Recap: Sketchnotes Workshop with Mike Rohde

Saturday, I attended an all-day workshop with Mike Rohde, author of The Sketchnote Handbook. The workshop had been organized by the Kansas City Coffee & Design group and held at the Sprint Accelerator space. I didn’t actually count the number of attendees but there was probably about 40 people in attendance, some who had traveled from as far away as Omaha to attend the workshop.

Sketchontes & tools
I did my sketchnotes in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook with a Magic rainbow pencil, Sai Watercolor markers and a Sharpie pen.

If you’re not familiar with Mike Rohde and his sketchnote revolution, I’ll try to distill it down but your best option would be to visit his web site or the Sketchnote Army site or, of course, purchasing his books. The idea behind sketchnoting is that simple drawings, bold lettering, icons and symbols can help improve your note-taking and thereby improve your understanding and memory retention from a lecture, class, presentation or meeting.


During the workshop, Mike elaborated on the techniques included in the sketchnotes Handbook and we got to see him create his symbols, lettering and other techniques live.

As the workshop progressed, we learned that sketchnoting can also be used for documenting personal notes like travel, recipes and journaling. Mike’s teaching style is relaxed and approachable and made it easy for everyone to feel like they could accomplish sketchnoting.

Workin on the whiteboard

The attendees of the workshop came from a broad array of professions. I met designers, human resources specialists, educators, interior designers, and even a physician who works at a teaching hospital. Everyone was excited to take the knowledge they learned back to their colleagues, students and co-workers.

Sketchnotes notes by Sarah Taylor.

If you have a chance to attend one of Mike Rohde’s workshops or lectures, I highly recommend it.

If you already have The Sketchnote Handbook, I would recommend picking up a copy of the advanced techniques book, The Sketchnote Workbook. I got a chance to flip through the book at the workshop and have ordered a copy for myself. Its more techniques for sketchnoting and ideas and tips for bringing sketchnoting into all your written work. Peachpit Press has a 35% off coupon code right now too — POP35 so you can get a great deal on some great books!

I did a short Periscope from the Sketchnotes Workshop that a few people caught. If I get a rally in the comments, I might be persuaded to repost it on YouTube.

Sketchonotes Workshop Giveaway

Oh, one last thing… I have two extra notebooks and stickers from the event that I would like to give away to readers. I’ll even throw in the pens! The notebooks were generously provided by my favorite local art supply store Artist & Craftsman and were produced by Shizen Design, a local KC paper company. Leave a comment below to be entered.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Thursday, September 3, 2015. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Friday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. US residents only please.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures in sketch noting with us, Ana! This is all new to me, but I am definitely going to try it. Thanks too for the giveaway!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I like the encouragement that this is not for artists only — anyone can sketchnote.

  3. I am in UK, so am unlikely to meet Mike, but I have his two books. I am retired but read and sketchnote. I also sketchnote TV history and archaeological programmes. I also attend lectures at our local museum, which I also sketchnote. I am so grateful to Mike that he spread the word about this valuable tool. I hope you do post your Periscope to YouTube.

  4. Have read both Mike’s books and use sketch notes in my presentation planning and most especially in the course work for my Master’s degree-and it has already saved my rear. I hope he comes to Florida soon.

    1. My Periscope is @wellapptdesk. If you follow me on Twitter (also @wellapptdesk). I should come up on your Periscope list as “people you might want to follow”.

  5. I really appreciate your bringing sketch noting to the attention of your readers. I have seen it done at workshops I have attended, and thought it completely out of my reach. But reading about it in your blog posts about Mike’s workshop and books makes it seem more accessible. So thank you.

  6. What a great idea! I have some journals that I’d like to try doing sketchnotes in! I’ll have to read more about it. Thanks for the review!

  7. I saw your Taco on Instagram! I’ve been wanting to sketch my meals more as part of journaling, but my drawing needs practice! Sounds like a great workshop.

  8. Sounds very interesting – I will be looking at the books soon. Did he speak to the negative self talk that starts in your head about not being able to draw and how to break out of that mode?

    1. Ann, he talked about sketchnotes as IDEAS not ART. The goal is to help you remember and process information. To that end, a circle with two triangles on top will look just as much like a cat to you as a perfectly rendered drawing of a cat, right? He goes into more detail in the lecture and in his books about it.

      He was also just confidence-inspiring. I don’t think a single person felt like they couldn’t draw a box, line, circle or triangle and everything could be built from those elements.

  9. Sounds like something I need to try. But I still don’t have much confidence in my sketching abilities. I should try it out though.

  10. The topic of sketch noting has popped up a couple of times in the last few weeks. Once when a graphic designer friend was telling me about it and secondly with you. It definitely seems like I need to check it out more fully and the notebook and stickers will be a big help when I do.

  11. I would love to sketchnote but I feel like you would need more time to create your notes and my lecturers always talk too fast!
    (Thanks for the giveaway!)

  12. Looks like it was a really fun workshop. I’ll have to see if any of these are ever going to be in my part of the world.

    Question though. How talented do you need to be from a drawing/graphic art perspective to do this?

  13. I think that sketchnoting would really help me remember some of the details during meetings I am a list maker and this seems like a different way to listen and learn. Thanks so much for a sharing this information.

  14. This has inspired me to give sketchnotes a try! Thanks for sharing, and for the giveaway chance too!

  15. I saw the periscope notification but wasn’t in a place I could watch so I didn’t catch it. I’d love to have it available on YT!

    And I’d love a sticker and sketchbook! Thank you for offering to give them away!

    I’m definitely checking out the books, too, I’d love to add to my journalling/notes.

  16. Did you use the watercolors while taking notes or later? I’m fascinated. And thanks for the guilt-free mee notebook opportunity.

  17. The concept seems pretty cool and I’d love to give it a try, whther or not I get picked for the notebook. My sketches always get too involved and then try to turn into art. bad art at that so it’s going to take some work.

  18. Cool idea. Hard for me to imagine myself utilizing the Sketchnotes concept, but I’m going to check out the website anyway. Thanks for the great write-up!

  19. I’ve seen you on LWA’s YouTube channel, you certainly have the knack for videos. You were engaging and entertaining. I’d love to see the periscope video… and to win the notebook/stickers/pen of course.

  20. Wow! That looks awesome….I’d never heard of sketch noting but I’m off to check out the links now. 🙂

  21. What a great idea! Watching the first episode of the podcast convinced me that I would do that. Would love to give it a try!

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