The Sketchnote Skill Builder Update: The First Complete Activity

I have just finished the first complete activity of many that will make up The Sketchnote Skill Builder! Check it out:

The Sketchnote Skill Builder - Movie Night - Doug Neill

This first activity has its origin in an experiment I wrote about a while back in which I took sketchnotes while watching a foreign language movie. It was a great way to practice both language and drawing skills, so I decided to incorporate it into this activity book.

I’m imagining that the rest of the activities will have a similar layout – a title illustration and instruction on the left, a few small sketches for fun, and lots of white space for you own drawing and writing.

All of the text and illustrations were drawn by hand with pen and paper, then scanned in and vectorized using the techniques I learned in Sean McCabe’s Skillshare course Digitizing Hand Lettering: From Sketch to Vector. It’s so much fun to have vector art of my own sketches to play around with – makes trying out new layouts and sizing options a breeze!

So far I’m liking the simplicity of including just one color in addition to black, and it’s looking like red will be that color. I played around with adding some color to the cover, and here’s how it looks so far:

The Sketchnote Skill Builder Cover - Doug Neill

I plan to keep tinkering around though as new ideas come to me. One activity down, many more to come!


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Comments 3

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your skills and teaching it to others. As the mother of 3 ADHD kids (now adults) and having to deal with it myself, I find that sketchnoting is an excellent way to engage myself in writing and taking notes. If you aren’t familiar with ADHD, I will tell you this: I have to have 3 things going at once in order to learn anything. Sketchnoting engages my writing self, my drawing self, and my thinking self. If I’m sketching while I’m listening, I retain so much more of the lesson! My kids do the same. Often, when they were younger, I would have them draw what I was telling them. They thought at first it was stupid. Then, they started drawing. Lo and behold, they realized that sketching while listening was an excellent way to learn! Unfortunately, their teachers usually refused to let them do this, even when I went to them and explained. 🙁 But thanks again for sharing! I look forward to more lessons!

    1. Post

      Hi Karen – thanks for your feedback! It’s great to hear that this is a useful resource for folks with ADHD. It’s sad that some teachers don’t yet recognize the benefits of engaging the mind in multiple ways at once, but I think that momentum is growing in the direction of doodling!

    2. This is great to hear Karen. I haven’t gotten my son tested for ADHD as of yet but he is quite fidgety and often seems distracted. Since I began my journey into visual thinking it’s something that’s really caught on w. him. In KG they are preliterate for the most part so teachers at this age still encourage drawing. Arming myself w. the knowledge about sketch noting and visual thinking is important as he progresses in his school career so that I can communicate that clearly to the teachers. And maybe even offer to give workshops.

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