In week 1 tutorial, we did several exercises to learn how to take notes by sketching.

The first exercise is to take pencil into a walk while listening to a poem, which I think is inspiring, that pencil drew our subconsciousness into various patterns.



The second exercise: draw things in an officeIMG_4328


third: use simple lines to draw persons with different emotionsIMG_4327


fourth: simple lines to draw people with objects indicating different activitiesIMG_4326


fifth and sixth: use sketching as a note tool (for a lecture and process flow)IMG_4324

How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Sketching as a noting tool is more useful than words in expressing difficult ideas (that needs to be describe for a long paragraph of words), things related to movements, relations and directions. No grammar problems to be concerned in sketching. It is much free in organising the layout than in traditional note taking. And for visual artists and designers, it is of significance to learn how to express ideas using simple skeches.

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


  1. Easy to see the key point and sequences via the variation of layout.
  2. When sketching, we have to first understand the ideas before we think of the patterns, as a step of processing information. And it is easier for us to remember the ideas as we have already processed these information, while traditional noting may only writing down what we have heard without thinking.
  3. Visual communication is quicker than written one.


  1. Often writing is quicker than drawing an object down (especially when things can be written in abbr., like cpu).
  2. It is hard to use sketching to express abstract ideas for me, e.g. philosophy.
  3. When sketch noting in a lecture, we need to convert words into images which takes longer time than simply write these words down.
  4. May be hard for others to understand your own sketch.

Personal challenges as a sketch noter

  1. Speed: I cannot think of an image to represent an idea quick enough, which may lead to missing next key information.
  2. Organisation of the layout: it is hard to know how much do I need to sketch down on one single page, so I may not be able to utilise a page as good as in using traditional noting skill.