I have been sketchnoting web articles for one month,

Here is what I have learned.

Thibaut Métivier
Mar 28, 2017 · 3 min read

Being a designer means for me one thing above all : the ability to express myself through drawing. For one month, I decided to push the idea a little bit further and tried to synthetise web articles into one-page drawings.

Learning through drawing

As you may have guessed, sketchnoting is a combinaison of sketching and writing. Its allows you to visually record content but also to easily communicate an idea. It is often used during meetings, talks, interviews, etc.

But after one month of daily sketchnoting, it appeared to be much more than a new way of taking notes.

The first observation is that it helped me fasten my thaughts. Thanks to the internet, we are consuming more and more content and it can be difficult to memorize everything. When you are drawing this content, it’s like you’re fixing it directly in your brain and it becomes much easier to remember things in details.

In a second time, I noticed that it has strongly structured my way of thinking. When attending a meeting or reading an article, I was used (as a lot of people) to receive content in flow and highlight key informations afterwards. Drawing articles forced me to focus instantaneously on the important parts of it. Why is it such a big deal? Because now, instead of receiving the article’s content as a block, I can get rid of minor (or useless) informations. It gives me much more free space to analyse what I’m reading or listening to at once.

Using drawing as a tool for analysing and evaluating good content

Sketchnoting an article is not only about getting the big picture of it. It’s about bringing content to life by making it interactive. It allows you to make connections between ideas, visualize the structure and understand the strengh of each statement (cf. sketchnote of Martijn’ article below)

But if sketchnoting appeared to be a powerful tool for analysis, it also revealed an issue I did not anticipate at all : finding good content is a difficult goal to achieve. For instance, 50% of my Medium readings didn’t had a proper conclusion, were imbalanced or were diluting one idea in a 6 min. read article.

My reaction? Some serious subscriptions sorting. Start again with a clean and solid content flow.

Drawing is engaging

Before starting this experiment, my guess was that drawing had the ability to create link between people. Well, it’s completely true… if you follow one rule. Your sketchnotes has to get out of your sketchbook. You want your work to be contested, spread, discussed online and offline. Show it to the authors of the articles you’re drawing, to your friends, your colleagues… and you will quickly find out that it improves a lot of things on your side but also on their side.

Take it as a living portfolio, suited to manifest and enrich your way of thinking/communicating.

Was it worth it?

Oh, yes. Sketchnoting articles during one month was deginitely richer than I thought. It’s now part of my weekly routine, encouraging me to think not only with my head but also with my hands.

My advice: start thinking by doing. Wether it’s with drawing, prototyping, painting, dancing, etc. Find your own medium and start thinking different :)

A huge thanks to Martijn van den Broeck, Marco Marandiz & Ales Nesetril for their support and feedbacks :)

Thibaut Métivier

Written by

I’m a multidisciplinary designer, creator of «Lift», an ecosystem that reinvents the documentation experience in innovation labs.

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