Q1. How is this sketchnoting technique different to the traditional note taking?

  • Visible/ quick: sketchnoting makes abstract concepts visible and understandable. For example, vibration can be expressed as “﹏”, which is more lively than the word, everyone can easily understand it. Also, it is quicker to draw a wavy line than write down “vibration” while listening to the TED speech with much information.
  • Stronger impression: when I am trying to take a sketch note, I need to make sense the sentence or paragraph firstly, and then associate what the speaker trying to say to a picture consist of some key points, lastly I sketched it on my notebook. In this process, my brain functioned with full power but not just writing down the word I heard mechanically. So, maybe a couple days later, I can still remember what I drew and then remind me of the content of a lecture or speech.

Q2. How does this visual approach facilitate communication of your ideas? Conversely, how does it prevent it?

  • Sometimes rigorous verbal or text description just cannot show my idea intuitively, others cannot build the idea with a clear structure in their mind. But with pictures and sketches, the relationship  of each key point in the idea can be shown and conveyed to them.
  • However, sketches are open-end, people may have different understanding on that other than what I want to express actually. That is to say, if someone misunderstand my idea when he/she watch my sketch note and build an different idea, it will be harder for me to explain my original idea.

Q3. Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

As for me, there are two main challenges: 

  • One is to transfer an idea to sketch. Sometimes I cannot associate an point to a specific thing that can be drew down on the note, especially when it comes to those fields I am not familiar with and abstract concepts.
  • And the other one is that it is hard for me to control the structure of the note since I don’t know what the speaker will talk about. Consequently, I often found my notes is off balance when I finished, sometimes only left part is used while it is all blank in the right.

Although I cannot take a well-done sketch note until now, it is a really good way to use visual approach to build, record and convey an idea.