Don’t stop!

 “That’s so cool! I wish I could draw.”

This is a comment I hear often from attendees at my live drawing jobs. I always follow up with “But you don’t have to be an artist!” and while you might not think it’s true, it is!

Sketchnoters don’t have to be artists.

  • Sketchnoters draw to communicate, not show off. Sketchnoters go for recognizable images, not realistic works of art.
  • Sketchnoters have to draw quickly, so the drawings are often simple.
  • Sktchnoters focus on content first, drawings second.

It is MORE than okay to draw stick figures in your sketchnotes.

But don’t stop there.

If there’s one commonality among sketchnoters, it’s that they’re usually curious people who are always looking to learn and grow… So don’t stop learning and growing in the area of your drawing just because it’s comfortable!

If you’ve been drawing the same stick figure for months or even years, why not switch it up? Try drawing a different style of stick figure to grow your skills and get out of your comfort zone.

We’re all familiar with the typical stick figures seen in sketchnotes and graphic recording, but there’s no rule saying you have to do this style. You can create your own style, too! Check out these “stick figures” by architects: (source)

Or maybe you’re feeling bored with stick figures and are ready to level up from stick figures to characters… Dip your toe into the world of cartooning and character design! 

More complex characters indeed take more time, and time is not something sketchnoters always have in abundance… But don’t let that stop you from learning and growing. While drawing a cartoon character might take you 5 minutes now, the more you do it the faster you will get over time, and the easier it will be to draw characters. 

You can integrate characters (even just one!) into your sketchnotes:

  • Leave a blank space in your notes where you might draw a stick figure, and come back to it when you have time, or after the session. 
  • Create a cartoon portrait of the speaker. You can do this ahead of time or after the session to spend more time and intention on it. 
  • Practice drawing characters in your spare time! Do timed exercises and see how fast you can get. 

This practice goes for your other drawings, not just people.

Don’t stop in your comfort zone.

Always push the boundaries of what you’re capable of drawing… you might surprise yourself!