One of my colleagues noticed that I take all my notes graphically and asked me for resources on how to start. I am far from being an expert, and I am not doing as beautiful drawings as the experts will do, even if I am taking notes this way for more than ten years.
Having a beautiful result is, of course, something that I would like to have, but this is not the most important benefit I see with the practice. Among those benefits: the connection of ideas with each other, the ability to have a whole meeting on one page, see when people are tempted to go back to a previous agenda item (it could be a sign that the topic was not closed properly and there are still things to be discussed)…
How to start?
First, you have to be comfortable with your tools and be satisfied with an imperfect result.
I started by using just sheets of paper. I think I was not comfortable to waste a page in my notebook, speaking of being satisfied with an imperfect result… I then moved to a small notebook, and then a large-high-quality notebook. I loved the feeling of the pen gliding on the paper on those notebooks! Then I switched to a reMarkable tablet which gives me the ability to have topics dedicated notebooks. Really useful to have the ability to go back one page to have a look at the notes of the previous meeting on that topic.
Once you have tools, you are ready to start. To make sure I am clear, a pen and paper, and you are ready to start!
Have a look at how a mindmap works. The mindmap approach will give you one way to use the space until you invent your own way.
Then you have to increase your graphic vocabulary.
My preferred book for that is Bikablo. Those other books are also useful (ranked in order of preference):
- The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking
by Mike Rohde
- Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes & Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity
by David Sibbet
- The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
by Dan Roam
In the end, there is no magic, and you have to practice! Every day!
One way to get started is to draw TED Talks. TED Talks are very well structured talks, so you will be able to get clues on how to use the space early in the speech. Furthermore, you can start with the shorter ones.
One of my preferred short talks is 8 Secrets of Sucess by Richard St. John.
Ready to start?
Please enjoy the process of learning!
If you have other tips or resources, please use the comments to share (or drop me a note).
Share with me your first results, and we can discuss ideas of improvements!