Sketchnoting: Visual Thinking to Put Ideas in Order and Encourage Creativity

Visual thinking is not a new term, but nowadays it’s becoming relevant because of its way of adding value to texts and descriptions. It helps offer a fresh, enriched, dynamic and visual content that allows us to express ideas and concepts through simple drawings and connectors.

From mental maps, infographics, conceptual videos to complex sketchnotes, any format serves to capture the attention of our brain, much more prepared to understand ideas through images and drawings than through plain texts.

But What is Sketchnoting?

Sketchnoting is the technique in which words go beyond themselves and transcend through images. They are visual representations to express ideas, tell stories and/or find creative solutions to specific problems. Visual thinking is innate to the human brain and the clearest and oldest example is found in the cave paintings.

But it was German professor Rudolf Arnheim (1904 – 2007), writer, art historian, psychologist, and film critic, who presented the term for the first time in his book “Art and visual perception. Psychology of the creative eye ” thus giving us a clearer image of what it is.

In his work, he stated that modern man is permanently harassed by the world of language, that there are things that can’t be learned through reading words, because there are concepts and emotions that cannot be expressed in words, that language only serves to name what is already been heard, seen or thought.

Getting Started

Visual notes, sketched notes, text sketches, sketch outlines, sketched annotations… Sketchnoting has a difficult translation into languages, but basically, it consists of a technique to take notes and combining text and visual elements, such as drawings, frames, arrows and diagrams with the aim of representing ideas graphically.

The graphic representation of ideas is a powerful communication tool and a technique to think and solve problems in a creative way. It also offers benefits such as developing imagination and creativity (right cerebral hemisphere) strengthening concentration, understanding and memorization and relate ideas more effectively. It also improves attention, teaches how to summarize.

Scared of The Ridicule?

Lose all the shame! It’s not about knowing how to draw as a virtuoso of illustration or having training in Fine Arts, but to take visual notes as a tool to fix information, ideas and concepts, to remember them easily when we need them, that is, it isn’t a matter of art or to draw well, but to make your own drawings, your very own symbols.

You only need your sketchbook or paper booklet (notebook or notepad) and a pencil (pen or marker) to create your own visual dictionary or personal box of visual tools. Now we know that the Sketchnoting is your notes or visual notes.

Everything should be done with your very own metaphors and your own, personal dictionary, but there are other techniques related to the thought and visual expression of information since we not only see with the eyes but also look with the imagination.

Practice Sketchnoting when you need to take notes in class, in a meeting, a webinar, a conference, a workshop or communicate your projects, explain information flows or transmit any other information.