Entries from the Sketchnotes Challenge – Part 3

Here are the next 10 entries:

Melinda Walker from San Francisco, USA

Melinda writes about her sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I like the lettering at the top for Kevin Slavin because it's big and bold without being to heavy. I also like the way the double wavy lines at the top are echoed at the bottom because that really grounds and unifies the page. I also like the way the words "stealth" and "stories" stand out because those were two key points in the talk. On the more personal side, I like that I did this 100% real time without pausing or repeating any of it and, although it's not my best work or something I would ordinarily post online, that I'm showing it to a bunch of people anyways! 

What would you like to improve?

I wish I had not written the word "cities" in a big sharpie because the letters blur together and are hard to read. I feel the page is a bit cluttered, so wish I had started out writing a little smaller so there'd be more white space. I feel the bold box in the middle with the words "done with algorithms" stands out in a weird way. It would be better if the outline and arrow weren't so bold and maybe the words inside a little bolder, maybe a long and skinny rectangle instead so the words all fit on one line instead of two. I wish I'd warmed up first, so this was a great reminder to do so from now on!

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
Love the density and type-play—bold contrast is great

What could be improved?
I would work to create more of a hierarchy between ideas

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Confidence in handwriting and lettering and imagery - very bold. 

What could be improved?
Curious how you cold use color to create layers of focus. This feels like everything is on one crowded plane.

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Love the bold feel of this sketchnote, that you aren't afraid to put some ink on the page. 

What could be improved?
Sketchnote feels a little tight for space near the bottom, maybe the scale of elements could be smaller, with a little more descriptive text added, and some more white space.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Like the mix of line thickness and the variance in bold, decorative typefaces

What could be improved?
Following the flow of the talk is a little tricky, but sometimes that's half the fun, right? :-) Maybe leave a little more whitespace next time, and throw in some grey shading for depth.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I love your bold play with lettering and how the piece feels whole and complete. You also captured the key points nicely. With the use of arrows, you are making the right connections to tell the whole story of the talk. 

What could be improved?

You have great use of contrast in your sketchnote that guides attention to the bold elements on the page. Try choosing these bold elements to really by the key points. I'd also try to make the connecting elements (like arrows) a bit lighter in weight to make to content stand out more.

Otts Bolisay from Seattle, USA

Otts writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I like the octopus as metaphor for how algorithms have all these arms and are vaguely unsettling. Although, maybe a spider would've been more creepy to a wider range of people. As he started rattling off all of the different algorithms in our lives, I started panicking that I wouldn't be able to capture them all. The octopus was a way of short handing a large quantity of something emanating from the same body. So even if I missed an example of an algorithm, the reader can fill in that there are other arms floating around out there. In the end, I was able to remember examples to name all of the arms.

I like the whimsy of people having fun in a black pool: snorkeling, cannonball-ing, trying to figure out the plural of "octopus." Also, the headline "Octo Luv" and the French farmer.

Listening cities and a city on a microchip are very visual concepts, so I naturally went to them. In the end, the Real Estate arm of the octopus kinda fits thematically with the city on a microchip, and hiding big shares with the Stocks arm, so it worked out mostly!

What would you like to improve?

I tend to draw too small. The sign on the pool is supposed to be a "No Octopus" sign. But it came out looking more like a smudge.

Perspective: the kidney shaped pool looks too two-dimensional.

Hierarchy and filling the page well. I don't usually take up two pages, just one. This was my first time actually doing a sketchnote across two pages like this. If anything, the octopus was more a way to fill up the middle when I started drawing it.

Lettering: the block fonts can get messy when going fast. I'm thinking of "TASTE" on the arm that has wine.

Certain segments don't really fit in the final piece: NY city on a microchip, even the city getting bombed.

Listening: related to above point, it was hard to tell at first where he was going, so I started drawing things that stuck out to me (verbal to visual).

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
High visual impact with the large octopus

What could be improved?
But why an octopus? Feels a bit more on the doodle side, than on the information side.

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Even though the speaker never talked about octopuses, I like how that central figure ties it all together and should the scary reach of algorithms. 

What could be improved?
You could try faster lettering y using pens of different thicknesses. Instead od taking the time for block letters, write with a pen with a thicker, bolder nib.

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Love the octopus in the center of the page and the title area clearly indicated here. 

What could be improved?
Page feels sparse in places (top) could use more descriptive text in a few places to fill in details.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Like the non-linear layout, and the various illustrations

What could be improved?
The connection between the octopus and the subject matter was a stretch for me. I'd consider including some more quotes and key phrases rather than just images.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
Nice use of visual icons and little stories in your illustrations (like the one with the grapes).

