for your wall displays.  You could create sketchnote information posters, class treaties, class rules and quotes... the possibilities are endless.  


  1. Kia ora Chelsea

    I am on a bit of a sketch-noting journey this year too. I am really looking forward to meeting Sylvia when she comes to Auckland in March and learning with her

    Thank you for sharing where you are up to.

    1. Hi Allanah,

      Wow I didn't realise that she was coming to Auckland! It would be a great workshop to attend, her sketchnotes are very iconic.

      Thanks for your comment :)


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