Cate the Sketchnoter
Over the past year, I have been turned on to Skecthnoting, a graphic note-taking strategy that integrates image and text to create a record of learning and comprehension on a whole new level. I’m not an artist. I’ve never considered myself a particularly “good drawer” though I have long had an interest and desire to draw and create. I’ve tried my hand at pottery, pointillism, and even took a drawing class one summer. But I never found a place for my interest… until now.
Game Changer #1: iPad Pro and Apple Pencil
Finding the right-fit tools was my first step to really seeing a new direction for my creative voice. Not only does the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combination feel right in my hands, but it is virtually always with me. I have played in many creative apps, my favorites being Procreate and Adobe Sketch. I can easily integrate any color combination I want to, duplicate sketches to create a high-quality look and feel, and add layers to the canvas which increases my ability to trace (a trick that totally helps me feel more capable and confident).
My first traced photo in Adobe Sketch with multiple layers.
Game-Changer #2: Excellent models
When I attended the ISTE Conference in Denver, CO (June, 2016), I had the pleasure of meeting Sylvia Duckworth in an unconference meetup. We were gathered around sketching and listening to another attendee go over a shortened version of her session on EQ and creativity. I snuck up to Sylvia after and had a solid fan-girl moment. I told her I was beginning my journey into Sketchnoting and asked her for tips or strategies. The best advice she gave me (summarized) was: “Think simply,” and “Don’t try to do something perfectly. It’s better to just capture the idea than to draw the perfect picture.”
“Think simply,” and “Don’t try to do something perfectly. It’s better to just capture the idea than to draw the perfect picture.”
“Don’t try to do something perfectly. It’s better to just capture the idea than to draw the perfect picture.”
Yes! I could do that! I quickly found the Sketchnote Army, a sketchnoting community on Twitter and some other amazing models and sharers. (Mike Rohde… nicest guy ever!) Sylvia has continued to be an inspiration and resource. Lucky me!
My fan-girl moment with Sylvia, plus her “quick sketch” of me (to make her point that perfection is not the goal).
Game-Changer #3: Attitude shift and developing my own style
Once I accepted that I didn’t need to perfect my sketches and I also uncovered some great tips in Mike Rohde’s book, The Sketchnote Handbook, I just dove in head first. I took my iPad to sessions I attended at various conferences and meetings. I didn’t know if I was doing it right, but I was engaging a different part of my brain, and it felt important. I started connecting to my professional learning differently and I developed an incredibly deep relationship to the presenters and the content. I also went back to look at my sketchnotes often. I started to like my work, and I wasn’t afraid to feel that way.
In the end, we are all on individual journeys. There is no right or wrong way to grow, but we all must indeed GROW. I am so grateful to have uncovered a new place to put my passions.