What could be improved?
Although a nice metaphor for how algorithms 'reach' into every part of our lives, I feel that the octopus is dominating the whole piece too much. I'd tone back such connecting structures to give more room to the actual content. Use the space you gain to play with the size of your writing. 

Veronica Erb, USA

Veronica writes about her sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I stuck with it, and went with my gut. It seems that's all you can do in a talk that's more rambly-(interesting)-story and less nicely-structured-and-clearly-foreshadowed-talk. I'm also pleased with some of the illustrations—the grapes and peas were especially fun to draw.

What would you like to improve?

Ugh! I let myself get tricked when he said, "three things," and I went ahead and numbered the first thing, "opacity," and then he didn't clearly return to thing 2 and thing 3. But, in the spirit of keeping things real, I left it in. (Let it stand as a warning to fellow sketchnoters!) And on the upside, I guess we can add a bonus to my answer for the first question—I liked that I kept it real.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
Love the iconic chunking of the page. Love the loose linework

What could be improved?
I feel like I lose a lot of the detail with the simplification

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Each piece is confidently rendered. Your style of writing text and distilling language is strong.

What could be improved?
The hatchmarks that extend outside of the lins is hard to read and feels oppressive. Would like to see you swap hatchmarks for a color to color in (or hatchmark in a lighter color).

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Good feel for a story on this sketchnote, I can read through and get a quick gist of the talk, visually and verbally.

What could be improved?
Interesting idea to have the title below - however the left side feels empty and a little sparse with lot of focus on the credit line. Maybe the title could have used more of the left side and the credit the right.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Great caricature of the speaker, and nice, strong concepts captured with confidence

What could be improved?
I'd try and work some different typefaces into your sketching, other than the one big, chunky one used in headings. A grey marker would add depth and shade that is more subtle than the hatching effect you use.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I like the sketch of the peas and grapes. I has a lovely dynamic line quality to it and shows your confidence when sketching. 

What could be improved?

The title of the talk at the bottom should be more distinct from the content. You are using the same kind of block lettering as for some of the key points in the content which makes the title look like part if the content. You use block lettering nicely to pull out key words. If you slow down a tiny bit and pay attention to getting the letters even in width, your block lettering will look even neater.

Javier Sandoval

Javier writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

It helps me grasp the main ideas of the talk.

What would you like to improve?

Make less use of arrows, make the flow of the sketchnote reading more intuitive.
Leave less blank space in the paper.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
Your block handwriting is the whip. Love the tightness of your connectors and content

What could be improved?
Work on balancing your page. Focus on capturing and anchoring the major points

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Good use of structure with the parallel paths (like Break and Break).

What could be improved?
If you don't overlap your block letters, they'll look more legible. 

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Great use of bold inking here. Flow is clear and good - I can get a gist with a quick look.

What could be improved?
Some elements that are bolded are harder to read (title). Maybe use a less bold marker or double up the pen, or use a color highlight as an option here.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Like use of pen with different thicknesses. Love your handwriting. I'm a sucker for type empathy, so "BREAK" gets the thumbs up.

What could be improved?
Build your visual vocabulary so you have more imagery to whip out as it suits. Would love to see you add some depth/shade with a grey marker.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
This is an excellent sketchnote. You captured all the main points beautifully and concisely with a good amount of detail. You also connected the thoughts so it is easy to follow the story. I like how you also noted down questions (e.g. "What is the long term effect") to give context to the following statements and explanations. Really good. 

What could be improved?
I see what you are trying to do with the lettering of the title, but I'd suggest to no squeeze the letters onto each other. Also try to give your handwriting some more line space to make it easier to read. I'd also love to see you use a colour to pull out key words of the talk. 

Phillip Patterson from Belfast, Northern Ireland

Phillip writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I like how the visuals help to reinforce and accompany the text.

What would you like to improve?

I think I need to make the flow of the sketchnote more apparent. Others may not understand it like I do and I would like to use more visuals, instead of relying heavily on text.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
like the minimalism of the grey and black

What could be improved?
feels like large chunks of content are missing—perhaps more of a focus on storytelling

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
A lot of your icons represent progressions from one state to another well. 

What could be improved?
Text is very brief. I think if you capture longer phrases - like "making sense of the data" - you'll retain more information when you go back to it. 

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Really like the use of illustration on this piece.

What could be improved?
Not sure where to start if I haven't seen the talk - assume the city on the right side. Would like to see the title area a bit bolder too.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Like the subtle use of shading and the radial layout

What could be improved?
Definitely worth scanning your sketch properly; the shadows don't do it justice. Also explore different typography options—thickness, serifs, all-caps etc.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I like your simple clear iconic sketches. You are also using the shading pen nicely to create some depth. 

