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Well, its has been 5 sketchnotes away that it was my first time drawing them. I had some previous research before starting, and now here they are after taking the marvelous Massive Open Online Course Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization taught by journalist Alberto Cairo. It has been a fun experience and, although it has been a short one, I think I have learned some things about sketchnoting that I would like to share with the rest of the students of the course. Here are some things I learned:

+) Sketchnoting is an exploratory process over a blank piece of paper, seeking answers to questions like What is the best drawing that represents a certain idea or concept? In what part of the paper can be drawn? How can I aggregate similar concepts? How can I show that they relate between them? And most important: What are the primary ideas of the lecture I'm trying to capture and what are the secondary that complement them?

+) Sketchnotes are great for finding the structure of anything you are studying. Unlike the traditional way of writing notes in a linear manner from top to bottom, left to right and going this way on successive pages, sketchnotes because of it's graphic nature are for me a naturally synthesized medium : is not a literal transcription but a summary of ideas and concepts. As you further study about a topic over a developed sketchnote you tend to see what are the main ideas, and which ones are complementary.

+) Making a sketchnote while you are studying or attending a talk is are a great way to keep you focused on the topics at hand.

Here are some things I think are important to keep in mind when making a sketchnote:

+) Never start by thinking how the sketchnote will finally look. The sketchnote grows and takes shape by its own while you work. Just take advantage of the space that is being left while you progress on your work. +) Don't strive for perfection. I love the word sketch because it implies freedom to explore styles and techniques.

+) Use shadows.

+) Overlap elements, it gives a sense of depth.

+) Fill unwanted voids with a hatch if you think the sketchnote may look to empty.

+) Try to make a hierarchy trough line types and font sizes.

+) Draw, draw, draw. Drawings are important as text. They enforce a written idea or concept. Stick figures are fun.

+) Vary and play with font type and size.

+) Use bullets.

+) Contrast. Use black as a background for lighter figures and text.

+) Use different shapes for text balloons and boxes.

+) Use arrows. They can guide the reading sequence and also relate items.

+) Use hatch, they give tone value. +) Use at least two line weights and different line types.

+) When in doubt, pencil first and ink second.

+) Most of all, enjoy the process!

Javier Sandoval

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