I hope you feel proud of yourself today. It’s awesome that you moved past the mental block of realizing that you can draw a little, and certainly enough for sketchnotes!
The next piece people struggle with is what to sketch when hearing information and taking it down. You may not have an internal library of visuals that you can pull from and get on paper.
This is the second challenge people ask me about. It goes like this.
Ok, I know I can draw. But WHAT do I draw?
Today we’re learning how to build that visual library.
What’s fascinating about sketchnotes and visual thinking is that we naturally do this, but putting it on paper can be scary. Remember, this is not about making the prettiest representation of the idea, but that the idea is given space and life in your sketches.
Here’s the easiest way to start. Listen to your favorite podcast, speaker, or TED talk, and simply sketch the words that come to you visually. Here’s an example:
- The “key” to…
- We are “searching” for…
- I “start” by…
- You “build” the…
- Our “journey” is…
When you see those 5 words, what images come to your mind?
Here’s another quick example. Yesterday I was having coffee with other sketchnote friends, Emily and Brad. We were sharing some of our work and getting ideas, and I saw something Brad had sketched. It was of his pastor’s recent sermon, where he had talked about living water.
When I heard this term, the first image I had in my head was of a glass of water with some kind of facial expression. Something to show life, like a smile or grin. Brad went a different direction, and had the infinity sign in/on the glass. What a great image!
The point is that each of you will develop your own visual library to draw from (pun intended). The practice prompts are a great way to build your library, along with what we talked about here.
That’s why I really like these short TED talks. When I was starting out, I was really worried about missing an important bit while sketching another! But if the talk is only a few minutes, then I can easily watch it 2-3 times and make sure everything is down. Click here to view all the TED talks under 6 minutes.
The more I practiced, the better my visual processing became, and I could get the ideas down without stressing out about missing something.
A great start is to listen to the content and only sketch the words that really jump out to you. Don’t worry about taking everything down, just the words and phrases that trigger a mental image. When you hear the phrase mind’s eye, what do you think of? Sketch it!
The more you do this, the faster you’ll process images and ideas going forward, and will feel comfortable getting them on paper.
Want more Sketchnotes?
Let me send you 5 quick lessons on creating your own sketchnotes.