What could be improved?

I think the biggest problem of your sketchnote is that you captured lots of different bits, mostly visual with some words, but that it is hard to get some context and coherent story out of the single elements. You should try capturing slightly more words, giving some context and details around the points that will make it easier to remember the full picture later.

Kevin Dulle from St. Louis, MO, USA

Kevin writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

The Key things i like about this sketchnote is the key points and how they flow along the conversation without drifting into some of the sidebar stories too much. I feel combined with the splash of color and relationship from on grouping to the next helps convey the overall direction of the conversation.

What would you like to improve?

What I feel like to improve is quality of lettering and avoid misspellings. I tend to try and create connections to the next thought and end up misspelling as I rush text/images. I usually work in pencil when it comes to text and edit when time allows.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
density and arrows give a lot of vitality to the page

What could be improved?
perhaps too much focus on connectors, and too little on the major points

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Crisp, confident work and good use of whole page and border.

What could be improved?
Would like to see more framing to delineate a group of ideas. 

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Nice use of arrows and color for flow direction. Read highlights really stand out. 

What could be improved?
Would like the title area to be a little bolder - took me a sec to realized what that was, once I did I had no issues folloiwing the flow.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Love the illustrations, the varying line thickness and the (Photoshopped) colour highlights.

What could be improved?
Practice a few decorative typefaces that you can then use for headings, for more variety

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I like your confident sketching. Your people are very nice and dynamic. The sketchnote looks like a coherent piece. 

What could be improved?

I suggest you work on your use of visual hierarchy. You are using colour and frames to make certain elements stand out, but I am not sure these are always the right elements. The first thing that jumps off the page are the colourful arrows that connect different points but hold no information in themselves. Try inverting this balance to actually emphasise key bits of content rather than the structure. Also listen for the high level points and treat them all in a similar style to make your note easily scannable.

Antonella Pavese from New York, USA

Antonella writes about her sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

When I was able to move away from the words and visualizing concepts (for example: how people think vs how algorithms think)

What would you like to improve?

Becoming more daring in playing with visual concepts. I feel that I get worried of getting "too far" from the talk or not being able to execute (or to execute quickly enough), and this blocks my imagination.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
The caricature is killer. Love the use of type

What could be improved?
I would work to create more of an arc to the story—seems to end abruptly

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Good breathing/white space and strong spot illustrations. 

What could be improved?
You used uppercase letter throughout - try using lowercase letter to create more hierarchy between main and supporting points.

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Nice illustration of Kevin, like the red for emphasis on the title of the talk. Quite like your icons/illustrations and highlighting. 

What could be improved?
Spacing could be a little better - some areas (opacity) feel a little tight, and there was over half of the 3rd page left blank. Maybe use a little more whitespace between elements and open the overall sketchnote up a little more.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Great caricature of the speaker; love the robot sketch too.

What could be improved?
Be more creative with layout. Work on crafting letter forms rather than just "writing". Fancy typography in your headings and deliberate sizing of text can really make your notes shine. I'd stick to one colour highlight personally.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I like the tone of your sketchnote. You focused on the stories Kevin told and captured this way of approaching a topic nicely in the notes. They kind of feel like reading a story. I also like your use of block lettering and solid colour to emphasise key words. 

What could be improved?
When Kevin was talking about the three problems with  algorithms, you numbered the first (opacity) and then probably got a bit lost in which points were 2 and 3. You actually noted them (they don't think like us, they make errors), but you didn't clearly label them. 

Glenn Smith from Swindon, UK

Glenn writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I was pleased with some of the ideas I had as images to use for the topics (like the city with an ear).

What would you like to improve?

I'm not sure if the sketch note tells the story very well; does it flow? Then I also found the presentation quite disjointed to personally follow. This format is one I've used more often than not, I need to be brave and try experimenting with different ones.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
Love the clenliness of the page, caricature

What could be improved?
A little more detail might bring it all more to life

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Not a lot of supporting detail, but consistent capture of all the main ideas. 

What could be improved?
Definitely would like to see you break out of the vertical structure and see what happens.

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Simple, clear structure on this sketchnote, which I like. Gray highlight adds nice depth. 

What could be improved?
Feels as though lots of the details aren't captured in this single page - that maybe more detail would have been better across 2 pages.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Like the simplicity of some of the sketches and paraphrased text. Grey shading is nice and not overdone.

What could be improved?
Get more creative with layout; practice a few different decorative typefaces, so you can whip them out for headings. Also remember things like connectors, arrows, dotted lines, word balloons and basic containers etc all help.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I like the clear structure and neat arrangement of elements in your sketchnote. Each thought is nicely separated spatially which makes it easy to read and process. 

