Tim Gittos

I'm an Australian currently living in Austin, TX in the USA.

I currently earn a living programming, though I wouldn't call myself a programmer. If I had to attach a label to myself, I'd use the term autodidact.

I love learning, and my favorite things to learn about are programming, computer graphics, AI & machine learning, robotics, painting and creativity.

Book Notes: The Sketchnote Handbook

Last updated on 24 Feb 2013

Amazon: The Sketchnote Handbook (referral link – help me buy new books!)
ISBN: 0321885112
Read: 2013-02-22

Sketchnotes are a great way to visually record the analysis of a presentation. They are beautiful in and of themselves, but their real magic is in encoding a personal interpretation of presented material. This book goes into how to create them and gives tips. It also comes with a 70 minute video, which is similar in content to the book, however the live sketchnoting video is illuminating.


Should I sketchnote about The Sketchnote Handbook? How meta do I want to go?

Sketchnoting is enhanced note taking. It focuses on capturing the big ideas behind a presentation. It helps retention by getting the mind and the body to act together. It also infuses notes with personality, making them easier to read.

The Theory

Sketchnoting is about drawing ideas, not artwork.

The Dual Coding theory, formulated in 1970 by Allan Paivo, states that the brain processes information using 2 channels:

  1. Verbal
  2. Visual

When both channels are used at the same time, the brain creates mental cross references.

Creating Sketchnotes

When creating sketchnotes, the key is to listen actively. Try to spot patterns in the presentation and cache ideas as you draw, so that you can add them when you have time.

It helps to research the presentation and presenter before hand.
Sketch the title and determine layout before the presentation starts.

A good structure is the core of a sketchnote. Consider the structure is meat and potatoes – art would then be the gravy.



  • Typography
  • Diagrams
  • Bullets
  • Drawing
  • Dividers
  • Icons
  • Handwriting
  • Arrows
  • Containers

Remember to build hierarchy and personality into sketchnotes.