Better Sketchnote Layouts: 3 Tips

A common problem I hear from many of the Sketchnote Academy students is this:

“I don’t know how to fill the page! Creating a layout is hard.”

I get it! Even though I’ve been sketchnoting for years, I don’t perfectly fill my pages every time. Here are a few tips to create better layouts:

1. Use a smaller paper size. No one said you sketchnotes have to be large! Start with post-it notes or index cards. It is MUCH easier to create a full-page sketchnote when you start small. I also use small pocket notebooks like Field Notes to make smaller sketchnotes when I travel or go on hikes. Starting small is a great way to build confidence! Small paper size also forces you to be choosy about what content you include.

2. Think bullet-points, not paragraphs. It’s really easy to over-fill a page with too much info. Sketchnotes aren’t an exhaustive way of capturing info- it’s better for sharing highlights and big ideas. Whether you’re taking lecture-based sketchnotes or experience based sketchnotes, think about writing short bullet points, not long sentences and paragraphs. Summarize simply!

3. Write bigger. Have you ever thought about how weird it is that we all write about the same size? I think our school experiences have a lot do with it (we’re all used to writing in college ruled paper!), but when it comes to sketchnoting, you can write in whatever size you want! If you ever have trouble filling a page, just write bigger. Writing bigger will also make your notes easier to read at a glance. You can use hierarchy to make the important parts larger and make the less important parts smaller.