What could be improved?

You started playing with block lettering in one point (3 problems). Would be great to see you use different sizes of lettering a bit more to create some hierarchy between the points. Also try to use an accent colour to pull out the main ideas you want the eye be drawn to immediately when skimming the page.

Jan Höglund

Jan writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I think I managed to catch the flow of the presentation pretty well. I knew I had to listen very carefully and be very fast. I decided from the beginning to work from the upper left to the lower left corner. I added the blue lines afterwards to emphasize the flow and to highlight some of the topics in the presentation. I think I would be able to re-tell the essential parts of the story based on my sketchnotes.

What would you like to improve?

I'm trying to move towards a more visual mode of notes-taking, recording and facilitation. This sketchnote works fine for me but I'm not sure how it works for others (interested in the feedback). Also I think there is a big difference in working small and large. This sketchnote was done on a flipchart while I was sitting at a table. Working large would have been even more challenging for me. I guess I would have needed to shape the presentation differently and filter the information more. Also, I would have needed to be more careful in my writing and drawing. Now, I allowed myself to focus on the speed and allow my texting and drawing to become a bit sloppy. I would like to build up my visual vocabulary and to get up to speed through practice & practice & practice.

Craighton's Feedback

What could be improved?
Meandering lines are a bit distracting

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
Very solid capture and structure within a linear flow. 

What could be improved?
An experiment to try - if you erased your dark blue thread, try to use a light color to group ideas and create frames around them. See how that changes the understanding of the content and the flow. 

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Really clear flow works well. Big numbers and flowlines help this. Use of read also emphasizes numbering. Good use of icons.

What could be improved?
Would like more emphasis on the title area, and a little more description to go along with the icons. If I don't watch the video the reliance on pure icons makes me work a little harder as a reader.

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Like that the layout is something a bit different, and the little icons littered throughout are great.

What could be improved?
Need some more light and shade—currently all of the images and text sit at the same hierarchical level. Vary line thickness, text size, shading etc. These will all give your sketch more depth. Also remember basic connectors, arrows, dotted lines, fancy bullet points are all good ways to break it up.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
I like how you used a blue thread to pull together the narrative of the presentation. The big numbers for the three sections also Support the structure well. Nice icon sketching. 

What could be improved?

You captured a lot of individual little images and single words. I am lacking a bit of context and logical connection between these bits. I'd try to sometimes also capture a whole sentence, that gives a bit more information connecting the individual thoughts. You could also summarise the 3 parts you labelled in a few words and add that as titles for the section. This will also help to put individual sketches and words into context.

Anthony Joseph from Melbourne, Australia

Anthony writes about his sketchnote:

What do you like about your sketchnote/what works well?

I was happy with the idea of algorithms as a black ball of string.  I listened to the talk and created the image in my note.  I redrew the note so I could use the metaphor to tie the note together.

What would you like to improve?

I think listening a second time would be good to catch everything.  I ran out of room so the composition could be better too.

Craighton's Feedback

What's good?
Love the simplicty and implied grid of the page

What could be improved?
The lines between sections helps to divide them up, but also acts as a barrier to connecting ideas-perhaps a bit too linear. Try exploring the page to see what structures might fall out

Brandy's Feedback

What's good?
I'm not sure a mathemetician would see an algorithmn as a ball of string - but I love that you made this abstract concept a living character and repeated the motif.

What could be improved?
I see some internal organization within individual points (ex. The radiant shape inthe third line). How would you work be organized if you used a horiozontal or square canvas? Or even used a vertical page as a whole canvas vs a series of rows?

Mike's Feedback

What's good?
Good job with a large, noticable title and well structured sections across the page. You've captured a good bit of info on a single page. Like the stealth fighter.

What could be improved?
Maybe add more hand-lettering with boldness to aid in identifying distinct areas of the sketchnote. 

Matt's Feedback

What's good?
Agree that the black ball of string is a great representation and works really well throughout the sketch.

What could be improved?
Practice a few decorative typefaces that you can then use for headings, for more variety. Could be more creative with layout. Also remember basic connectors, arrows, dotted lines etc all help to keep things interesting.

Eva-Lotta's Feedback

What's good?
You did a great job listening for the big points, chunking them together and capturing them in a nicely summarised way. I like the format of one sketch + explaining text per thought. This makes it really easy for the eye to follow the story. 

What could be improved?

I don't think you need the horizontal rulers. Try achieving the separation through spacing instead and maybe try experimenting with other structural elements to highlight which points are related rather than emphasising the order in the talk.  To improve on your format even more, try pulling out the important keyword in each chunk and play with larger lettering to make it easy to pick up when skimming the page.