Story Signals Interview with Mike Rohde Graphic Recording - Doug Neill Sketchnotes, design, creative constratins, opportunities, stories, writing, technical + artistic, support others

Easing Back Into Large-Scale Graphic Recording

I recently dedicated a small section of my home office to large-scale on-the-wall graphic recording. I’ve had on hand some extra rolls on large (4-feet tall) paper, so I threw that on the wall to be able to practice standing up and capturing ideas in a larger format than I typically use.

Last week I used that space to capture a few of the ideas shared in a Story Signals podcast interview with sketchnoter and author Mike Rohde:

Story Signals Interview with Mike Rohde Graphic Recording - Doug Neill Sketchnotes, design, creative constratins, opportunities, stories, writing, technical + artistic, support others

It had been a while since I had done large-scale work, so I eased back into it. While listening to this interview I focused on typography – the shaded title font is one that I don’t often use, but works well for large-scale work if you’ve got the time for it.

As I was drawing and shading that title font I listened for interesting parts of the conversation that caught my attention. It was great to hear stories of Mike’s background that I hadn’t heard before, and also some of the insights gained from more recent experiences. After jotting down a couple of those few-word ideas, I decided to add an icon for each, and chose the icon of the Story Signals podcast for that – not too complex of a visual addition, but enough to clearly separate each idea.

I’m also on a potentially-silly kick of learning to draw with my off hand. I’ve got this idea of how fun and useful it would be to have a black marker in my right hand, color in my left, and be able to go at the page with either. I don’t know if I’d ever use both simultaneously – right now it’s more a matter of my arm getting tired, so it’s nice to switch off every now and again. To build strength and coordination with my left hand I did all of the shading and filling in of the icons with that off hand of mine. Who knows if I’ll stick with that long enough for it to become practical, but for now it’s fun just to stretch the brain a bit and develop a new skill.

What have you been doing lately to practice your visual note taking skills? Share your experience in the comments below.


To get new sketchnotes and other visual goodness delivered right to your inbox,

sign up for The Verbal To Visual Newsletter.


Comments 2

  1. @lefty challenge: Big kudos! FYI – it can be done: my UX instructor is a righty but on large formats like chalk/marker boards, he switches to his left hand. An added benefit is that he doesn’t block the info on the board while he’s writing/drawing. (It took him quite a while to achieve that ambidexterity.)

    To help build coordination for your off-hand, try using your left hand exclusively with your trackpad and mouse. I’ve had to switch hands when carpal tunnel was bothering my right – it takes only a couple of days to acclimate.

    (Now you’ve inspired me for my own lefty challenge!)

    @my sketchnoting practice: I dived out of my comfort zone and did a large-scale graphic recording, too. My first attempt was at a ‘world cafe’ style brainstorm session. I was really, really nervous but it turned out (somewhat) decent. Next month I’m graphic recording a design meetup. My more immediate goal is to sketchnote my resume and “job application” on 4-foot paper. Wish me luck!

    1. Post

      Hi Dante,

      Thanks for the encouragement with my lefty challenge! I love the idea of using only my left hand with my trackpad and mouse – definitely gonna start doing that, both to build coordination and, as you mentioned, to avoid carpal tunnel in my right!

      Props for moving outside of your comfort zone with your own graphic recording! Good luck with your large-scale resume – I’ve been meaning to do something like that too – but I think I’m gonna go sketchbook size for mine. Be sure to come back and add another comment with a link to yours when you’ve finished so that we can check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *