Sketchnotes: A mini-course and #Sketch50 challenges!

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Monday, March 26, 2018

Sketchnotes: A mini-course and #Sketch50 challenges!

Sketchnoting is fun and very brain friendly, for you AND for your students! Learn how with a mini-course and #Sketch50 challenges.

Let’s see if you sound like many people I’ve talked to about sketchnotes (and the former version of myself): “I’d love to be able to do that. I’d love for my students to be able to do it. But I can’t draw! I’m not an artist.”

Sketchnoting (or visual notetaking) is a great skill for learning and remembering. It’s very brain friendly. It’s a great creative outlet. Plus, it can be tons of fun!

Now’s your time to pick it up for a couple reasons:

1. You don’t have to be an artist to create sketchnotes. (In fact, I’ll provide some help on that in a moment.)

2. If you’re reading this in March-May, it’s time for the #Sketch50 challenge! Hone your sketching skills along with other growth mindset-minded educators all over the world.

What is #Sketch50?

This is from the FAQ section of the website,

#SKETCH50 is 50 days full of inspiration to build your visual vocabulary and help you find success in visual note-taking. This year’s 2.0 version shows you a theme for each week. We are encouraging people to spend five minutes or less drawing something Monday-Friday that fits that theme. On the weekend is your opportunity to Level Up and stretch yourself. There will be prizes!

Some instructions for #Sketch50 2.0 (2018):

(If you’re viewing this after #Sketch50 has ended, mark it on your calendar for next year and still try some of the ideas in this post!)

Here are some of the “dreamers and teamers” of the #Sketch50 movement, and here is where the daily prompts will be released. You can also catch up with them on Twitter at #Sketch50. During the 2018 version, there will be prize giveaways! You can share your work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the #Sketch50 hashtag. If you don’t want to share your work, that’s OK too … we’re in it for growth!

A mini-course on sketchnoting!

Want to get started with sketchnoting? I’ve found something for you that can get you going …

I recorded this live video during a #DitchBook Twitter chat on sketchnoting. It’s an informal 12-minute summary of the breakout session I do on sketchnotes at conferences and schools.

Do you have any other suggestions for sketching?

Sure! Here are a few …

1. Stick to the theme of #Sketch50 for 2018 … “Process over pretty. Embrace the imperfections.” It doesn’t have to be gorgeous, and it definitely won’t be the first time! But stick with it … you’re improving.

2. Get ideas for doodling things from icons. Whenever I want to draw something and have no idea how to do it, I do a Google Images search for the thing I want to draw and the word “sketch.” (Example: “coffee cup sketch.”) It’s NOT cheating to do research and find examples! Another great way to find ways to draw things: Search icons at

3. Tracing is allowed. As #Sketch50 guru Cate Tolnai says, “Tracing is my SUPERPOWER!” (Even if you were told in elementary school that tracing is cheating, guess what … you’re not in elementary school anymore!) Some digital tools, like the Adobe Draw app and the Procreate app, let you trace digitally. Here’s how to do it with Adobe Draw, and here’s how to do it with Procreate.

4. Draw stick people. #Sketch50 guru Wanda Terral created this for you …

5. Learn from others. I have picked up so many good ideas for organizing sketchnotes and drawing new things from seeing other people’s work. Here are some places you can check:

If you search through these, you’ll see some AMAZING sketchnotes. Just remember … yours don’t have to look like these to be great sketchnotes!

For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

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