Take the sketchnotes challenge and get expert feedback on your note taking

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I like taking visual notes (as you might have noticed). I use them to remember and visually summarize all kinds of things: from conference talks to meetings, from books I read to things I need to do.

Over the last few years sketchnoting (and visual thinking in general) has gained a lot of fans and many people have started practicing the skill of taking notes in a more visual way. Learning a new skill and knowing what to practice can be quite difficult when you are just starting out. And even when you have years of experience, there are still things to improve.

This is why I decided to put on a little challenge for us as a community to learn from each other and sharpen your visual notetaking skills by sketching the same talk. I also brought together a panel of experienced visual thinkers to give you direct feedback on your note taking.

How it works

Everybody sketches the same 30 minute talk, sends in a picture or scan. I will gather all entries and put them up on the blog (update: the first entries are in!) so we can all compare and learn from each other's work. On top of that, the panel of experts will give feedback for each entry. Find all details on how to participate at the bottom of this page.

What’s in it for you

You have the opportunity to get your work seen and evaluated by a fantastic panel of experienced visual note takers. Each of them will look at your work and give you 2 pieces of feedback: 

  1. One thing they like about your sketchnote. 
  2. One thing they suggest you work on.

If you want to improve your visual notetaking, this is a fantastic way of getting constructive criticism and insight in what to focus on when practicing.

You’ll also have the opportunity to see how other people interprete the same material and learn from their approach to sketching the same talk as you. The more people participate, the richer and more varied the picture will be, so spread the word to as many other visual notetakers as possible.

The panel of feedback givers

I’m lucky to have gathered some of the finest sketchers and doodler’s around to offer feedback on your notes:

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Sunni Brown

Co-author of Gamestorming and leader of The Doodle Revolution. On a mission to get words and pictures back together.
@sunnibrown

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Craighton Berman

Designer, creative director, illustrator, and idea-shaper.
@craightonberman

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Brandy Agerbeck

Artist + graphic facilitator. I draw + think for a living. 
@loosetooth

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Mike Rohde

Designer. Author of the Sketchnote Handbook. Illustrator of REWORK, The $100 Startup and Little Book of Talent. Husband, father of 3. Coffee!
@rohdesign

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Matthew Magain

Designer. Illustrator. Entrepreneur. Co-founder of @uxmastery. Director of @useractive. Creator of @cweatherburn.
@mattymcg

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Eva-Lotta Lamm

(that’s me)
A friendly person with a soft spot for design, bears, improvisation and s
ketchnotes.
@evalottchen

The added bonus

You can also win a little something.
Besides giving feedback, the panel will also choose their favourite 3 sketchnotes out of all entries. 

The prizes

A printed copy of Brandy's excellent 'The Graphic Facilitator's Guide' (Thanks, Brandy) + a digital version of 'Sketchnotes 2012'

A printed copy of Mike's 'The Sketchnote Handbook' (Thanks, Mike)+ a digital version of 'Sketchnotes 2012'

The criteria for choosing the winners are

  • Summarising and capturing of key points
  • Structure & visual hierarchy
  • Use of images and visual metaphors
  • Overall style

How to participate

  1. Get you pen(s) and paper ready
  2. Go to this page:
    Kevin Slavin: Those algorithms that govern our lives at Lift 2012
  3. Start the video and sketchnote the talk. The video is 30 minutes long.
  4. Take a picture of your sketch or scan it (a resolution of 150dpi is fine as it’s only for viewing on screen and not for printing)
  5. Take a minute to reflect on the sketchnote you did and give yourself two little pieces of feedback:
    a) What do you like about your sketchnote / what works well?
    b) What would you like to improve?
  6. Email your sketch to evalotta@evalotta.net with 'Sketchnote feedback' as the subject. Also include your own feedback (see point 5), your name and location (city and country) in the email.

Entries must be sent before 12pm PDT on the 17th of March 2013.

By sending in your entry, you are ok with me publishing your sketchnote and the feedback on this site.
For winners to be chosen, there need to be at least 10 entries. So spread the word to your sketching friends ;)
We will also announce the overall prize winner as well as the two runner-ups here. I'll announce on twitter when the result are out. You can follow me at @evalottchen is you don't want to miss it.

One thing before you start...

This whole thing is about live visual notetaking. It is about practicing to summarise and visualise key facts of a talk or discussion in real time.

We are not looking for the best, most polished illustration of the talk. We encourage you to approach sketchnoting this talk the same is if you were sitting live in the audience: Spend the duration of the talk to make your  notes. Don’t watch it several times to create a perfect summary. Don’t spend hours re-drawing your notes.

Just sketch what you can capture in real time. It’s about practicing to handle these here-and-now situations and getting better at summarising and synthesizing as you listen.

Happy sketching!

UPDATE:

You can no longer enter the challenge, but have a look at all the fantastic entries:

The initial challenge
Entries Part 1
Entries Part 2
Entries Part 3
Entries Part 4
The expert feedback (coming soon)


Want to learn sketching hands-on?

See where Eva-Lotta is teaching and speaking next:
Upcoming Talks and Workshops