3 Simple Steps To Learn How to Draw For Graphic Note-Taking

Technically, I guess it's called graphic recording

I'm not saying it's the only way to take notes.  I'm not even saying it's the best way to take notes.  All I'm saying is that it's another way to take notes.  And, one that could help you internalize concepts better by the simple act of associating imagery with cognition.

In this video, Rachel Smith explains to a room full of Tedx conference attendees about the  value of graphic recording.  But, more than that, she facilitates a quick activity that you can also do in, like, 30 seconds, that will prove to you that you have the ability to draw.


(8:30) What's the most common objection from folks who think they can't learn how to graphically record?

(9:30)  Three Simple Steps:

  1. Pick a tool (9:40)
  2. Learn a few basic icons in your drawing vocabulary (10:40)
  3. Listen for and capture key points (12:00)

(13:28) "You don't want to take too long..."

(15:00) Give it a try... (activity).  Draw a person.

Trace Your Way to a New Graphic Vocabulary

Basic icons for graphical recording

Click to enlarge. Courtesy: Rachel Smith.

That last point reminds me of another easy way to learn your graphic vocabulary.  A few weeks back I posted an article about the "Dummies Guide to Drawing Custom Sketch Graphics On the iPad."  By using the same technique I showed there for drawing a simple ball (and a not so simple F-18 jet fighter), I've been steadily learning how to build my own graphic vocabulary.  You can do it, too; give it a try.

Take the image above (click to enlarge-courtesy: Rachel Smith) and, using the same technique I showed in the "Dummies Guide" post, import the image into your iPad Sketchpad app,  then use a (fun) little activity we all used to love in grade school:  Tracing.

Maybe once you and I become proficient with our basic "vocabulary," we too can put more imagery in our notes.

Your turn

Give it a try.  Then tell me.  How long did it take you to draw a person?

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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of ScreencastingWizard.com; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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