Ink on Paper Scares Me

Sharing is good

Ink scares me. All mistakes are visible. If I share something with mistakes people will think less of me.

I’m coming to grips with my nervousness using a rule from Open Space as a mantra. “Whatever was supposed to happen did.” Accept that every mark made was supposed to happen. This doesn’t mean that you have to leave an incorrect arrow like you’re deciding to keep that bad tattoo. Much like the bad tattoo, you can make corrections. “Ink” simply means that there is only one path and that path is forward. Practice, experience, and developing a personal process to sketchnoting will reduce the number of your fatal errors in sketchnotes.

At a recent online Sketchnote Hangout talk, my friend Professor Michael Clayton (@ProfClayton) shared his process to sketchnoting a talk.

  1. Place the title, speaker’s name, and date
  2. Decide on a sketchnote style that matches the presenter’s speaking style. A great reference is “19 Sketchnote Styles Cheat Sheet” by Makayla Lewis.
  3. Listen for Visual metaphors and figure out a good way (for you) to cache those metahpors
  4. Pen in words and ideas, leaving ample space to add visuals later
  5. When there’s a boring part in the talk, pull from your cache and add visuals
  6. Finish off the sketchnote by adding containers and dividers

I sketchnoted in ink while he was talking. Note that the numbering on the sketchnote doesn’t match the numbering above. I made a mistake in the ink but that’s ok; I covered up my “bad tattoo” by renumbering.

What I was really doing during the talk was to work on tune my personal process to ink sketchnoting. On a separate piece of paper I took notes. Where I immediately saw a good visual metaphor I simple made a box, scribbled sketch/words to describe the metaphor, and moved on. During a quieter portion of his talk I began penning the text and adding containers.

Sketchnoting about capturing ideas; it’s about self-improvement, learning, and teaching. It’s not about perfection. Embrace your imperfections. They are perfect in their own way.

As an aside, I was doodling while Michael was talking and ended up with a vine growing up the side of the page. Also, each Sketchnote Hangout starts with a set of ten “10 Second Doodles”. Michael, as guest host, decided to go with a 20 Second Doodle. Thanks Michael, the extra ten seconds seemed like a lifetime!