I share almost every sketch I create now. It’s a part of a bigger process of working in public and teaching everything I know, two core values of the modern creative.
But it has fundamentally changed a part of my mind that judges how I sketchnote. Because I’m not only sketching for myself, I’m sketching for you too. I want you to see the process, how sketchnotes are made, and the building blocks of developing a practice of your own.
Eyeballs change your mindset
The difference in sketching for only myself or sketching in whole or partly for others is a shift. If I’m sketching for others, and especially if I’m creating a sketchnote for someone who’s paying me money, it’s vastly different. The process takes more time, more revisions, more tossed concepts, and more rejections. It’s a project, and since I’m shipping, there’s a bit of fear over who is going to like it, resonate with it, all the normal feelings of the resistance and the lizard brain.
Even for this short essay and the sketches in it, I wiped several versions before getting these the way I wanted. This is a development 5 years in the making though, but for many of you it starts after 5 seconds.
“This sucks, I’m not artistic” ::goes back to written notes:: <– Sound familiar? You’re feeling this way because you think of posting it to Facebook and being embarrassed.
You don’t have to share
If you’re just starting to create sketchnotes, and you feel hesitant or nervous about starting, it’s probably because you feel pressured to share them with others. After all, doesn’t everyone share everything now?
For something new and personally creative, you don’t have to share!
That’s right. When you start, the only person you should be concerned with is yourself. What ideas and concepts are jumping out to you? What’s a simple sketch that will capture this idea and help YOU remember it later?
After all, these are your (sketch)notes for the conference/meeting/lesson/webinar/whatever you’re learning from! The sketchnotes should be memorable to you.
Keep it damn simple
This is a bigger lesson from the Sketchnote Starter course, but here’s the gist. Keep your sketches simple at the beginning. Sketching a stick figure vs. a fully drawn man or woman is still communicating the same idea in your mind.
In fact, a great visual library to pull from early on is to use different emoji faces to communicate emotion in your stick figures. We do it every day in texts!
It starts with you
I know sketchnotes are a great way to help you remember more of the important ideas throughout life. Most people fail to create them not because they aren’t visual learners (many of us are), but because we think it’s expected for us to share our sketchnotes online, and we don’t do that because we think they suck. At the beginning, they probably do.
And that’s 100% ok.
Don’t sketchnote for other people. Create sketchnotes for yourself.
p.s. I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past week because I’m attending the World Domination Summit tomorrow, and people are asking me about sketchnotes. This is the main fear and mental hurdle to clear, of thinking that right away your work has to be good enough to post and get lots of shares. It doesn’t need to be at all!