Interview with Mike Rhode (author of The Sketchnote Handbook)

Mike Rohde describes The Sketchnote Handbook as
 "a fully-illustrated book & video designed to teach regular people how to create their own sketchnotes"
If you are interested in learning how to sketchnote it is perhaps the #1 resource I'd recommend for your sketch noting toolbox other than writing utensils.  I think I'll dive into a more thorough review in an upcoming post, but needless to say there is plenty of great stuff in there (a chunk of which Mike gives away for FREE, see below the photo)

Sketchnote Handbook, via Mike Rhode, Flickr

To get a taste of just how informative this book is be sure to download the Free Chapter.

Mike is currently in the process of completing a follow up book The Sketchnote Workbook, and he was kind enough to take out a bit of time to let me interview him.


Why are you so passionate about getting people to sketchnote?

I'm passionate about sketchnoting because I think it provides people with access to more of their brain's thinking and processing skills. If I can help people understand, capture and share ideas more effectively - that's critically important and worth being passionate for!

What are the top 3 reasons people don't take sketch notes?

1. I think fear is a big one. Fear of not drawing well enough. Being a good artist is a big fear, but sketchnoting is not about art, it's about capturing ideas.

2. People worry about sketchnotes not capturing enough detail. But I think being engaged helps with analysis so you understand the idea and key details.

3. They worry about what others might think of their sketchnoting. Being proactive by telling others what you're doing and then sharing your observations afterward.

What are the top 3 reasons people should take sketchnotes?

1. Engagement. By sketchnoting, you're going to be engaged in whatever information you're capturing or thinking about. You end up with a better understanding, in context.

2. They're fun and rewarding. It's really enjoyable seeing your visual and verbal ideas blending into a sketchnote. What's fun and rewarding, you'll want to do again and again.

3. They're great for reference and sharing. Sketchnotes are concise and visual, so they're great to review again and again, and share with others too.

How is the Sketchnote Workbook different from the Sketchnote Handbook?

In the Sketchnote Handbook, I focused on establishing the idea of sketchnotes, showing lots of samples from others and emphasis on sketchnoting meetings and conference talks.In the Sketchnote Workbook, I'm expanding the places sketchnotes can be applied, like idea generation, mapping, planning and documentation; capturing experiences like travel, food and media, and a special section on advanced techniques and tips.We're also shooting much more video than the 70 minutes in The Sketchnote Handbook, with 2+ hours with longer sequences of me and some others drawing from start to finish, so viewers can see sketchnotes taking shape.

What are some of the "new" uses you've found in your research?

One of my favorites is sketchnoting travel experiences. I've done this for several years, and I especially love looking back at my past sketchnotes to re-live the trips I've taken.Here are some samples of my travel sketchnotes:

I cover other experiences and ideas than can be captured in other chapters too.

Can you tell me a little bit about the video series?

That video was shot along with the book by my friend Brian Artka, who does a great job telling stories with video. My friend Gabe Wollenburg wrote the scripts, and another friend, Steve Mork, create the soundtrack.It shares the concepts of the book visually. There are some things better suited to video too, so I'm glad we did the video. My favorite video is number 9, where I'm sketchnoting my friend Jon Mueller from start to finish - so viewers can see where I make decisions of what to capture and let go. It was the inspiration for the new videos in the Workbook.

What's next for you? 

The release date for the book is late July, early August. I'm giving a sketchnote mini-workshop in New York City at Agile Day 2014 on September 18th, but other than that, I've focused on getting the book done.I do plan to speak and have workshops, once the book is done.Thanks so much for the opportunity to share! I'm excited to see you sharing the video and can't wait to have you see the Workbook and videos when they're done!


Mike is really great about keeping folks up to date on his progress with the book, and it's really intriguing to see how the whole project unfolds. Follow Mike on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr


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