Celebrating World Sketchnote Day 2017

I don’t ever need an excuse to post sketchnotes, but seeing as yesterday was officially World Sketchnote Day (#SNDay2017), I thought I would showcase some of my own favourite sketchnotes from 2016 and a few all-time faves, and also share info and links to some fellow sketchnoters’ work (Francis Rowland, Michele Ide-Smith, Chris Spalton and Eva-lotta Lamm) – see the end of this post.  But first a little report…

world sketchnote day

Quick report on yesterday’s World Sketchnote Day event

I co-organised a tea-time sketchnote showcase at EMBL-EBI, to share enthusiasm for sketchnoting with my colleagues and to spread the word about this effective tool, which can really help you to remember and communicate on to others useful information from talks, meetings and workshops.  Lots of positive feedback and questions came in during the event: “this is inspiring stuff!“, “how can I get involved?“, “what if you can’t draw?“, “how long does each sketchnote take?” etc.  So we’re planning some follow-up events with the newly-formed EMBL-EBI sketchnoting community to explore the method further.

Celebrating World Sketchnote Day 2017 at EMBL-EBI

Here goes, sketchnote gallery time!

For each sketchnote I’ve picked I mention why I have chosen it.

For this A3 CDISC sketchnote, I used the Bikablo icon for a hot air balloon and it worked nicely – so I use it a lot more now.


The cargo ship is really memorable in this one.  When the speaker uses metaphors of tangible things to explain stuff, it can come across really well in a sketchnote.


Portrait or landscape? I’m still not sure what works best.  I chose this one because I liked doing the leopard print-inspired type.

Lean UX hasn’t been embraced by large organisations – it’s not them, it’s us! Talk by Spencer Turner, Cultivate

Noah’s ark – when a speaker says something that is so fun to draw it’s a sketchnoter’s dream – it happened in this talk:

diversity seminar leadership
Leadership diversity

…also when Sira said she is “the mother of the experimental factor ontology” – I just had to draw it!


After purchasing some pastel ProMarker pens in 2016, I have been experimenting with background shading.  I think it’s effective at highlighting and sectioning sketchnotes into zones, but I haven’t mastered it yet as this sketchnote shows.

biomedical ontologies sketchnote 2016

This was my first real adventure with Adobe Illustrator and a fully digital sketchnote, it took ages!  I am going the hand-drawn route from now on, and just scan it in afterwards to make it digital.

New to ORCID?

This cake-slice sketchnote was a popular one from 2014 (see my previous post about it); Prof. Munzner also posted it to her university faculty page (see 2014 sectioon).  It sums up a lot of material in one place, which is the advantage of a this type of visual representation.


Bunting – I have never used bunting for titles since, I must remember to!


Inspired?  Now check out some other sketchnote styles…

Francis Rowland

I was inspired to start sketchnoting after seeing Francis’ work.  He has a huge gallery, check it out.

Francis’s Flickr gallery of sketchnotes

Francis Rowland’s gallery of sketchnotes on Flickr

Michele Ide-Smith

Michele is the sketchnoter who first introduced me to the ProMarker pen.  What an important day that was for my skechnoting career.  Thanks Michele!

Michele Ide-Smith’s Flickr gallery of sketchnotes

Check out Michele’s sketchnote tutorial on slideshare. This slideset is super popular, check out the number of views!

Chris Spalton

Chris uses big type and colour to create comics-style sketchnotes.  Check out his sketchnotes at this Tumbl site, and on Flickr


Chris produces loads of sketchnotes at conferences and events, such as UX STRAT events in Europe and the US.  I check out his work usually via his twitter feed, and also on slideshare

Eva-Lotta Lamm

Eva-Lotta Lamm produced mini drawing tutorials for a while on her instagram page, which were handy.  For example, how do you draw a hand-shake or paper plane, etc etc.  See her sketchnotes and drawing tutorials at Instagram.

Eva-Lotta Lamm’s sketchnotes on Instagram

Also Eva-Lotta Lamm writes books, check out her video:

So that’s it – I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Ping me at Twitter to comment and continue the conversation.

Other Links

What is sketchnoting comic strip by UX Mastery

Jenny’s sketchnote gallery on Flickr

Official World Sketchnote Day 2017 webpage

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