Sketchnotes: Notetaking for Visual Learners (Finally)
Make doodling in your notes productive.Do you ever find yourself doodling in the margins of your notes? Do your notes feel empty if there are no diagrams? Do colorless notes make you sad? If so, we have good news for you!
You can make your doodles productive by incorporating them into the content of your notes. In fact, there is an entire note taking method dedicated to this fusion of words and drawings: sketchnotes.
Here at Rocketbook, we want to help you find an out of this world note taking method that works for you. That’s why we wanted to introduce you to a method called sketchnotes.
What are Sketchnotes?
Sketchnotes are a form of note-taking that combines both words and visuals such as drawings, shapes, and arrows. Combining both words and visual elements aids memory and retention. This combo helps the notetaker synthesize information better than they would with regular, text-only notes. Now you can tell your teacher (or your boss) that you have a valid reason to doodle in your notebook.
You might be thinking, “Sketchnotes are only for people who have artistic talent, right?”
Of course not! Sketchnotes are not about art or drawing perfect doodles. The point of sketchnotes is to organise the information on the page in the best way possible. Organising the notes and drawings in a way that makes sense to you will make it easier to review and understand your notes later.
Follow these tips to get started with sketchnoting with Rocketbook.
- Tip 1: Put an eye-catching headline at the top of your page.
- Tip 2: Write a main point or idea, then draw a box or border around it.
- Tip 3: Use colour for drawings, headings, and callout boxes.
Tip 1: Be Bold…with Headlines
Put an eye-catching headline at the top of your page.
Don’t be shy–make the headline of your notes as big and bold as possible (without taking up the entire page, of course). The way you organise information on the page is key to taking great sketchnotes. Creating a bold, clear headline that states the topic of the notes is a great first step.
Use block letters, borders, or colours to spice up your headline. As long as the headline is the first thing your eyes are drawn to when you look at the page, you’re doing it right. It is also important to pick words for the headline that accurately reflect what the page of notes is about.
Rocketbook Pro-Tip: Use Smart Titles! Add two hashtags at the start and end of the page title, and when you scan your notes, the app will magically add this as your file name!
Tip 2: Box Up Main Points
Write a main point or idea, then draw a box or border around it.
Call out the most important concepts in your notes with boxes, borders, or colours. This helps key information pop off the page, drawing your eye to that one thing you really need to remember. If you have a few separate but related concepts, draw an arrow or line to connect the two. If you keep this up with different notes, drawings, and concepts, you’ll be a sketchnotes pro.
Some fun ways to call out ideas might include: cloud borders, thought bubbles, or highlighting with a bright colour.
Rocketbook Tip: Create permanent templates! Once you find a sketchnotes format that you want to use again, draw the boxes, arrows, and other elements with a permanent marker. Finally, fill the rest of the page in using FriXion pens. That way, when you erase, your notes will disappear, but your templates will remain!
Tip 3: Blast Off with Colours
Use colour for drawings, headings, and callout boxes.
Save your prettiest coloured Pilot FriXion pens for drawings and callouts, and stick to regular black or blue ink for most of the words you write. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, though–if you want to go full technicolor, go for it.
Writing words in regular ink and saving the colour for headings and drawings helps create some contrast–and makes the main concepts stand out even more.
Rocketbook Tip: Get a package of colored Pilot Frixion pens! FriXion Color pens come in 12 colours.
Why Use Sketchnotes?
It’s better for your brain–who doesn’t want that?
Your brain can process and retain information in a sketchnotes format faster than typical line-by-line notes. Since this formal naturally draws connections between information on the page (pun intended), your brain can recall the information more quickly.
Another benefit is that there are no strict rules when it comes to sketchnoting, so you can make it your own. If you are really into doodling, you can incorporate as many doodles as you please into your notes. If you are more of a wordsmith, you can rely on words while bringing a few diagrams into your notes to help organise the information.
Experiment as you want with your sketchnotes by taking them in a Rocketbook notebook. If you mess up one of your drawings, or if it’s time to reset for the next notetaking session, just wipe down your page with water and start fresh. Happy sketchnoting!