In this final step of Sketchnote School: 6 Steps to Great Conference Sketchnotes we’ll look at a few things that bring your sketches to life. The pretty stuff, as I like to call it, are those little things that draw (pun intended) attention to specific key points or add mood, tone, or general visual interest to your overall sketchnote style.
Adding action or movement to a sketchnote is little extra lines that take no more than a flick of your pen to create. Creator of the famous Beatle Baily cartoon strip, Mort Walker defined these lines in his book, The Lexicon of Comicana as “INDICIA.”
Depending on the flick of your pen they could be Hites, Vites, Dites, or Briffits. Hites are horizontal lines to indicate speed or movement. Vites are vertical lines that add shine on a floor or an icy pond. Dites are diagonal lines to represent the reflection in a window or mirror. And Briffits are simply cloud-shaped dust clouds. Add a few Hites to a couple Briffits and suddenly your sketch zipped onto the page as if that particular sketch was late to the party!
Below are a few examples of Hites, Vites, Dites, and Briffits.
Similar to Action, emotions are extra additions to your sketches to add meaning to a sketch or concept. In Mort Walker’s book he refers to these as Emanata. While there are many different emanata one can add, plewds are the most versatile. “Plewds are one of the most useful devices to show emotion,” Mort writes. A plewd is simply a teardrop shape added to characters or other objects. They can express sadness, fear, exhaustion, and many other situatoins. A few examples of plewds below:
Emanata is generally anything to help aid in telling the story of your sketchnote. Several other examples of emanata are squeans, waftarom, indotherm, and neoflect. More examples below:
This post is not about color theory but is about how to effectively use color in your sketchnotes. When I’m live sketchnoting it’s all I can do to keep my brain focused on listening to the speaker and thinking about creating the sketchnote than I am adding color during a live talk. I know some very talented sketchnoters who hold three or four different color pens in the other hand and switch out frequently without missing a beat. Whether you’re comfortable adding color during a live talk or not, this is more about what colors to use and how much color to add.
For me, there are only two types of color medium I like to use in a sketchnote. The first is another pen in a different color ink such as red or blue. The second choice is a watercolor marker which is similar to a highlighter. Adding color to my sketchnotes is a post-sketchnote process, but some there are many sketchnoters who use color during live talks. To see some really great examples and get inspiration I encourage you to visit The Skethnote Army’s website.
Adding adronments to your skethnotes is really a matter of perception. At a minimum they add structure and help with the hierarchy as well as their artistic contribution. If I have a good sense of the talk beforehand I’ll layout the page with adornments to help me with the flow. During a live talk, when I find myself in a holding pattern listening to the speaker, adornments just help keep my pen busy.
Learning to incorporate these tips whether during live talks or during post-sketchnote cleanup will give your sketchnotes a little pizzazz and a little extra artistic style. Adding action, emotion, color, or adornments acts like a finisher, the final touches, the closing bell, or generally lifts your sketchnote style to a new level.
Now go sketch something!
Practice! Practice! Practice! You know that saying about how to become a better writer is to write every day? Well, I confess I don’t write every day but I do draw every day. Every. Day. Sketchnoting is not restricted to conference keynote talks or meeting notes. We all have ideas the pop into our head all the time, and some of you jot a note or two about it so you won’t forget. Your assignment is for every thought or idea you have in the next month, sketchnote some or all of it rather than just words.
Really hope this series helped you in some small way and thanks for getting this far!
STEP 6 – Action, Emotion, Color, and Adornments. [You Are Here]