Sketchnote Artist John Uhri


Sketchnotes and visual notetaking by John Uhri

Save the Date card

My sister recently asked if I could create a “Save the Date” card for her upcoming wedding. Of course!

She had the cards printed and mailed out last week. I love how it turned out, and so does she!

The Last Handwritten Newspaper in the World

The Musalman is the last handwritten newspaper in the world. The newspaper itself was started to preserve the ancient tradition of calligraphy in a world of printing presses.

Check out the video, the calligraphy is beatiful!

Blog Indiana 2010 Sketchnotes

I can’t believe I never posted this here. Oops.

Promo Video

Every August my favorite conference is held in Indianapolis: Blog Indiana. In it’s third year, Blog Indiana is a fantastic event to learn about Blogging, Social Media, and anything online. The crowd at Blog Indiana is a bit irreverant and snarky; yet close-knit and willing to teach and learn from each other. I can’t say I’ve ever been to another event where everyone is looking out for each other.

Last year I got the idea to take sketchnotes of the sessions I attended. Sketchnotes are one-part notetaking, one-part doodling. After each session, I posted a snapshot of my notes to Twitter where they became a huge hit in the backchannel of the sessions. I decided to do sketchnotes again this year. To get myself pumped up, I created a time-lapse video for a title page in my new Moleskine sketch book.

The final sketch looked like this:

Blog Indiana 2010

Session Sketchnotes

When I arrived at the conference, I found that my sketchnote has been published on the back of the event schedule! Cool! I got a lot of great encouragement and feedback from other attendees as they saw and shared the link to the sketchnotes. My only regret is not being able to attend all of the sessions. Everyone had such great presentations I wish I could sketchnote them all.

(Each of the following images can be clicked on and viewed on Flickr. The sketchnotes are all licensed “Attribution Creative Commons”, so feel free to copy and reuse, as long as you give credit.)

Let’s Talk: The Art of the Conversation

Lets Talk: The Art of Conversation - Jason Falls

tastefully selling yourself online

tastefully selling yourself online - Casey Mullins

Defending Your Brand with SEO, Social Media and WMD

Defending Your Brand - Jeremy Dearringer

The Email Marketing Lifecycle

Email Marketing Lifecycle - Bill Dawson

Driving Leads Through Facebook and Twitter

Driving Leads Through Facebook and Twitter - Kyle Lacy

Off the Cuff

Off the Cuff - Paul Poteet

11 Secrets to Promoting Your Blog

11 Secrets to Promoting Your Blog - Erik Deckers

Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management - Duncan Alney

No Road is Long with Good Company

No Road is Long With Good Company - Carissa Newton

The Blog That Press Built

The Blog That Press Built - Heather Sokol

Producing Content Without Agony

Producing Content Without Agony - Robby Slaughter

Last year I posted my sketchnotes here: Blog Indiana 2009 Sketchnotes.

Sketch early. Learn fast

In his post 10 years of sketching, Isaac Pinnock shows off the changes in his web design sketch process. The main point I took out of his post is “Sketch Early. Learn Fast.”

Ten years ago the first time I would have picked up pen and paper on a project was well after a site’s proposition had been decided and agreed (usually expressed through a hefty functional decomposition that no-one read). Sketches were a way to help develop a site’s look and feel and nothing more.

Today, the right time to start sketching seems to be getting earlier and earlier in the project (much to the project’s benefit). […] 4-6 people (often including the client) sit with a stack of pads in front of them, generating service ideas through sketching. The sketch can be as simple or as complex as needed – as long as there’s enough detail to show the idea.

I agree. The sooner you can visualize something, the sooner you can really understand it.

One of the first projects I worked on as a professional software developer was the redesign of my employers’ POS system. I wrote pages of specs – two 3-inch binders worth in fact! The text was hard to read, and the software developers who built the software got lost in the volume of text.

Imagine if I had sketched what the software should have done instead – perhaps the visual notes would have been a better way for the programmers to see what the software should do.

Handwritten sketchnotes makes you smarter

Here’s an interesting Wall Street Journal article about How Handwriting Trains the Brain.

“Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.”

As a sketchnoter, I know that the visual representation and the motor skills used to create sketchnotes helps me remember the topic I’m learning much better than digital notes. The artistic part of the sketchnotes improves upon the handwritten note aspect as well. Sadly, too many digital notes I’ve taken have disappeared into my archives never to be seen again. With sketchnotes, I often go back and look at the notes and remember what I was learning at the time.

Do you need a visual representation of a white-paper or brochure? Contact me and we can talk about a commissioned sketchnote.

Corporate Blogging for Dummies

I had the privilege of drawing a sketchnote/infographic for the Corporate Blogging for Dummies book.

Here’s a link to the book’s Facebook page with my sketchnote. One of the authors, Douglas Karr, also posted the infographic on the Marketing Technology Blog: Corporate Blogging: The Infographic

Coprorate Blogging Tips

As a little plug for Doug and Chantelle’s book: go read it. It is filled with relevant, useful information for anyone who is a blogger – even personal bloggers. My todo list has doubled in size because of this book. Good stuff.

Welcome to Sketchnote Artist

Welcome to Sketchnote Artist.

My name is John Uhri. By profession, I’m an independent software developer which means I like to code.

I also like to draw.

Drawing is something I remember doing all of my life. I vividly remember drawing in grade school. There was the spaceship period in second grade.  In third grade, I was obsessed with drawing semi-tractors.

In sixth grade I started a business with my best friend. We sold two things: Computer programs and pictures of semi-tractors. I guess I should have know my calling then.

In junior high I’d get drawing books from the school library and draw during study hall.

In high school I used to doodle in the corners of my social studies notebook. I’d draw the coolest, biggest arena tour stages I could think of for fictional hair metal bands. I drew the logos for many of the bands, too.

I continued to doodle in the corners of my notebooks through college. In one class I entertained my study group with daily pictures of our professor and the curious things he said during lecture.

After college, I had several regular jobs. They were fine, but the meetings were especially boring. I’d pass the time by doodling. Sometimes I’d leave a meeting without a single note, only a bunch of doodles.

It’s curious, really. I’ve always been a voracious notetaker. I would write as fast as I could, trying to capture everything that was said. Unfortunately, I almost never looked at those notes again, nor did I remember most of what I wrote there. It was kind of depressing.

Then one day I saw the Sketchnotes of Mike Rohde. It was like the clouds had parted and the sun began to shine! You mean I can combine doodling AND notetaking?!?!?!

As Neo would say, “Whoa!”

I love taking notes again. I sketch for conferences. I sketch for books I read. I sketch in church (well, to the sermons anyway).

Looking back in my journals is awesome. I recall the moments I created sketchnotes and I remember what was said. It’s like a trip down memory lane every time. I like to share my sketchnotes, but I really get more out of each one than anyone else ever could because I was there when they were created. I’ll continue to share my work (paid sketchnotes) and the notes for myself that I create.

I hope you enjoy seeing my sketchnotes. Send me an email if you think I can create some sketchnotes for you!

Please contact me here.