It's Not Scribbling, It's Sketchnoting!

Posted on December 15, 2018

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Are you good at taking notes, but not so good at actually remembering what you’ve learned?

It might be worth giving sketchnoting a try. As the name suggests, this is a note taking technique that combines written notes and visual cues, in the form of sketches, rather than plain old words. And, whether you’re a natural born Picasso or don’t have a creative bone in your body, it’s something everyone can benefit from!

What is it?

To put it simply, sketchnoting, is a twist on traditional notetaking that involves blending written notes with visuals and sketches to retain information in a more creative way. Sketchnoting is actually a form of mnemonics, which are systems designed to help us remember things by connecting images with text. It might sound like doodling, but recording information visually can actually help us synthesise it in a way that writing can’t – significantly increasing our ability to remember what we’ve learned. Sketchnoting can be especially useful in subjects like history or art, where you need to retain facts about a particular person or place.

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Sketchnoting for education in the classroom and for students.

If you’d like to share the sketchnoting technique with your students, it’s a good idea to give it a try yourself first. It’s important to remember that there’s no right way to do it, and you’ll find that you develop your own unique sketchnoting style. Perhaps you’ll pick up a few tricks you can pass on to your students – whether it’s an easy-to-draw icon, a fun colour combo, or a simple shading technique. Once you’re ready to show them how it’s done, get set up with the right supplies: namely, plenty of paper and pens. We recommend using recycled or scrap paper, so students can use as much as they want, without worrying about making mistakes. Colour pens are also a must: STAEDTLER triplus® fineliners come in over 70 colours, making them perfect for adding a blast of colour and detail to your sketchnotes.


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What are the foundations of sketchnoting?

The best way to start your sketchnoting journey is to learn a few ‘corner stone’ techniques. Once you master these, you’ll find that sketchnoting becomes much easier, faster and more fun. A few of the most useful include:

  • Connectors: They are used to link different thoughts or objects (like in a ‘mind map’). They can be as simple as a basic line or as complex as a 3D arrow.

  • Bullets: Get your students to experiment with different ways to bullet point their ideas. Go wild... think dots, bubbles, hearts, stars or even lightning bolts.

  • Speech bubbles: These are ideal for recording quotes.

  • Frames: Sometimes called containers, these are shapes that section off different thoughts, ideas or quotes.

  • Shading: This is a great way to add dimension to notes. Explore different techniques like ‘cross-hatching’ (lines crisscrossing each other) which can make shading easier to do.

  • Colour: Encourage your students to introduce colour! In a page of blue and black pen, a burst of colour can be used to emphasise important information or to help organise and colour code different topics.


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