How to Sketchnote in Everyday Life!

What is sketch-noting?

Sketchnoting, also commonly referred to as visual notetaking, is the creative and graphic process through which an individual can record their thoughts with the use of illustrationssymbolsstructures, and texts (1). 

Why bother?

If you ever got in-trouble for doodling in the classroom (first of all, shame on the teacher, it should be encouraged!) then sketch noting is something you should certainly try. 

Imagine yourself in a meeting at work. Your boss trying to explain how you are going to tackle the next quarter, while your trying to stay awake by doodling circles on your page. Or perhaps you are that one notetaker writing down everything word-for-word. Neither are truly effective when it comes to a deeper understanding as to what is being said. Sketchnoting taps into that right side of your brain that is creative, strives to be thinking and wants to work with your hands to make something. That left side wants to bring logic, reasoning and comprehension as to what is going on. When you can bring the two together, you are unlocking the full power of your brain. 

Sketchnoting isn’t about being the world’s greatest illustrator, lets make that clear. If you check the #sketchnoting hashtag on instagram, there are a lot of people who are pretty amazing but don’t let that be your focus. You want to start by actively listening to what is being said. With the left side of your brain, separate the fluff in the conversation from the true core meaning of what is being said. Once you’ve got that wonderful nugget of information, pass it over to the right side of the brain to play with some visuals. 

Listen, Think, Draw. These 3 steps will help you distill information. Word for word note-taking takes up way too much time. But if you let yourself listen first, take what you need from the words, you will have the time do quickly doodle out concepts. Scribbles work, just get that pen moving. 

Perhaps the boss says “We need to increase our sales by 15% this month, and we need to do that together as a team. We need to support each other in order to reach our main goals.” Here’s an example of what a sketch note of that could look like:

You could have written that all out instead of draw, but you put a human emotion on a goal. This visual may stick in your brain after every sale you complete. Your recall of that meeting with your boss pouring the passion into the sale may feed your motivation. You never know what the power sketch noting can have until you realize it yourself.

So I highly recommend you give it a try on your next meeting, or doodling while watching a documentary in the evening.

What could I sketch-note?

  • Documentaries
  • Articles
  • Conversations
  • Keynote Speakers
  • Recipes
  • Travel logs
  • Complex concepts
  • Goals you want to reach (a journey)

If you ever have a question about sketch-noting or would like to learn more, please email me at!

(1) Erb, Veronica. “How to Start Sketchnoting”. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science & Technology39: 22–23 – via Academic Search Complete.

Graphic Recording in a Digital Space

Well, here we are in our homes trying to navigate this new world of working from home. Trying to balance eating healthy, meditation, teaching the kids, and bouncing from Zoom call to Zoom call. Tricky times, but I believe we are masters of adapting, just takes time and lots of experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t!

When it comes to digital graphic recording, that is exactly the industry and myself are doing. Adapting and experimenting. While I have the skills to record conversations with markers and paper, transferring them to an iPad and stylus have been a little bit of a learning curve. One that I welcome, as I love technology and how the sky is really the limit with what is possible.

Some benefits to recording digitally:

  • Can manipulate the board quickly if the conversation takes an interesting and unexpected turn!
  • Can add so many more colours and even coloured backgrounds to the piece (GREAT for your brand)!
  • Can be viewed by all sharing my screen on Zoom during the meeting.
  • The final piece is done minutes after your Zoom meeting is complete!
  • Certain drawings and concepts could be animated for your social media or website!

Three Reasons why should I graphically record your next meeting, conference or planning session:

  • Added value by deeper understanding of the meeting’s context: I come into your meeting as a complete outsider to the information you are likely discussing. I will approach the board with a non-bias lens, and distill the information I’m hearing down it’s core meaning. 
  • Adding a human element to this very digital world: While these are done with pixels, I am still using my hand and mind to create these pieces. This can be printed out and be hung on your desk at home to stay focused on the task at home!
  • Better retention of information: Most of us are very visual creatures, and having image-based notes makes it much easier for us to retain and interpret the concepts. 

Not every meeting is made for graphic recording, but we could design it so it could be. Does your meeting have an agenda, purpose, desired outcome and clear actionable items? The would provide you with the greatest results. Let’s have a chat to see how your next meeting could be graphically recorded!

Laura Hanek

Being Flexible

“Better to bend than break.”

I wanted to touch on the ability to be flexible in one’s life. Now that doesn’t just mean being able to go into a full lotus pose in your yoga class (which I cannot do - lets be real). I’m talking go with the flow, roll with the punches kind-of-thing in business.

Going through college, I was learning as much about myself as I was illustration. I was a hardcore planner, a list maker and always paying attention to my time management. It was the only way I could settle the stress of school and working at the same time. But as I continued to grow and learn, I noticed that if my plans were interrupted or altered in some way by a force I could not control, it would blow the top to my stress meter. I would go from a 5 to a 10 VERY quickly. Not the most ideal situation.

Since starting Swoop Media, I’m still the hardcore planner, list maker and I’ve always been, but I’ve had to learn this new skill of being flexible. Things in the freelance world are so unpredictable, but I’m learning to embrace it. Being flexible in my business has led me to working in the wee hours of the morning, take on a project that may take me out of my comfort zone and adjusting to a new client’s way of working together.

Things will happen, good or bad, and perhaps out of my control. I’ve just got to make sure I’m equipped with the right tools to tackle whatever comes my way. Sometimes a little bit of self-talk is all you need to get you through those stressful moments. 

One thing at a time.
Do the best you can.
You got this.

How do you cope with being flexible in your business? Let me know!

Laura Hanek

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